Buddy (Michael Rosenbaum) performs his first sermon in "Impastor" airing...

Buddy (Michael Rosenbaum) performs his first sermon in "Impastor" airing on TV Land. Credit: TV Land


WHEN | WHERE Premieres Wednesday night at 10:30 on TV Land

WHAT IT'S ABOUT From his Lex Luthor on "Smallville" to now a (bogus) man of God in "Impastor," actor Michael Rosenbaum seems to come out rolling sevens. The metaphor springs from his new half-hour where Rosenbaum plays an inveterate gambler/scammer/"godless lowlife," who finds his own personal miracle in assuming the identity of a gay pastor moving sight-unseen to a new flock in a small town.

There, laid-back Pastor "Buddy" delights his sweet church assistant (Sara Rue, "Less Than Perfect"), riles a suspicious town leader (David Rasche, "Sledge Hammer," "Veep"), and inspires impure thoughts among all genders. He still has thugs pursuing him and detectives probing his departure.

But Buddy also stumbles toward redemption, finding a way with wayward teens (and their weed stash), not to mention aching hearts and ailing birds. If only he'd stop saying things like "I hate to Bogart the Lord." (His flock's new Bible: Urban Dictionary.)

MY SAY Series creator Christopher Vane's producing credits reach back to HBO's '90s single-camera pioneer "Dream On," and that tonal style is the trick here -- blending edgy adult content with comfy comic familiarity.

Where "Dream On" interspersed old black-and-white TV clips as humor underscore, "Impastor" employs hammer-it-home background songs or that extra line of dialogue overplaying a joke. Plus (sigh) narration. Why fall back on formula when Rosenbaum's Buddy is so good at subverting expectations?

BOTTOM LINE "Impastor" weakens its good work by trying a bit too hard.


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