Tuesday, August 2, 2016

TV Review: The Jim Gaffigan Show Season One (2015)

The Jim Gaffigan Show Season One (2015) created by Jim Gaffigan and Peter Tolan

The Jim Gaffigan Show is about a stand-up comedian who lives in New York City with his wife and five children in a two-bedroom apartment, so it's very much like Gaffigan's actual life. In the show, his wife is a more active Catholic than he is (he finally goes to Sunday Mass with the family and the priest says, "I thought your wife was a widow!"), which I have the impression is less true to life. Jim (yes, his character's name is Jim Gaffigan in the show) has a best friend who is a Jewish stand-up comedian. Mostly, they go out to eat together. Jim loves food. He LOVES it. His wife Jeannie is friends with their real estate agent Daniel who keeps looking for larger apartments for them. He's her college ex-boyfriend but he has since come out as gay, so Jim and Daniel's conflict is limited to a sort of class warfare. Jim loves food and is a bit of a slob and a bit lazy; Daniel is neat and clean and thoughtful (though also vain and manipulative). The group have all sorts of everyday life adventures (birthdays, anniversaries, visiting friends and relatives, etc.) that provide the grist for the episodes.

The show is surprisingly full of stereotypes. The surprising part is how well it works because the characters are charming and get more developed over the series, so they work themselves out of being stereotypical. The stories are very imaginative--a kid's birthday party is in Central Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Jim has plenty of objections to bringing his daughter to this party, which becomes worse when he gets there and the only food is the birthday cake! The show has lots of cameo appearances, including ongoing cameos by Macaulay Culkin. Best of all, the show is uniformly hilarious. There aren't any bad or mediocre episodes. The last two episodes are especially good.

Parental warning: Though Gaffigan is known as the King of Clean, the show is aimed at adults and deals with some very adult situations. This is not The Cosby Show, people, so don't let you less-than-teenagers watch it.

Highly recommended!

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