MAN WITH A PLAN
Starring: Matt LeBlanc, Liza Snyder, Diana Maria Riva, Matt Cook, Jessica Chaffin, Grace Kaufman, Matthew McCann, Hala Finley
Created by Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo
Written by Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo, Directed by James Burrows
Man with a Plan may not be the worst new network show this year but it certainly is the most unoriginal, even besting its lead-in, Kevin Can Wait. This retro-feeling sitcom brings Matt LeBlanc back to network TV for the first time since the failed Friends spinoff, Joey. In this new (?) sitcom, he plays Adam Burns, a contractor who agrees to stay home with the kids (Grace Kaufman, Matthew McCann, and Hala Finley) while wife Andi (Liza Snyder) goes back to work.
If you can think of a cliche or joke related to that premise, it was probably in the pilot or will be in the series. From dad not understanding his kids in the least to a dad at school (Matt Cook) who's a huge contrast to the main character, they were all things that had been seen before. The pilot was also very predictable. I mean, didn't we all know that Adam would start to figure things out even if we hadn't seen the trailer? Though it did include the creative idea of changing the wi-fi password every day, the arc of the episode was so familiar and expected.
I'm not about to say that all these criticisms are necessarily bad things in and of themselves. There are "comfort food" shows that can do this extremely well. I don't watch it anymore but I would argue that Last Man Standing fits into that category. But Man with a Plan currently has a way to go before it crosses the line from "bad" to "comfortable." For one thing, it just plays into an ever more maddening feeling that multi-cam sitcoms can't be clever or smart like LeBlanc's own Friends was once upon a time. It feels like the network wants to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Another way for this show to improve to the level of comfortable (because really, I don't see it ever reaching a "great" level) is for Matt LeBlanc to show a little more interest in the show and his role. LeBlanc seemed to be marking his place most of the time even though there were fleeting glimpses as the lovable Joey Tribbiani. When the star doesn't seem to be enjoying himself, how could the audience?
WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Probably at least once but I may wait a couple weeks to see what kind of show it looks like once it's settled in. I'm not too optimistic though.