For a 52-year-old, John Stamos still has a great head of hair.
He also has a son he never knew about, a granddaughter named Edie, and a whole bunch of family-related responsibilities– that is, if he decides to make room for them. While Stamos himself is not entangled in this complex family affair, his haughty character Jimmy Martino in the new Fox sitcom Grandfathered must decide if he’s ready to trade his Corvette for a carseat and a bachelor pad for a playpen.
In his latest television venture, Stamos joins former Nickelodeon star Josh Peck in a charming, family-friendly series that lands the two actors in roles eerily similar to those their fans have come to know and love them for. Fox has reached into the far recesses of hit sitcoms of times past and extracted two of TV’s most likeable characters—bad boy-turned babysitter Uncle Jesse of Full House and TeenNick’s sensitive softie Josh Nichols. By simply copying the two characters from their respective children’s shows and pasting them into a backdrop of modern-day Los Angeles, creator Daniel Chun has made a nostalgic TV show Millennials never knew they needed.
Peck plays Gerald, a straight-laced 20-something whose pathetic puns and childlike naivete parallels his Drake & Josh character perfectly. His endearing nice-guy vibe follows that age-old, can’t-get-the-girl plotline which makes him a pitied fan-favorite. His evident desire to date Vanessa (Christina Milian), the mother of his child, is an underlying plot point that viewers can’t wait to watch unfold in the coming season. Appearing unannounced with a stroller and a mission at the swanky restaurant Jimmy owns, Gerald sets out to find the biological father he never knew and the grandfather he hopes Edie will grow to love.
In sharp contrast to Gerald, Jimmy is a narcissistic millionaire whose life before Gerald consisted entirely of the benefits of bachelorhood: money, women, and zero responsibilities. Despite wishing sometimes that he had a family of his own, Jimmy is content living in the cushy world he’s created for himself—a Peter Pan-esque realm of “no-strings-attached” situations and never wanting to grow up. Of course, Gerald’s announcement that Jimmy is his father shakes the once-sturdy foundation of Jimmy’s comfortable life, and the middle-aged man must wrestle with the stark truth that he really is, well, middle-aged.
While supporting characters like Vanessa, Jimmy’s old flame Sara (Paget Brewster), and Jimmy’s trusty assistant Annelise (Kelly Jenrette) need to deliver their lines less like a drama-laden Greek tragedy and more like a normal conversation, the casting is a particularly praiseworthy element of the series. Much like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s acting stint as Michelle Tanner, identical twins Layla and Emelia Golfieri take turns playing the ever-enthusiastic Edie. Stamos and Peck have a great dynamic going, as the tentative awkwardness needed for the first few episodes has shifted naturally to a more comfortable and familiar feeling between the two. Comparing Grandfathered to I Love Lucy, Jimmy is the perfect Fred to Gerald’s Ethel. Jimmy is constantly a sarcastic skeptic of his son’s seemingly unwavering optimism.
Despite obvious differences in personality, the two share a unifying adoration of baby Edie. Whether they are rushing the toddler to the ER at the first sign of a mild cold or pretending to be a gay couple to give Edie an edge in a competitive preschool, Jimmy and Gerald get themselves in the wackiest predicaments in order to ensure that their little girl gets everything she needs and more.
A blatant downside of the series is the plot predictability. Tired jokes and stock situations abound, and it often seems as though the poorly-written scenes in Full House and Drake & Josh upchucked sappy sentiments all over season 1 of Grandfathered. Despite the disappointing lapses in the three programs’ content, the new series keeps things fresh with comical personality clashes and absurd happenings.
In Grandfathered, Chun chooses the most basic audience bait and builds a successful sitcom around it—everybody knows that few things are better for attracting viewership than babbling babies and attractive leads. To kick it up a few notches, though, Fox has thrown together good-looking, talented actors who clown around with cute babies—all while giving a nostalgic nod to popular shows of the past. Since its fall debut, Grandfathered has brought droves of fans to Fox from competing networks. With the show’s star power and adorable premise luring viewers away from other popular shows, Tuesday primetime has been easy for Grandfathered to snatch—just like taking candy from a baby.
Featured Image By 20th Century Fox