Okay, so I’ll admit the main reason why I even gave this one a shot was John Stamos. Don’t judge me. It’s John Stamos, people. There’s a reason everyone still loves Full House, and it’s uncle Jesse.
Anyway, turns out it’s pretty solid for a sitcom. The pilot does a good job of setting the tone: Jimmy, a hot restaurateur, whose life is pretty much what every sworn bachelor dreams about, finds out that he has a son… who has a daughter. He’s gone from hotshot playboy to grandpa in 6 seconds flat. Naturally it’s a shock to his system and he doesn’t really take it very well. It doesn’t really help that his son Gerald is the exact opposite of Jimmy’s suave, cool persona.
Urged by his staff to handle the situation like a decent father would, he does make an effort. We meet the ‘baby mama’, Gerald’s friend Vanessa, whom Gerald has a huge crush on (again, even though she’s the exact opposite of his timid, environmentally conscious, and very awkward mama’s boy self), and we meet Sara, Jimmy’s old fling who found out she was pregnant after they had stopped dating, and never told him he had a child.
It’s also very cool to see Paget Brewster star in a sitcom again. Last time I watched her in a lead role in a show I enjoyed, she broke Chandler’s heart (gotta love the ‘which Friend are you‘ quiz she takes, and her reaction to getting Ross!). By the end of the pilot, we find out that Sara was actually the one who got away, the one girl Jimmy actually loved, which obviously foreshadows a possible rekindling of the old romance.
Over the first three episodes of the show, we see Jimmy make a conscious effort to get to know his son, we see him fail and disappoint both Gerald and Sara, and then we see him rise to the occasion – well, as much as he can. The fun day at the beach episode wasn’t bad; the horrible headgear and ‘dirty boy’ swimsuit props were pretty funny, as was Vanessa’s efficient handling of the drum circle situation.
Episode 3, ‘Guy’s Night‘, was where the show hit its stride for me. Jimmy does his best to bond with his son: they drink copious amounts of very expensive bourbon. They play catch. They tapdance! They play beer pong using champagne flutes. And then they’re off to get some soft serve ice cream. In his drunken stupor, Gerald ditches Jimmy, who freaks out and enlists the help of Sara to track him down at Vanessa’s, where he’s about to confess his love for her via drone. During their search for their son, Jimmy’s descriptions of Gerald as being ‘a wig and a motel away from Being Norman Bates‘ and a ‘sweet manboy with a romantic female soul‘ were right on the nose. Annelise’s quest for a new bartender for the restaurant, preferably ‘someone who wears suspenders ironically’ was also incredibly accurate. Gotta love a show that references both Friends and hipster culture, Dali-mustache and all, in the same episode.
Okay, so it’s not the funniest show to ever grace our TVs, and I’ll readily admit I mostly watch it for Stamos, who at 52 is still a super hot specimen of a man, but it’s a fun way to spend half an hour.
Verdict: Grandfathered goes on my watchlist.