The Complete First Season
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Jordana Spiro, Kyle
Howard, Reid Scott, Michael Bunin, Jamie Kaler, Jim Gaffigan, Kellee Stewart
Creator: Betsy Thomas
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Features: See Review
Length: 488 Minutes
Release Date: June 10, 2008
“Sometimes I have to ask myself, do I even HAVE a vagina?”
My Boys takes a terrific premise for a sitcom, but doesn’t venture too far into uncharted waters. The idea of a female sports reporter and her gaggle of male friends seemed promising, which is why I wanted to check the show out. But apart from an intriguing idea, the program thus far hasn’t broken much new ground.
It deals with P.J. Franklin (Spiro), a beautiful tomboy who loves sports and gets along with the guys. Her friends include Brendan (Scott), her pal from college and current roommate, Mike (Kaler), Kenny (Bunin), Bobby (Howard), and her married brother Andy (Franklin). Her one female friend, Stephanie (Stewart), tries to keep P.J. a little more feminine, but she has little to do with it.
They work, live and play in Chicago, a great sports town, and the 22 episodes of the first season chronicle P.J.’s misadventures with love and life in the big city. Men come and go, but her boys are always there. Her romantic interludes frequently end abruptly because guys don’t know how to handle her take-charge attitude or that her friends are all men. It’s a premise that can only be milked so far.
None of the characters apart from P.J. really stand out, and her bedroom door keeps swinging as new interludes come and go. Some characters stay on for several episodes, but you start thinking it’s only a matter of time. Being one of the guys is one thing, but being with a guy is something else, and P.J. only seems to be good at the first one.
The show has a certain charm, but it’s rarely laugh-out-loud funny…it maintains a more constant simmer of bemusement. The lovely Spiro is winning, but there has to be more to her character and this show than what we’ve seen here. After a few episodes, you get the gist, you buy into the scenario, and you kind of want a little more.
There may be hope for the show’s future, but the creative juices need to flow a little more. Even a great premise can be weighted down by the kind of banter, situations and ideas that we’ve seen many, many times before.
The anamorphic transfer is quite good, with decent coloring and clarity throughout. A little softness here and there, but better than average for TV on DVD.
It’s a dialogue-oriented show, so not much demands are made, but there is a 5.1 offering, which is always welcome. Dynamic range is minimal as are surround and subwoofer effects, but all is clean and clear.
The extras include “Life in the Sports Box”, a sports quiz, favorites in sports, P.J’s rules for sports and dating, bloopers, deleted scenes, and minisodes from Silver Spoons and Diff’rent Strokes.
My Boys swings for the fences, but at best manages reaching base on an error. The material is there for a better sitcom, but any manager will tell you that you won’t win many games without taking a few risks on the field.