Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: September 29, 2015, 8/7c on Fox
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but I’d give it all up for a family.” – Jimmy
Jimmy Martino (John Stamos) has everything going for him; he’s suave, handsome, the most eligible bachelor in town, and the owner of one of the most popular restaurants in the city. The only thing missing is the one thing Jimmy doesn’t think he needs or wants — a family. That all changes when his adult son Gerald (Josh Peck) visits his restaurant with baby daughter Edie (uncredited) in tow. But Gerald isn’t there to eat; he’s meeting Jimmy for the first time. The only problem is, Jimmy doesn’t know he has a son, let alone a granddaughter. Will Jimmy be able to make the adjustment from bachelor to grandfather?
Despite what the trailers depict, Grandfathered is less about a father getting to know the son he never knew he had, and more about Jimmy acclimating to life as a grandfather. Stamos is charming as Jimmy and perfectly cast as the ultimate bachelor. Stamos is no stranger to working with kids having played Uncle Jesse on the hit series Full House for eight seasons. Watching Jimmy interact with Edie, it’s hard not to see flashes of Uncle Jesse, especially during a touching scene involving a kiss.
As a fan of the Drake and Josh show that ran on Nickelodeon for four seasons, I was excited to see Peck in a more adult role. Ironically, one of the things that makes Peck’s casting interesting is much like his character, Gerald, Peck has never met his biological father. Perhaps drawing on his own personal experience is what makes Peck so enjoyable to watch when Gerald finally meets his father.
Unfortunately, once that meeting takes place, the writers seem unsure of what to do with Peck’s character. Aside from some quick bonding between father and son, Gerald is reduced to a minor character. The writers also struggle with how much drama to mix with the comedy, often at Peck’s expense. Several times during the pilot, Gerald’s dialogue feels out of place with the tone of the show. As the season progresses, I hope the writers find the right balance this new series deserves.
The weakest part of ”Pilot” involves Gerald’s relationship with his baby mama, Vanessa (Christina Milian). Vanessa’s scenes flat out don’t work. It’s not Milian’s fault; , the premise of her character is ill-conceived and is out of place with the rest of the episode. Scenes between Gerald and Vanessa are awkward and not in a good or even romantic way. Gerald’s story line would be better served if he were raising Edie as a single dad, eliminating Vanessa’s character altogether. I can only hope Gerald and Vanessa’s relationship is fleshed out better as the series moves along.
But the show is called Grandfathered, not Father and Son, and as much as Stamos and Peck are equally promoted, the series is all about Stamos. Charismatic in every scene, Stamos is at the top of his game, especially during his scenes with Paget Brewster, who plays Gerald’s mother Sara. I enjoyed the subtle backstory the writers lay out in ”Pilot,” along with the surprising twist at the end. Fans who grew up watching Stamos on Full House will be thrilled to see him take on a similar role. Much of the humor is at Stamos’ expense, drawing, I assume, from people’s preconceived notions of him as a real life bachelor. Perfect casting or art impersonating life—either way it’s entertaining.
Rounding out the cast is Kelly Jenrette as Annelise, Jimmy’s assistant manager, and Ravi Patel as Chef Ravi. Both are enjoyable to watch and have great chemistry with Stamos. Some of the funniest lines in this series premiere come from Annelise as she watches Jimmy’s struggles to find the right balance between running his restaurant and being a grandfather with amusement.
It’s never easy to judge a show based solely on the series premiere because you never know the direction the writers will take now that the characters have been introduced. What sets Grandfathered apart from other family-based shows is Jimmy doesn’t fit the typical Grandpa mold; he must make adjustments to make his new reality work. It’s these changes and their inherent problems that make Grandfathered special. With the father/son bonding between Jimmy and Gerald, as well as Jimmy’s scenes with Edie, Grandfathered has the potential for many heartwarming episodes. Despite some bumps in the pilot, Grandfather is a charming series worth checking out.
Tune in to the season premiere of Grandfathered September 29, 2015, 8/7c, only on Fox.
For more on the show, go to Grandfather’s website: http://www.fox.com/grandfathered.
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All photos ©2015 Fox Broadcasting All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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