REASON TO WATCH
Thursday night at 8:30 on CBS/2
Pronounced "Stuff My Dad Says," the "stuff" refers to an unprintable word. The show is based on the Twitter feed maintained by San Diego-based writer Justin Halpern, who posted the "stuff" his 74-year-old father - a retired doctor - said. Sam Halpern's quips are pithy, profane and surprisingly sharp back-of-the-hands to the son.
Now, to the show, starring William Shatner as Ed Goodson. His son Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) needs to ask his dad for money because he lost his job at a magazine. Only problem - dad's not easy to ask anything of.
Some shows are born under a dark cloud, and this appears to be one of them. CBS has battled complaints about the title, re-shot the pilot, and has had to tell viewers how to record this because "the title of the show is so sophisticated that it's perplexing some DVR search functions. . . ."
"Sophisticated" is not exactly a word that comes to mind here on any level. If the pilot is any indication - they often are but not always - "$#*! My Dad Says" is a grim, soulless trek through a swamp of sitcom hackery. What can you say about a show that advertises its content in the title? Caveat emptor, I suppose.
What can you say about a show that begins with two - two! - jokes about the demolition of male genitalia by shotgun? (Can sitcoms actually commit suicide before the opening credits?) CBS, of course, didn't need to base this on a tweet anymore than ABC needed to base a show about cavemen on a commercial. CBS could have just announced that it was launching an update of "Sanford and Son" with Shatner in the lead, and the world would have swooned.
As awful as "$#*! My Dad Says" is, you almost detect an ember of promise here. Maybe it's Shatner - whom we will always love, no matter what - or maybe it's an illusion. But CBS needs to blow some life into that ember before it's too late. Maybe it already is.