My Boys: The Complete Second and Third Seasons (DVD)

Life is a funny thing, especially with your friends.

P.J. Franklin (Jordana Sprio, Must Love Dogs) is a tough-talkin’ Chicago sportswriter who loves the Cubs and whose circle of friends is mostly guys. As this season begins, P.J. reveals her attraction to pal Bobby (Kyle Howard, The Drew Carey Show), in the hopes that they can become more than friends. Bobby, clueless to her feelings, gets engaged to a hot Swedish girl. P.J. rebounds by secretly kindling a romance with Bobby’s hunky brother. Meanwhile, P.J.’s married, well-to-do brother Andy (Jim Gaffigan, Pale Force) and his wife have another child, but Andy insists that it won’t interrupt his “me time.” Buddies Brendan (Reid Scott), Kenny (Michael Bunin), and Mike (Jamie Kaler) continue their rambunctious drunken “man-child” antics. Rounding out P.J.’s social circle is female friend and relationship expert Stephanie (Kellee Stewart).

This review is going to be shorter than usual, because there’s not a lot to say about My Boys. If you’ve ever seen a sitcom before, then you pretty much know what to expect from this one. In any given episode, the characters gather at their favorite bar or at P.J.’s for poker night, where we get that week’s plot and subplots. These are then played out for the expected wisecracks and/or slapstick. At the end of the episode they’re all back together again, to remind everyone that no matter what happens, they can count on their friends.

The ongoing arc of both seasons is the relationship between P.J. and Bobby. In the second season, there are a lot of romantic ups and downs in the build-up to Bobby’s wedding, which ends up not going as planned. Then, in the third season, P.J. and Bobby grow closer in the aftermath of the disastrous nuptials. Fortunately, this romance and/or heartbreak is played out in a low-key way, which works in the show’s favor. The show has an overall light and breezy tone, so the big life-changing moments are similarly depicted as light and breezy.

Jordana Spiro is a likable girl hero, and it’s believable that she’s this character, who keeps a positive attitude even when it seems like life is about to come crashing down all around her. She and Kyle Howard have some nice chemistry, making their ongoing romance a highlight. Gaffigan is given something a little different from the rest of the cast. Being a family man and being significantly wealthier than the rest of the characters makes him the man on the outside, the one who observes and comments on why the others do what they do. This, then, plays nicely into Gaffigan’s sarcastic, world-weary style of comedy. The other three guys are, well, the other three guys. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with their performances, except that all three of them are basically the same person. You could swap their lines and subplots around in any given episode, and I doubt viewers would have noticed.

For a show that’s mostly single guys hanging out in a bar, the comedy is less crude than you’d expect. The zingers and one-liners are rapid-fire, but this is nonetheless a kinder, gentler kind of comedy. That’s not a bad thing, of course, but viewers should know that, despite the subject matter, the show is more “chick flick” than it is “frat boy.”

Both seasons are a mere nine episodes each, making this two-disc set eighteen episodes total. The widescreen picture is fine, with bright colors and no apparent defects. Similarly, the audio does its job, with clean and clear dialogue and making the most of the occasional bluesy tune here and there. If you’re looking for any bonus features, you’re better off hoping to see the Cubs win the worl…oh, forget it.

The Verdict

My Boys doesn’t hit a home run or a grand slam, but it does manage to slide into home base.

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