powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


New series review: My Boys (TBS)

Jordana Spiro is one of the guys in TBS' My Boys

Premiering: Tuesday night, Nov. 28th, 9 central, 10 eastern, TBS
Starring: Jordana Spiro, Kyle Howard, Jim Gaffigan, Jamie Kaler, Reid Scott, Kellee Stewart, Michael Bunin
Created by: Betsy Thomas

She hosts a weekly poker night, manages an amateur baseball team, drinks beer, covers the Cubs and has the Sunday NFL preview show on before her pack of male friends even gets to her place.

You also can get to third base and beyond with PJ Franklin (Jordana Spiro). What's more, you'd want to. So welcome to Fahn-tasy Island, dudes. Except this is My Boys, a new TBS comedy series that looks as though it could round into shape with both sexes.

Created by Betsy Thomas, a self-described "guy's girl" in real life, it's more often than not a winning combination of sports and the sporting life. PJ's oft-used baseball analogies sometimes run in circles when applied to the dating game or her mostly male posse. But it doesn't matter all that much because she's in there pitchin' and we'd like to see her win. An appealing cast and the bracing lack of a canned laugh track make up for an error here or there. My Boys easily is the best comedy ever developed for TBS. Not that there've been many on a veteran network that still relies heavily on broadcast TV reruns.

PJ's Chicago-based pals include roommate Brendan Dorff (Reid Scott), a hunky rock DJ still battling an addiction to a longtime girlfriend who's deemed bad for him. Horn dog Mike Callahan (Jamie Kaler) is a semi-oafish Cubs employee whose game plan is one-night stands. Kenny Moritorri (Michael Bunin), a balding guy who runs a sports memorabilia store, makes little impression in the first two episodes. So far he's the equivalent of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And well-worn Jim Gaffigan plays PJ's older, married brother, Andy, whose so far unseen wife has him on a standard-issue short leash.

New to this mix is sportswriter Bobby Newman (Kyle Howard), who covers the Cubs for a rival newspaper and is recruited to play shortstop on PJ's nine. He's soon making a short stop at her place, with PJ donning a more revealing "cute top" at the behest of "girly" girlfriend Stephanie Layne (Kellee Stewart).

"Baseball players go through a routine as they step up to the plate," she narrates while warming up for him. "You knock the dirt off your cleats, you tighten your glove and you just pray you make contact."

Alas, a very willing PJ doesn't quite get to Bobby's bat. Her guy-wired vocabulary is "kinda freakin' me out a little bit," he tells her. And when she goes the other route, Bobby thinks he's mocking him. You win some, you lose some and a few are called off on account of performance anxiety.

Otherwise the performances are more than adequate and the writing is serviceable if not yet sharp enough. Spiro shines in the lead role, infusing PJ with the likeability needed to keep My Boys in play for a while.

Still, they should put a lid on those sports analogies. As when PJ says in Episode 2: "If you're going for the ball and you don't see the warning track, chances are you're going to run right into a brick wall."

OK, got it. Now stop making my head hurt.

Grade: B