We open with an extreme close up of Bobby Moynihan’s face, and—while I realize it’s unfair—all I can think is that I’m watching a SNL fake commercial.
But I’m sure he can carry a show as the lead. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
The concept of the show is actually intriguing. Bobby tells the story of his life through three time periods: 1991, when he was a pre-teen, present day, and when he’s age 65 and played by John Larroquette.
It’s also an overly ambitious concept. Problem number one: Having part of the show set in his childhood means that you keep two strong comedic actors in Moynihan and Larroquette on the bench for one third of the show, using unknown child actors instead.
Problem number two: Based on simple math, only one of the three stories can be told in present day. Since they chose Moynihan’s story for that, it means that Larroquette’s story is set in the year 2042. That leads to several unnecessary and intrusive sci-fi jokes about self-driving cars and video chat monitors that can appear out of thin air which don’t fit in with the rest of the theme of the show.
Moynihan gives us a brief intro and then, since we’re going to go in chronological order, we open with the kids. His face morphs into the child version of him in a Michael Jackson Black or White kind of way.
Then the kid serves up some exposition. He likes two things: Inventing things and the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls. After telling us this, they then overshow us. There’s some Rube Goldberg automatic dog feeding device in the hallway, and, in his bedroom, child Bobby is wearing a full Chicago Bulls uniform and jumping in place, rooting for the Bulls. It looks more like the kids from Glee opening a basketball-themed mash-up than an actual sports fan rooting for his favorite team, but that’s far from the biggest problem with this opening.
His mom, who is a flight attendant, tells him she’s marrying a pilot, and they have to move to Los Angeles. The pilot has a son about Bobby’s age, though, and … you guessed it … he’s a LAKER fan, who is wearing a Magic Johnson uniform when the two kids meet! What a delightful and realistic child problem that wasn’t a reach at all!
Cut to adult Bobby, who has to go home, unexpectedly, at midday. If you’ve ever seen a TV character go home, unexpectedly, during the day, you know what happens. His wife is having an affair. See, grown up Bobby is having a bad day, too!
Cut to John Larroquette, who has a heart attack. That’s his entire scene. The only Emmy winner in the cast gets one sentence. Back to the kids and a Wonder Years Lite storyline about having a crush on a girl.
Sipowitz’s wife, Sharon Lawrence, is also in the show, but we don’t make it far enough to meet here.
Time of Death – 2:30