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September 12th, 2007 Daniel Carlson | DVD & TV
 

My Boys of Summer

     
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Summer is generally a bad time to be a TV fan. After the rush of excitement that accompanies that heady two- or three-week period in May when all your favorite shows air their season finales, the major networks enter into a period of reruns, specials and reality TV that’s enough to make me put a boot through my screen. Sometimes it’s a long wait for September and the return of the handful of shows worth making the time for. But in the past few years, cable networks have seized the summer doldrums as an ideal time to launch programs that just stick around until the fall, like FX’s Rescue Me and HBO’s Entourage . And when it comes to summer shows, those brief shots in the dark meant to tide us over until the new season, I find myself actually won over by TBS’s My Boys . Not because the show is groundbreaking, because it isn’t, or because it’s the funniest show you’ll ever see, because it’s probably not. No, it’s just a consistently entertaining, low-key kind of show that’s perfect for summer: Easy to take, a pleasure to watch, and the perfect summer break. And yes, it’s been renewed for the fall season.

My Boys is a single-camera comedy revolving around PJ (Jordana Spiro), a female sports reporter in Chicago, and her circle of friends, all of whom happen to be guys, except for her token girlfriend. But instead of aping the awkward pauses and quick cuts that are the hallmark of other modern single-camera shows (The Office , Arrested Development ), My Boys takes an almost conventional approach to comedy, letting character interactions drive the story and never letting a beat go by without filling it with a punch line. The banter between the guys is sharp, easygoing and completely believable: They rag on each other’s fantasy teams while employing “douchebag” as a favorite insult, then go back to drinking. Basically, it’s every guy you’ve ever known, right there on the screen. The characters are relatably grounded and adamantly anti-hipster: When Brendan (Reid Scott) was named one of the city’s sexiest bachelors, his inflated ego began to manifest itself in various hipster affectations like the front-tuck and the way he would abbrev words, which is retar. Seeing their friend begin to morph into Vincent Chase, the rest of the guys staged a “douchebag intervention” to talk him down and bring him back to normal. That’s also the purpose of the show as a whole. It gently grabs you by the lapel and says that it’s OK to watch and even like a comedy that’s simple, reliable, and even a bit predictable. No one’s going to judge you for watching TBS.

Ultimately, there’s a comfort factor to My Boys that makes it highly watchable, from the jokes about traffic in the city and existential boredom in the suburbs to the same old stories about failed relationships and thankless jobs. Everything about My Boys feels lived-in and well-worn, but still cared for. Even PJ’s baseball-themed narration walks a fine line between cute and predictable, but the moments when it stumbles slightly are still somehow reassuring, as if the show would never dream of taking too many risks or being too different. Even the recurring baseball theme is just one more thing that makes it the perfect flavor for summer: Easygoing, laid-back, funny and a good way to pass the hottest part of the year.


My Boys airs Mondays at 10:30 on TBS.
 
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