Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Winning in its Last At-Bat
2007-01-05 21:59
by Jon Weisman

Most of all, My Boys suffered from the voiceover disease that is running rampant throughout television today like some form of unchecked smallpox. It was particularly virulent in the cloying, cheesy way lead character P.J. (Jordana Spiro) force-fed baseball analogies to love and life every time she spoke offscreen. I don't know how any sentient human could not see how tired, unnecessary and undermining this was. Combined with the lip-service the show gave to her job as a Cubs beat writer - this woman appeared to work two hours a week and play poker 80 - you just had to hold your breath.

The show's quality and comedy were inconsistent - and for that matter, so was its tone. In one moment it was Friends, in the next it was Sex in the City, and then, in the middle of its short run, it offered its funniest moments with a Johnny Galecki guest turn that blended Kramer (Seinfeld) and Turtle (Entourage).

But the show did have its moments of genuine levity and cleverity, and one thing the show hung onto almost without fail was an endearing quality. These characters weren't cocky. They were sincere. They weren't brilliant. But they meant well.

And then, in the season finale (an odd thing to come up in a month's run, but that's what happens when you run episodes of a short-season order back-to-back on Tuesday nights), it all came together. It was a joyride. You could argue that it wasn't as good as the worst episode of The Office, but it really was a pleasure to watch.

I don't know that My Boys is completely aware of what worked and what didn't - I'll gladly send the producers money if they ditch the voiceover, for one thing, but something tells me that will be left on the table. Still, maybe this is a case of a show finding itself. It will be back for a second season, and I have to say, I'll be looking forward to it.

(Last month: The Juice Blog on My Boys.)

2007-01-05 23:23:40
1.   Andrew Shimmin
Wasn't the Johnny Galecki character just The Todd, minus a medical degree? I can't remember finding anything about the show funny, and I wanted to like it; I really like Jim Gaffigan. I saw three or four episodes, but it didn't do anything for me.

I took the VO to be a marketing gimmick aimed at Sex and the City fans; and I kind of took the unfunniness as the same thing. That show wasn't funny, either.

2007-01-06 22:17:39
2.   4444
I didn't really give it more than something like 10 minutes because of the voice-over thing, too...blah.

I've enjoyed the few episodes of "10 items or less," decently enough, though...nothing spectacular or anything, but mildy entertaining and fitting the bill, now and again.

Really weird that tv show and unrelated movie of the same name are basically out at the same time...

2007-01-07 05:29:00
3.   CanuckDodger
Jon, there's no such word as "cleverity," or did you modify "cleverness" to make it go with "levity" in the interest of being a free spirit?
2007-01-07 07:40:25
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - Yes.
2007-01-07 10:43:15
5.   Bob Timmermann
I didn't like the show at first and said so on The Juice Blog, but I would agree that it got much better.

Although I would be a bit surprised if a woman could hang out with a bunch of male friends if she had been so "familiar" with two of them. I would think that would be a bit awkward.

2007-01-08 06:36:49
6.   Benaiah
God I hate those voice-overs. It isn't a very funny show, but I do think it is a very likable show. I like all of the characters, and even if the show is written in broad strokes (seemingly every episode P.J. is telling someone what they are doing wrong in their life) I like hanging out with them. P.J. is awfully cute, and she likes beer, poker and baseball. Obviously the producers were going for crossover appeal. I missed the season finale so I might have to check that out on

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