CBS comedies don’t get as much as credit as other comedies found on other networks these days. How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory have found their cult following and a moderate amount of success, but still today when you think of CBS you likely think of it as “The Older People Network”, especially if you are under the age of 30. Today’s youth just doesn’t appreciate the popular traditional comedies of past decades as much as the edgy, single-camera, no laugh track, improvised comedies of today like The Office. Really the only place to find more traditional sitcoms is on CBS. But every now and then a traditional sitcom can be just as funny as the new type of comedies, it’s just more likely to get lost in the shuffle. Gary Unmarried has been moving around CBS for the last couple of years, and now the first season has finally landed on DVD.
Jay Mohr plays the role of a recently divorced house painter named Gary Brooks. Gary is trying to get on with his life as single man, while trying to work around the boundaries and rules set by his ex-wife Allison (Paula Marshall). They frequently see each other often, since they share custody of their two children: intelligent and political 11-year-old daughter Louise (Kathryn Newton), and teen angst-ridden 14-year-old son Tom (Ran Malgarini). Meanwhile, both Gary and Allison try to move on with their own lives and have new partners. Gary has started dating single mother Vanessa (Jaime King) while surprisingly, Allison is dating their marriage counselor Dr. Walter Krandall (Ed Begley Jr.). But despite having new relationships and major differences, Gary and Allison’s divorce is actually bringing them closer together.
This series is very similar to other comedies on CBS right now, as well as previously aired comedies from recent years. You will find similarities between Gary Unmarried and shows like According to Jim and King of Queens as far as content goes. In all of these shows, we see a funny guy who is married or has been married to a beautiful woman than appears to be out of his league. Of course, the different with this show is that Gary is divorced, but still has to deal with his ex-wife on a daily basis. Their contentious relationship is where the majority of the comedy comes into play. The humor on this show is certainly not for young children, which is why it has a rating of TV-14. Most of the times the humor on Gary Unmarried is more likely to have been found on Married with Children than the Kevin James sitcom.
The biggest downside to this show is that almost every episode has a flimsy plotline that starts to feel repetitive after watching a full season of episodes in succession. But even with stale plots, the dialogue is smartly written and often extremely hilarious.
Gary Unmarried is an underrated comedy that most people probably don’t know about. If the show didn’t have a laugh track and wasn’t on CBS, it probably would get more respect. Still most of the time, it’s a solid comedy with funny lines throughout. The episodic plot lines aren’t the greatest, but the cast has great chemistry together. So while the first season of this series doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, the ground it does stand on is solid and funny.
Episode 1 – Pilot
Gary’s ex-wife has just got engaged to a new man and he finds himself trying to navigate fatherhood and his own new love interest.
Episode 2 – Gary Gets Boundaries
When Gary changes clothes in front of Allison, they realize that they are acting the same way they did when they were married. They decide that they need to create some new boundaries in their relationship in order to hold onto their new relationships.
Episode 3 – Gary Marries Off His Ex
Gary realizes that if he can stop paying spousal support, he can buy lots of things he hasn’t been able to before. He goes about trying to encourage Dr. Krandall to set a date which has implications for his own relationship.
Episode 4 – Gary Gets His Stuff Back
Gary wants his most prized possessions back but Allison isn’t budging on anything. When he finds some risque photographs Allison once gave to him, she realizes she has no choice but to let him have his pool table unless she can get the photo album back.
Episode 5 – Gary Breaks Up His Ex-Wife and Girlfriend
When Allison and Vanessa start becoming good friends, Gary tries to break them up so Allison doesn’t taint Vanessa’s impression of him with stories he’d rather keep in the past.
Episode 6 – Gary Meets the Gang
Gary decides it’s time to get to know Vanessa’s friends after Allison throws a party to meet all of Krandell’s friends. They both fear that their first impressions didn’t go over as well as they could have done and seek refuge with each other, making them realize things need to change.
Episode 7 – Gary and Allison’s Restaurant
Gary takes Vanessa out on a real date to a special restaurant after she complains that Allison is a constant presence in their lives. He finds out that it is the same one he and Allison used to go to on a regular basis and when Allison turns up he needs to keep her away from Vanessa.
