Can you make an entire sitcom out of the fact that
With Daniel Chun (“The Office,” “Hello Ladies” and “Happy Endings”) penning a quick-witted script, “Grandfathered” subverts every hokey cliche that it nearly crashes into by maintaining a savvy self-awareness.
Stamos plays Jimmy Martino, a successful Los Angeles restaurateur who’s a fixture in the dining room at Jimmy’s every night, delivering the same flattering line to every female who walks through the door. He’s always found at the center of a glamorous coterie of models and tastemakers, claiming with practiced wistfulness that he wishes he had a family with whom he could share his success.
It’s only when the adult son Martino didn’t know he had pops up at the restaurant with a toddler in tow that his bluff is called. Shocked and horrified that he is, at 50, a grandfather — a word he can barely utter without gagging — Stamos’ vain character goes through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
It’s hard to make a sitcom feel fresh, but what helps here is that the creators of this show know that their audience has seen it all. Whenever it seems as though a character has spoken a line you may have heard before, they correct course. Example: when the mother of Martino’s son (
The brand of humor will remind viewers of “The Mindy Project” and the short-lived “Ben and Kate” with one-liners delivered so quick you could almost miss them. The supporting characters — the ‘back of the house’ kitchen staff and the new family Martino falls into — are largely believable and charming. Martino’s son Gerald (Josh Peck), as a goofy, sensitive 3D print designer, is perfectly calibrated. His reason for reaching out to the father he never knew? “I came across a Buzzfeed listsicle, 28 Reasons Why Having a Dad is the Best. By number 12 I was crying so hard I was dehydrated.”
It won’t be lost on most that Stamos’ role in “Grandfathered” is an echo of the character that brought him sitcom success, playing a cad who finds himself thrust into a paternal role, despite his wild, ladykiller predilections. But who cares? The women (and girls) who loved Uncle Jesse on “Full House” will find that this typecasting works for him. Have mercy!