TV Recap: The Jim Gaffigan Show, ‘Pilot’

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Jim Gaffigan Show Pilot Plot:

Jim (Jim Gaffigan) juggles his family, fatherhood, comedy and food.

It’s pretty funny.

Jim Gaffigan is one of those comedians who I could see a thousand times and never get tired of. It is a cliché to describe a great comic as someone who “says what everyone else is thinking” but he totally does (usually in relation to food). I was more than excited to hear that TV Land was going to produce a show about his day to day life as a stand up comic/dad but it also brought up an obvious comparison.

Would this sitcom try to copy the format of Louis CK’s popular Louie?

You can’t ignore the obvious similarities to Louie. Both shows deal with raising children, in New York city, as a stand up comic. Gaffigan’s show is generally nicer. It doesn’t have the same edge or bite that Louie has. It doesn’t feel as challenging. That’s okay. It shouldn’t be. Louie CK and Jim Gaffigan are completely different comedians. They fit into the same physical bucket (middle-aged, out of shape, and white) but they couldn’t be more different. This show feels like a very honest representation of Gaffigan’s stan-up and if it had Louie’s existential moments, they would probably fall flat.

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Jim plays a character based off of his stand up persona. He is a generally lazy, nice family man who wants little more than to chill in front of a television. His hopes for relaxation are dashed by his enormous family, containing five children and one unrealistically attractive wife (that I realize he has mentioned in his stand-up, which does make her a tad more reasonable). The show is so similar to Jim’s real experience that the set is a replica of his real apartment, which is a nice touch. While the monologue tends to get a bit dull, Jim shines when his character is forced to go “off script” and come up with a quick solution to a problem. The interview for the pre-school scene is full of those moments and both Jim and his wife Jeannie (Ashley Williams) perform them very well.

Michael Ian Black is well cast as Jeannie’s incredibly judgmental best friend Daniel. Existing to tear Jim down one snide remark at a time, Michael Ian Black really is everything that Jim Gaffigan isn’t. He is immaculately put together. He doesn’t care for children. He probably wouldn’t eat a Cinnanbon (or at least wouldn’t admit it). He works very well as a foil to Jim.

Adam Goldberg plays Jim’s best friend Dave and honestly feels a little bit out of place. He is fitting into the best friend role well enough. I guess I just don’t believe him as the complete creep the show bills him as. Either that or I have a hard time seeing why Jim and Dave are friends. Perhaps later in the series, that relationship will be explored a little more completely.

Overall, The Jim Gaffigan Show fits nicely in between the traditional comfortable sitcom and the dramatic Louie-esque shows that are so popular these days. It has enough sitcom qualities that it is easily accessible but it doesn’t feel like a cookie cutter show. It feels true to the character that Jim has built over his career and fans of Gaffigan will be happy to figure out where TV Land is on their cable listings. or watch later on Hulu.

Rating: 7/10
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Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. He focuses on film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando
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Matthew Nando Kelly is a cool and tough Senior Staff Writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.