Episode 8 – Gary and Allison Brooks
Gary and Allison pretend that they are still married when attending their friend’s vow renewal ceremony, after much begging from Allison. However, Gary has a hard time following through once he gets there after he is tempted by a beautiful new divorcee.
Episode 9 – Gary Gives Thanks
Gary and Allison butt heads over where to host Thanksgiving. Allison tries to have everyone over her house including her parents, whereas Gary wants to have everyone at his house for his first Thanksgiving as a single dad.
Episode 10 – Gary Goes First
When Gary discovers that Allison is going to take the kids to their first concert, a not-so-friendly competition kicks off. Gary tries to out-do Allison by exposing the kids to other first experiences, such as Tommy’s first shave and buying Louise her first bra.
Episode 11 – Gary Toughens Up Tom
Gary decides to create a new bond with his son after seeing Krandall getting on so well with Tom.
Episode 12 – Gary Dates Louise’s Teacher
Gary decides to prove men don’t only want to date pretty women by dating Louise’s regular looking teacher.
Episode 13 – Gary Moves Back In
After Allison accidentally floods the first floor of Gary’s house, she allows him to temporarily move back in with her.
Episode 14 – Gary and Dennis’ Sister
Gary starts to panic after he and Dennis’ sister start spending a lot of time together, and share a brief kiss, which prompts her to start to smother Gary and Dennis to start talking about the two of them getting married.
Episode 15 – Gary’s Ex-Brother-In-Law
Gary learns a lesson about never mixing family with business when he gets faced with an audit from the IRS and needs to lean on Allison’s brother for financial support.
Episode 16 – Gary Uses His Veto
Much to Allison’s anger, Gary uses his ‘veto’, that he and Allison get to use once a year, to stop Louise from taking Chinese lessons because he feels she has to many extracurricular activities. But when Gary signs Louise up for golf lessons, Allison ends up using her veto.
Episode 17 – Gary Hooks Up Allison
Gary, annoyed with how much time Allison is spending with him at his house after breaking up with Krandall, plays match-maker and tries to find her a new boyfriend.
Episode 18 – Gary and the Trophy
When Gary’s bowling team makes the championship, he tries to motivate them. But when one player quits the team right before the championship game, Gary struggles to find a replacement.
Episode 19 – Gary And His Half Brother
Gary is forced to become the adult when his half-brother Mitch moves in with him after returning from the war and causes him to lose control of the kids and the house.
Episode 20 – Gary Fixes Allison’s Garbage Disposal
When Gary fixes Allison’s garbage disposal, he and Allison find each other in the bedroom repeatedly.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is good with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. Only a little bit of grain is present. So no major problems here.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No major problems here either.
“The Chemistry of Comedy” Featurette –
This runs 15 minutes and it’s your standard making-of featurette. It features behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews that discuss the show. It’s not as fluffy as most making of featurettes, though. So worth checking out.
“Planet Begley” Featurette –
This runs 6 minutes and it allows Ed Begley, Jr. time to celebrate and promote his eco-friendly lifestyle. Begley gives us a tour of his home and its energy-efficient designs. Cast members also talk about his lifestyle as well.
“Tuesday on the Set with Jay” Featurette –
This runs 5 minutes and it follows Jay Mohr backstage and around permanent and temporary sets. Mohr also talks about the leaf-blowing fan operator, his little dog, and an assortment of props that he has used during the first season of the show.
“Gary Unhinged: Bloopers” –
This runs 2 minutes and it’s the usual goofing around on the set of making this season.
Gary Unmarried is similar to past shows, but it’s funnier than most of them at times. It’s an “adult humor” show that features a family. Give this show a rental, if you haven’t watched it, and that’s very likely. It’s not really must-own or must-watch, though, but it’s entertaining enough to be watchable.
ABC Studios Home Entertainment presents Gary Unmarried: Season 1. Created by Ed Yeager. Starring Jay Mohr, Paula Marshall, Jaime King, Ryan Malgarini, Kathryn Newton, Al Madrigal, Ed Begley, Jr. Running time: 430 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: February 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
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