The star and creator of “How To Be a Gentleman” is David Hornsby, a favorite of ours from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which raised our expectations going into the new comedy’s first episode. “Gentleman” also stars Kevin Dillon, who grew to be the only good part of “Entourage” by the series’ finale.
Unfortunately, it seems this may be a case of a mediocre show happening to good people. In the pilot episode we meet Andrew (Hornsby), a sweet, unassuming man who writes a magazine column about… how to be a gentleman. After the magazine opts for a change in direction and Andrew gets dumped, his sister (rather gratingly played by Mary Lynn Rajskub) decides he needs to man up and gets him a gym membership.
Dillon plays the gym owner, Bert, who also happens to be Andrew’s high school tormenter… and the new target demographic for Andrew’s column. It’s your classic Odd Couple story as Bert attempts to butch Andrew up. The problem is… it’s just not funny.
It’s not that Hornsby and Dillon aren’t right for the roles. It’s hard to imagine anyone more suited to these characters. In the end, the series suffers at the root: the writing. The jokes simply aren’t funny. Andrew’s sister’s cracks at him just come off as mean and unfounded, and it’s not funny to watch someone be bullied. Bert’s crude, frat boy humor is amusing for about thirty seconds before the jokes grow tired. We’re pretty sure the writers found them scrawled somewhere on the seats in the back of a school bus.
The good thing is that with such a strong cast, there’s definitely potential for improvement. The pilot expends too much energy establishing what is, at the core, a very basic premise, instead of focusing on upping the laugh factor. With any luck, the jokes will improve in future episodes.
Check it out on Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.