In the wide world of TV sitcoms about adults moving back in with their parents, CBS’s new show “9JKL” falls short in a number of ways.
The plot is, again, generic. Josh, played by Mark Feurerstein (best known for his main role as Dr. Henry "Hank" Lawson in USA Network's series “Royal Pains”), lost his job as a television cop and just got divorced, to boot. The L.A. success apparently has no other options than to move in the apartment his parents still own in New York City, conveniently located between them and Josh’s brother, Andrew. Andrew (played by David Walton, known from projects such as “About a Boy,” “Bad Moms” and “New Girl”) is a surgeon with a pediatrician wife (Liza Lapira) and new baby. The family is, predictably, overbearing yet helpful and supportive in Josh’s transitional period.
The trope is overused and common and the writing leaves nothing to be guessed, despite claims by Feurerstein (who also produces the show) that the plot is based in his own life. Almost every aspect of the pilot’s plot was predictable, from the brother and sister-in-law crashing his date to his mother’s intrusions into his apartment. Both brothers also mention that the move to their parents apartment building is temporary and, from the first three minutes of the show’s first episode, it’s obviously not going to be.
As simple as the plot seems though, there were many flaws. The mother repeatedly says she’s been waiting 12 years for Josh to come home from L.A. so he presumably knows how his family struggles with boundaries, yet still returns home and is seemingly shocked by their intrusiveness. And, again, if he was just coming off such a long-term TV show, shouldn’t he have had other options in California?
The comedy of the show is very family friendly. It has its moments, certainly, but rarely evokes more than a nostalgic smirk most of the time. The best written characters are the boisterous easy-to-bribe doorman, Nick, played by Matt Murray, and Ian, the informed kid neighbor who hangs out in the lobby, played by Albert Tsai of ABC’s “Fresh off the Boat.” These two have great comedic timing and their roles aren’t as repetitive and predictable as the family members. Even though the show is in it’s early stages, the other characters are hard to get attached to and it seems like every episode is going to be focused on the same two things: Josh finding love and a job.
In short, the show is bland, not believable and tired. It’s cheesy and lacks original comedy. This season is set for another 12 episodes, but it would be surprising if all of those actually made it to the screen. It’s definitely not a show that leaves you craving the next episode, but certainly does what most prime-time CBS sitcoms manage to do: provide a light-hearted, family friendly viewing experience. “9JKL” can be viewed on CBS every Monday at 8:30 p.m.
Rating: Two out of five stars
Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.