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ABC's New Sitcoms

ABC premiered the first two of the networks new sitcoms last night – and they left me wondering, “I missed ‘NCIS’ for this?”

Granted, I really love CBS’s Naval crime drama, but ABC really needs to pick it up if they even hope to compete with the eye network.

First off the block was the Geico-commercial-rip off “Cavemen.” The show features three cavemen – although others are in the cast as well – making a go of life in San Diego.

The show was originally slated to use Atlanta as a backdrop, but its awfully hard to fake Atlanta in Los Angeles, so settings changed. Last night’s show was also not the original pilot. Execs ordered a pilot re-shoot after lukewarm reviews of the first one.

The cavemen show what it is like to make it in a world of prejudice – both from your own kind and those who are different. Last night’s show introduced the three main characters of Nick, Joel, and Andy.

The three share an apartment and are best friends. Joel works at a furniture/electronics superstore, and is secretly dating a homosapien (“sape”). Nick is finishing his thesis – for over a year now – and is the bitter, smart alec of the group. Andy is Joel’s younger brother who came to live with Joel and Nick after his last relationship went south.

Unable to let her go, Andy spends his time sulking around and calling the one who got away. Andy’s obsession with Susan (the ex) was a little creepy, not really funny.

I must admit, there were parts of the show I found humorous – Nick Kroll’s character, aptly named Nick. He had a few good lines – “Keep your penis in your genus,” was probably the funniest.

The show airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. It stars Nick Kroll, Bill English, and Sam Huntington.

The follow up to this less-than-stellar comedy was “Carpoolers.” The premise of the show has a lot of potential. Four very different men share a ride to work every day, and enjoy some much needed male-bonding.

In the pilot we meet the carpoolers. First is Laird (Jerry O’Connell) – the recently divorced dentist whose wife left him with barely more than an ab-lounger and an over-active sex drive. His best friend is Gracen (Fred Goss), a marriage counselor who is worried his wife makes more money than him. This week’s designated driver is Aubrey (Jerry Minor). Aubrey not only is the housewife, but also the breadwinner in his home. The last of the quartet is Dougie (Tim Peper). Dougie is the newly married, young father. He just joined the carpool, and isn’t quite sure what to make of it.

The pilot episode centered mostly on a toaster – Gracen’s wife bought a $200 bread crisper and he went into a state of depression. Worried that his wife makes more than him, he feels like less of a man. Laird hatches a plan to steal the toaster, and thereby put Gracen’s life back in order.

The show was semi-funny, but it was too superficial for any real audience connections. The cast is very talented and can really make this work, if the writers step it up a notch.

Hopefully we will see some character development in the next few episodes – something deeper than the clichés we met last night. This show is still on my “to watch list,” so please don’t let me down writers.
The show airs Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. EST. It stars Jerry O’Connell, Jerry Minor, Fred Goss, Tim Peper, Allison Munn, Faith Ford, and T.J. Miller.

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