Give NBC's "Guys With Kids" this much credit: It tells you exactly what kind of show it's going to be in its first 20 seconds when three guys at a bar cheer a sporting event on TV, then turn around to reveal babies in carriers strapped around their necks. Then, they chest bump the babies.
Executive produced by Jimmy Fallon -- you'd think he'd know better -- with a teleplay credited to Charlie Grandy ("The Office"), "Guys With Kids" (preview today at 10 p.m., WPXI; time slot premiere 8:30 p.m. Sept. 26) plays the old guys-can't-raise-children stereotype -- one so tired it's no surprise there are few laughs to be had.
Gary (Anthony Anderson), Nick (Zach Cregger) and divorced Chris (Jesse Bradford) are buddies who live in the same apartment building. Gary can't remember how many children he has ("It's hard to keep track. I haven't slept in six years!" he pleads) and Chris is henpecked by his ex-wife, Sheila (Erinn Hayes), who won't let him hire a baby sitter for fear that she'll "drink all your wine and make bathtub meth with cold medicine."
Gary's wife (Tempestt Bledsoe, "The Cosby Show") is the breadwinner in his family; she rules the roost. Nick's wife (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the former Meadow Soprano) expects Nick to listen to her when she tells him about an event at their daughters' school; naturally, Nick is flummoxed by responsibility.
What's most disappointing, besides Mr. Fallon's willingness to attach his name to such lowest common denominator comedy, is the presence of Mr. Cregger. A founding member of subversive sketch comedy troupe-turned cable series "The Whitest Kids U'Know," "Guys With Kids" is exactly the kind of program his previous series would have skewered without remorse.
Truly, all the actors on "Guys With Kids" -- even the unknown children used as props -- deserve better writing than what they get in this crummy, unimaginative sitcom.
A version of this story first appeared in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. TV writer Rob Owen: email@example.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.