THE SERIES “Me, Myself & I”
WHEN|WHERE Premieres Monday at 9:30 p.m. on CBS/2
WHAT IT’S ABOUT The three stages of Alex’s life begin as a 14-year-old in 1991 (Jack Dylan Grazer), then as a 40-year-old in present day (Bobby Moynihan), and finally as a 65-year-old in 2042 (John Larroquette). Life’s been interesting for Alex — a would-be inventor who loves Michael Jordan just about more than anything — and also challenging. At least he’s got his lifelong friend Darryl (Jaleel White) to keep his head up, or on straight. The show is split between the three stages of Alex’s life, and how they interrelate.
MY SAY “SNL’s” Bobby Moynihan finally gets his prime-time close-up, except this is only one-third of a close-up. In a 21-minute pilot, that amounts to about seven or eight minutes of screen time. Part-time work may be a novel way to begin a new career chapter, but in keeping with the spirit of the show, you make lemonade out of the lemons tossed your way. And “Me, Myself & I” is certainly that glass of lemonade. Sweet, gentle, nostalgic, and sentimental, if an entire series could be written on a strip of fortune cookie paper, then this would be the one. (Let’s see . . . Take what life gives you, good and bad, then make the best of it.)
“Me” does make a strong pitch for the heart. What it doesn’t necessarily do is make a strong pitch for an ongoing series. Monday’s first 21 minutes almost play like a short movie, with a beginning, middle and life-affirming end. The conceit is novel and clever, and could also be written on the reverse side of that fortune cookie paper (let’s see . . . What happens to you today, will affect you many years from now.)
But a series? Each episode will toggle between three life stages, yet for viewers the challenge could be in that toggle. Transitions in the pilot tended to be a little too abrupt, the story flow a little too choppy. As “This Is Us” established, you need time to make the time jumps work.
But Grazer may remind you of Kevin Arnold from “The Wonder Years.” Moynihan is finally playing himself. And Larroquette is back in a TV comedy for the first time in decades That they don’t look remotely alike isn’t a problem, and perhaps even part of the joke.
BOTTOM LINE Good-hearted, a little too cloying, and the story flow needs polish. Of the three new CBS comedies this fall, this is the most promising.