One episode was provided prior to broadcast.
There’s a pervading sweetness running throughout Fox’s new sitcom Grandfathered, premiering alongside The Grinder this fall. Although both shows feature a somewhat cliche structure that’s largely the same, in reverse – Rob Lowe returning to his family in The Grinder, John Stamos discovering he even has one in Grandfathered – where this show prevails slightly over Lowe’s sitcom is in two important areas. One: it’s funny. Two: I wouldn’t mind spending a few weeks getting to know these characters more. Both facts run right in the face of the show’s stock playboy-settles-down plot arc, which lets its characters move around and have fun thanks to its simplicity, unlike The Grinder‘s stifling, largely humorless stranglehold over nearly everyone on screen.
The show opens with Jimmy Martino (John Stamos) making the rounds at Jimmy’s, the local fancy restaurant he owns and operates. There’s an immediately grating quality to the show’s editing and humor (flash cuts to Jimmy fussing over a single gray hair; jokes about his place refusing children entry; “Uptown Funk” playing in the background) that gets swept away in a single, humorous, out-of-nowhere slap that pivots the show into a more irreverent, heightened neighborhood than you’d expect given its star and, well, premise.
That’s thanks mostly to creator Daniel Chun, who’s written episodes for everything from The Simpsons to The Office and, most recently, the tragically cancelled Happy Endings. Once the opening minutes are over, there’s a fun, snappy way that the characters speak and act that feels inspired and – despite the familiarity of it all – actually unique. Especially considering the difficulty any pilot has in presenting a world and characters to an audience in such a short amount of time (even the Happy Endings premiere is rough in retrospect), there’s an impressive amount of not only ground covered in Grandfathered, but of tone highlighted and characters explained. Just know your enjoyment of it all may rest on how desperately you wanted to see Uncle Jesse in Three Men and a Baby back in the day.