A funny thing happened on a comedy-filled Thursday night in September. A multi-camera situation comedy called How To Be a Gentleman, in which Kevin Dillon (Entourage) plays a gym owner befriending an uptight magazine writer (David Hornsby), turned out to be one of the most surprisingly laughable new series of the fall season.
The premise of the Gentelman is little more than the typical “odd couple” dynamic of putting two polar-opposite characters together and exploring their friction and exploits. David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) plays Andrew, a columnist, who writes about the best ways to maintain the tradition of being a gentleman in a modern world. He tucks in his shirts, he buttons his jackets, and he holds the door for old ladies. The magazine that he writes for has just been sold to a company that wants to retool it for a young, male, mainstream demographic, who care more about sports and beer, then the difference between Pino Noir and Pino Blanc. Dave Foley (Newsradio) plays his aging boss, who tells him to retool his column, or be out of a job. After a birthday party where his judgmental sister Janet (24s Mary Lynn Rajskub) and her push over husband Mike (Rhys Darby from Flight of the Concords) give him a gift certificate, he finds himself in a local gym owned by high school bully Bert (Dillon). Andrew forms a friendship with Bert, who is looking to make amends for his high school actions, and the result is a new column.
While the show wasn’t exceptionally smart, unique, or outside of the box, I did find myself laughing consistently throughout. The jokes were quick, funny, and well-timed, and the cast was an interesting mix of established actors. After years of playing the “one-look” Chloe, it’s nice to see Mary Lynn Rajskub back to her comedy roots, and Rhys Darby continues his streak of playing the most pathetic push-over characters on TV. It’s taken over a decade to get comedic genius Dave Foley back on a regular network sitcom, and his character, a 50-year-old editor trying to maintain his relevance in a world skewing younger, was apropos to the actor.
Additionally, what really made the show was the pairing of David Hornsby – who also created the show- and Kevin Dillon. The two actors/characters complimented each other well, and although Dillon doesn’t seem to have strayed far from his portrayal of Drama, the pair come off much more likable together than separate. The pilot also seems to benefit from the consulting of Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney, the creative team behind Always Sunny In Philadelphia where Hornsby is known for playing the homeless Rickety Cricket. While I can’t say Gentleman will be breaking any new barriers, or crossing into any new territory for comedy, it is very funny and worth giving a chance.
How To Be a Gentleman airs Thursdays on CBS.
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