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Reviewed by Will Harris
here are underrated sitcoms…and then there’s “My Boys.”
In Bullz-Eye’s review of the series’ Season One DVD set, we more or less described it as the next best thing to watching “How I Met Your Mother,” but we were willing to acknowledge that many had not yet discovered the show because of its placement on TBS, a network then best known for sitcoms like “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “The Bill Engvall Show.” Unfortunately, we’re now talking about “My Boys: The Complete Second and Third Seasons,” and it’s arguable that the show isn’t any more popular now than it was two seasons ago, despite the fact that it continues to be one of the most consistently enjoyable sitcoms on the air.
First, let’s play catch-up, since the odds are – unfortunately – pretty decent that you haven’t been watching. P.J. (Jordana Spiro) is a sports writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. She’s got a gal-pal named Stephanie (Kellee Stewart) with whom she’s thick as thieves, but for the most part, she tends to hang out with the guys: Brendan (Reid Scott), Mike (Jamie Kaler), Kenny (Michael Bunin), and Bobby (Kyle Howard). Also in the mix is P.J.’s brother, Andy (Jim Gaffigan), who regularly pops by his sister’s place in the city in order to escape his life in suburbia, and together the gang tosses back drinks, plays poker, and talks about various and sundry goings-on in their lives and the world around them – but in a really funny way, of course.
When the first season of “My Boys” wrapped up, it was with a cliffhanger: who is P.J. taking with her on her trip to Italy? As we find out almost immediately in the Season Two premiere, it was Bobby, but although P.J. sees this as a romantic expedition and a chance to make sparks fly, Bobby’s oblivious to her intentions, and the whole thing becomes a non-event. Yes, it is very reminiscent of the Ross/Rachel relationship on “Friends.” Don’t worry, though: it becomes much more of a Chandler/Monica thing in Season Three when Bobby realizes what he’s been missing and the two of them decide to keep their relationship to themselves to avoid possible teasing. Somewhere between these two events, both P.J. and Bobby see other people. Bobby hooks up with Andy’s hot Swedish nanny, while P.J. stumbles into a fling with Bobby’s brother, played by “Twilight” star Billy Burke.
It isn’t all about P.J. and Bobby on “My Boys,” though. This is a show with a solid ensemble, and as a result, all of them are able to sustain their own entertaining plotlines. Stephanie experiences sudden success with her relationship writings, which leads to a particularly funny episode where she tries to explore the lives of her male friends, only to realize that they’re painfully boring when they’re on their own. Mike and Kenny continue to run their sports memorabilia store, and while it’s not overused as a plot device, it’s pretty funny when they think they’re being shaken down by the mob. And there’s a lengthy recurring storyline for Brendan where he tries and ultimately succeeds in getting together with one of Bobby’s businessman friends to start a bar. As for Andy – well, you know Jim Gaffigan: all he has to do is be himself, and he brings the laughs every time.
Watching this set from start to finish, it’s pretty clear that Season Two holds together better, since it follows the whole P.J. / Bobby storyline from premiere to finale, picking up the threads just enough to kick off Season Three, and also allows for great guest appearances from Christopher McDonald, Marilu Henner, and Mimi Rogers. With that said, however, Season Three provides payoff for those who’ve been waiting for P.J. and Bobby to get together, and it’s still pretty damned funny throughout, so it’s hard to complain.
Season Four of “My Boys” premieres on July 25th. Good lord, would you watch it already? How many more times do we have to tell you? It’s hilarious!
Special Features: None. Are you freaking kidding me? Given the chemistry that these actors have on screen, I refuse to believe that their audio commentaries wouldn’t be a must-hear. Okay, own up: who’s the cheapskate who didn’t pony up the dough to make them happen? This might be a four-star show, but with absolutely no bonus material whatsoever, I’d just as soon stick to watching the episodes I’ve got saved on my DVR.