NBC’s Guys with Kids might as well be subtitled How to Succeed in Parenting Without Really Trying. The show follows a trio of young dads — as well as the ladies in their lives — as they struggle to raise their spawn while keeping their sanity. As that logline indicates, this isn’t exactly the fall season’s most cutting-edge sitcom — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are five elements of the pilot that may appeal to anyone who misses the olden days, a.k.a. the ’80s, ’90s, and early ’00s:
“Guys with Kids was taped in front of a live studio audience”
A voice that sounded an awful lot like co-creator Jimmy Fallon’s proclaimed this at the beginning of the episode. How quaint! It’s a little jarring to hear that studio audience hooting and hollering on a network that hasn’t had a multicamera comedy hit since Will & Grace — but the sound of live laughter does take us back to a simpler time, a time when three dudes could raise a group of girls together in San Francisco without anyone ever questioning their heterosexuality.
The main dude? Yeah, that’s Swimfan target Jesse Bradford
Bradford — who, despite what your brain keeps insisting, is not Buffy‘s Nicholas Brendon — starred in a variety of ’00s touchstones… including that truly ridiculous high school-ified version of Fatal Attraction. He was also in Clockstoppers. Remember Clockstoppers?!
Mmmm, Capri Sun
Goofy dad Nick (Zach Cregger) is, like, always drinking a silver pouch of this mysterious elixir. Watching him suck it down reminded me of trading Gushers for someone’s extra Lunchables pizza in the cafeteria.
Ladies still love Titanic
Yes, one of the episode’s plot threads revolves around a Titanic-themed event at one of the kids’ schools. I’d say that Kate and Leo nostalgia is so ten years ago… but if I did, I’d be lying.
Hey, it’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!
This basketball star was an icon in the ’70s and ’80s; his very presence inspires warm feelings from anyone who loves Airplane! (So, everyone.) Jabbar’s semi-surprise guest appearance also harkens back to the days when celebrities would suddenly show up on sitcoms under very little pretense; remember when NBC chairman Brandon Tartikoff randomly appeared on Saved by the Bell to tell us there’s no hope with dope?
So there’s Guys with Kids in a nutshell: A gentle comedy that seems transported here from another era. Did you check out the sitcom’s debut? And if so, do you plan to keep watching? (Maybe the Beach Boys will show up next week!)