Wednesday, July 15, 2015


In Las Vegas Weekly, I reviewed The Jim Gaffigan Show, one of two new TV Land comedies premiering tonight, along with Impastor. Gaffigan is the more traditional, old-fashioned sitcom, more in line with the retro-style comedies that TV Land has been relying on for the last several years. It's harmless and pleasant, a reasonable time-passer but nothing else. Impastor attempts to push the envelope much more strongly, with swearing and drug use and sexual situations and violence, even though at heart its premise is pretty standard sitcom material. The show comes off as trying way too hard, mixing self-consciously shocking elements with the kind of heartwarming sitcom storylines that have previously served TV Land well.

Michael Rosenbaum is sort of charming as a small-time criminal who escapes his pursuers by posing as the new gay pastor of a small-town congregation. The guy who has to hide his real identity and scramble to fit in with who people think he should be is an age-old sitcom convention, and the show probably could have just skated by on that, since Rosenbaum's womanizing atheist Buddy has to pretend to be a religious gay man. But even in the first three episodes, the crime elements get a disproportionate spotlight, as if the creators decided they needed serialization in order to qualify as edgy or sophisticated. I had no interest in whether some generic criminals tracked Buddy down or not, and any definitive resolution to that storyline threatens to destroy the show's entire premise anyway.

This wouldn't be as frustrating or distracting if the main action were funnier or more engaging. The supporting cast, including Sara Rue, Episodes' Mircea Monroe and veteran character actor David Rasche, is appealing enough, but the character types are overly familiar, as are sitcom-style bits about shooing a secret lover out of the house or pretending to be knowledgeable about an unfamiliar topic. Impastor could easily have been retooled as one of TV Land's old-school multi-camera sitcoms; it probably wouldn't have been funnier, but at least it would have had a more consistent tone.

Premieres tonight at 10:30 on TV Land.

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