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THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW: SEASON TWO (TBS)
(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c starting tonight)
The network's description: "But That�s Not Fair" (written by Mark Kunerth; directed by James Widdoes) - "Bill and Susan realize the kids have been receiving an allowance but not pulling their own weight around the house to earn it. So they decide to make them clean the garage for free. The kids balk at the injustice and go on strike, setting up a battle of wills. Meanwhile, Bill feels he is been unfairly treated by a cell phone store when he and Susan both complain about the same problem, but Susan manages to convince the store to give her a fancy new phone for free." "Ask Your Mother" (written by Kathy Ann Stumpe; directed by James Widdoes) - "Bill is bothered that the kids keep asking Susan for permission to do things rather than asking him. When he decides to take on half of the permission-granting himself, the kids start taking advantage of him. Meanwhile, Paul is upset after a girl he�s interested in cancels a date with him because she �has the flu.� He seems completely unable to work the DuFrayne charms with all of today�s new technology. And the Pearsons� neighbor, Mr. Faulkner, is on Bill�s bad side over the issue of some missing fruit."
What works: It's almost endearing to watch "The Bill Engvall Show" follow in the footsteps of "According to Jim." A critic-proof throwback to sitcom days past - clueless dad (Bill Engvall), check; mom that runs the show (Nancy Travis), check; dim-bulb son (Graham Patrick Martin), check; mall-obsessed daughter (Jennifer Lawrence), check; and wise-beyond-their-years youngest child (Skyler Gisondo), check - the show is definitely comfort food to those who miss a certain type of show.
What doesn't: I however don't belong to said target, making this all a trying exercise. The above synopses say it all - Bill bans the kids from cell phones, TV, their rooms... even food when they refuse to clean the garage but then starts to obsess if he made the right decision! Watch the hilarity ensue! Bill gets upset when the kids never go to him for permission... but gets more than he bargained for when they start to! Hilarious! It's literally the Mad Libs of situation comedy - Bill gets (emotion, usually upset or annoyed) when the (kids, kid or wife) do/don't (action) but it turns out Bill's (previous emotion) was better than having the (kids, kid or wife) do (the opposite of previous action). I challenge you to find an example that doesn't fit.
The bottom line: At the end of the day it's hard to get fired up - either for or against - this show.