Haunted Flower’s TV on DVD Review of Gary Unmarried

Gary Unmarried – The Complete First Season TV on DVD Review
20 Episodes on 3 Discs Widescreen Edition

“Gary Unmarried” is a sitcom about a single dad paint contractor, Gary Brooks (Jay Mohr) who has a very workable relationship with his ex-wife, Allison (Paula Marshall) as they take care of the kids and fight. Paula is engaged to their marriage counselor Dr. Krandall played by Ed Begley Jr. and Gary is trying to date again after fifteen years of marriage and has managed to find another single-mom hottie Vanessa (Jaime King). Their son, Tom (Ryan Malgarini) is just getting interested in girls and their daughter, Louise (Kathryn Newton) is trying to save the world and has a crush on Al Gore.

I haven’t watched comedy sitcoms since Home Improvement, Family Matters, and Seinfeld when I was younger so the first thing that struck me watching this first season of this show was the canned laughter. It takes a lot to get used to again, it just feels so phony. After a few episodes it started to feel familiar again, but the jokes are mostly just average. It’s a bunch of situational comedy. Introduce conflict, have silly resolutions along the way, problem over. A list of typical situations: son dating, Gary dating the kids’ teachers, Allison & her fiance getting cold feet, their daughter being TOO talented, meeting a new girlfriends’ friends, whose house to have Thanksgiving at, the ex-wife and the new girlfriend getting along too well, etc.

Jay Mohr was great in Jerry Maguire, but just average here. He holds his own as star of the series, but the series itself isn’t very memorable. His character, Gary is a lazy irresponsible dad who acts like a big kid. It’s almost like Tim Allen’s character from Home Improvement but without the tool snafus and he isn’t married. The divorced couple still has fights just as if they were married, they just seem to live at different houses. They are perfectly happy being divorced because they don’t like each other very much dating-wise. Gary and Allison get divorced but Allison still takes care of him and so does his new girlfriend, Vanessa so he doesn’t have to learn anything or be responsible. I guess this is what shows are built on!

The kids are just ok, very predictable. Louise’s self righteousness gets old VERY fast and she was re-cast right after the pilot episode, first a little brunette, then a blond with curls reminiscent of Goldilocks, pretty obvious. Tom tries to use relationship slang whenever possible when talking about girls and it’s weird, but I bet parents would think it’s funny and endearing.

It has been frequented by a number of good guest stars like Jane Curtin, Martin Mull, and Matthew Lillard. Jaime King seems almost like a bait-and-switch because she is in the series quite a bit in the beginning and then vanishes. Poof!

I’m not a parent or divorced so this show is just ok by me and I wouldn’t watch it unless it were the only thing on. However, that being said, I bet lots of single/divorced parents would find it very funny and refreshing to have a take on divorce that doesn’t involve the two people screaming at each other constantly and the wife being an evil dragon lady. Apparently this series has been a success so far because it was picked up for another season.

DVD Extras:

First, there is a series of silly bloopers. Then a feature where you can spend a day with Jay Mohr on the set of the show. Then there is a feature called “Planet Begley” about Ed Begley Jr. making the set more eco-friendly. Lastly a feature called “The Chemistry of Comedy” consists of an all-access tour of the show with the cast and crew.