Gary unoriginal: First season of 'Unmarried' out on DVD

Published On:
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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DVD: “Gary Unmarried”
Pitchforks: 1.5 out of 5 pitchforks
Starring: Jay Mohr, Paula Marshall
Rating: TV-14

Gary just wants to be loved, but he is not looking for a long-term relationship. With the Feb. 9 release of “Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season,” audiences can have a fling with Gary as long as they keep their expectations low.

The sitcom chronicles the life of Gary Brooks (Jay Mohr), a newly divorced man trying to find his place in the dating world while juggling a painting business, his two kids and his ever-present ex-wife (Paula Marshall).

The season begins three months after Gary and Allison’s divorce, and Gary learns his former marriage counselor not only failed at saving his marriage, but also wooed his wife in the process. Gary gleefully blesses Allison’s engagement as he explores a new relationship.

Throughout the 20 episodes, Gary dispenses advice to his son, Tom (Ryan Malgarini), feuds with Allison and welcomes his brother home from Afghanistan.

In one episode, Gary moves back in with Allison and the kids after a broken dishwasher floods his house. The predictable drama ensues. After a sleeping pill disaster, Gary and Allison face their underlying issues when they wake up in bed together.

“Gary Unmarried” is the everyman’s sitcom. Since its “Everybody Loves Raymond” days, has CBS perfected the goofy guy archetype. Emmy Award-winning producer James Burrows helps the network transform Gary into another one of those guys, albeit lacking the same charm.

Despite a cast not unfamiliar with comedy, the show uses its laugh track a bit too sporadically and leaves audiences questioning what exactly they should be laughing at.

Mohr and Marshall’s chemistry shines during their fights, but neither performs well in the other aspects of the show. Mohr stumbles through lines that do not drip with sarcasm and Marshall struggles with any lines that are not shouted.

In exchanges with other characters, the dialogue seems artificial. Mohr and Malgarini act like drinking buddies instead of father and son, especially when discussing the opposite sex.

In one awkward exchange, Gary and Tom use a car analogy to compare girls because the law does not let him discuss how hot he thinks Tom’s 15-year-old date is.

Ed Begley as the marriage counselor and Rob Riggle as Gary’s brother are the only stars whose performances do not seem contrived. Riggle surprises audiences as he uses army tactics to win the top bunk of a children’s bunk bed and Begley brings class to the sophomoric show.

“Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season” has a few bonus features, such as bloopers and an all access tour of the show. The bloopers only repeat clips of Mohr introducing himself to other cast members.

Despite the short films “Planet Begley” and “Tuesday On The Set With Jay,” the lack of bonus features will disappoint some fans. Even the films will force audiences to press “stop” out of boredom.

“Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season” embraces its sitcom nature and keeps audiences chuckling throughout, but the question is whether Gary can keep the fans — or whether the audience will take Allison’s queue and leave him, too.

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