With the exception of the occasional TV movie and the quickly-canceled TV series, John Stamos has not had many opportunities to showcase his leading man abilities. Luckily, the actor has not shown any sign to stop trying and his turn in the new FOX comedy Grandfathered shows that we don’t want him to.
The part buddy comedy, part family dramedy focuses on Jimmy (Stamos), a 50-year-old bachelor and restauranteur who learns he had a son (Josh Peck) 26 years earlier with his ex, Sara (Paget Brewster). In addition, his son, Gerald, has a daughter of his own as the result of a one-night-stand with his friend, Vanessa (Christina Milian). When Gerald decides to meet his father for the first time, the fun begins.
In the premiere, Jimmy reacts to new responsibilities as both a father and a grandfather. We see him give his son advice on pursuing Vanessa, which includes wearing something other than the green hoodie he chooses to wear every day. But the pilot shines when you see Jimmy attempt to care for his granddaughter, Edie. This includes moments where he sets up a playpen in his restaurant’s kitchen and one funny scene in a park where he ends up changing the wrong baby’s diaper.
But for every humorous moment, there is an equally heartfelt one. Stamos and Peck play off of each other very well and their quirky differences make their relationship fun to watch. Additionally, we learn Jimmy still carries a torch for Sara, adding the possibility of a “will they, won’t they?” romance.
The most emotional moments come from Stamos’s scenes with his on-screen granddaughter. When he’s babysitting, the two share a kiss and the series star cracks a smile in one of the most genuine performances that would make even the Olsen twins jealous.
One heart-wrenching moment features Jimmy running through the city streets to get his sick granddaughter to the hospital in an homage to a scene from Kramer Vs. Kramer that Stamos’s character mocked earlier in the episode. This illustrates the emotional depth the series isn’t afraid to enter and it should be entertaining to see how far this series will go to balance humor with emotional moments.
The pilot’s biggest flaw comes from its simplistic concept. While the characters and relationships prove to be entertaining, the premise is pretty predictable. How many times can the 50-year-old bachelor “change” throughout a TV series? In the premiere, we see Jimmy go from being unable to utter the word “grandfather” to proudly announcing his status upon taking little Edie to the hospital. What more can the show do at this point to show the character’s growth?
However, Stamos’s star power and the intriguing supporting characters are enough to make Grandfathered a neat addition to your fall TV line-up. If FOX gives it a chance, it is sure to be a light-hearted and fun family comedy for several seasons.