Do We Really Need Another Sitcom About a Sportswriter? If It’s TBS’ My Boys, The Answer Is An Emphatic YES!

My BoysI'm going to just come right out and say it – I'm in love! Her name is PJ Franklin and she's a sportswriter for The Chicago Sun-Times. She's smart, funny, dead cute and loves sports [obviously!]. She also loves the Cubbies! She's the heroine/narrator of the new TBS series, My Boys [Tuesdays, 10 p.m./9 Central], and she is some kinda player [oh, look! The sports metaphors have already begun!]…

PJ [Jordana Spiro] is a twenty-something sportswriter who has always been something of a tomboy. Her colleagues – and most of her friends – are guys, and she really fits in. When she tries to work in an evening out with her [one] girlfriend, she has to skip three straight evenings because of football [watching] and baseball [work]. She hosts the weekly poker game, and makes a would-be beau feel weird because she "says all the guy things!"

It's the gang at the poker game around whom this show is built. Besides PJ, there's Andy [Jim Gaffigan], her older brother [married to a micromanaging woman named Meredith]; Kenny [Michael Bunin], a sports memorabilia store owner who's afraid of commitment [or even taking a chance]; Brendan [Reid Scott], a DJ who is caught in the drama of an eternally on-again/off-again relationship; and Bobby [Kyle Howard], a sportswriter with a rival paper, whom she finds… shall we say… interesting?

PJ's one girlfriend, Stephanie [Kellee Stewart], on the other hand, is about as girly as they come. She's feminine with a capital FEMME, and frequently despairs over PJ's less than feminine approach to all aspects of her life, including the romantic. She's also smart, funny and drop dead gorgeous…

Since PJ is a sportswriter, you know that her narration will be riddled with sports metaphors, which could be annoying after awhile – if they weren't so completely appropriate and funny. Spiro, it turns out, has a combination of a slightly husky voice and impeccable timing, so that everything she says takes on an unexpected depth [and no small amount of sexiness…].

My Boys - Kenny, Michael, PJ & Brendan

The show's title, My Boys, refers to the idea that men may come and go – but the boys are forever. The idea for the series comes from the experiences of the show's creator, Betsy Thomas [My So-Called Life, Then Came You] – who developed the series with former network head, Jamie Tarses [who is one of the inspirations for Studio 60's Jordan McDeere]. The series is a one-camera show with no laugh track – and none is needed.

Watching PJ and her friends navigate the pitfalls of life can be as enlightening as it is funny. When Brendan wonders aloud if any of the group has plans for Sunday night, for example, no one wants to answer because if he's got something great planned, they miss out – but if he's got something lame planned, they get sucked into the abyss with him! Talk about a life lesson!

Then there's the PJ/Bobby dynamic – when she meets him in the press box, in the pilot, and chemistry arises, it leads to the two of them sending extremely mixed [and odd] signals to each other. The ensuing discomfort and situational reassessment is a wonder to behold. And how about Brendan's biggest fan – who invades PJ's space when she allows him to crash in her guest room after he breaks up [yet again] with his girlfriend. It seems she [PJ] has no problem with a one-night stand, but a five-night stand? Not so much…

Of course, being a sitcom, we might not expect the characters of My Boys to grow – but if you stick around, you'll see even Kenny, the commitment phobe, stretch. Of course, you'll also get to meet Fun Andy – an experience that may be hilarious, but is also something of a revelation. It's instances like these that set My Boys above the average sitcom. It's not just smart and funny – it's also real. So not what I was expecting…

My Boys may not be the next great sitcom, but it has that kind of potential. I love it and I'm not even a baseball fan [except, of course, for the Cubbies and the Blue Jays – but Jays only because they're a Canadian team… but I digress!]. Let's just say that in the course of the five eps I screened this week [numbers one to four, and nine – I don't know why], I laughed harder than I have since Arrested Development got cancelled. In baseball parlance, My Boys bats cleanup.

Grade: A


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