CBS premiered a brand new sitcom featuring Bobby Moynihan, who graduated from the University of Connecticut theatre program in 1999, as part of its new fall lineup on Monday night. “Me, Myself & I” is a comedy that focuses on the story of one man, Alex Riley, at three different stages of his life, 14 (Jack Dylan Grazer), 40 (Bobby Moynihan) and 65 (John Larroquette). This unusual structure and time-jumping makes it feel like there are multiple plotlines, despite the fact that there is really only a handful of characters in the show.
One thing this comedy lacks is, well, comedy. The first episode was very predictable and expected. The writing was mediocre. The downfalls that the main character, Alex, faces are mundane at best and uninteresting.
In 1991, Alex’s younger self is remembering his move from Chicago to Los Angeles, his introduction to new stepfather Ron (Brian Unger) and new stepbrother Justin (Christopher Paul Richards) and an embarrassing incident at the school dance involving his dream girl Nori (Reylynn Caster). One thing the show did well was create the dynamic between Alex and his stepfather and stepbrother. Typically, with tropes like this, the lead character doesn’t get along with unwelcome additions to the family, especially if the sibling is a similar age and their lives are uprooted and moved to a completely different state. But it was refreshing that “Me, Myself & I” created a blended family that got along well. The stepbrother is genuinely looking out for Alex and the stepfather offers words of wisdom after Alex’s rough night. This portion of the show is really the only plot that feels like it could stand alone.
In 2017, middle-aged Alex is facing the demise of his marriage, the possibility of having his teenage daughter leave for another city and a creative drought as an inventor, which concerns his best buddy Darryl (Jaleel White). This plays off of the other two time periods well. As a child, Alex is full of ideas and enthusiasm. As an older man, we see his company has taken off and Alex has become very successful. These time jumps make the “present-day” storyline seem almost unnecessary as all of the negatives Alex faces as an adult are clearly resolved by the time he is 65.
“One of the things that appealed to me the most about (the) script is that I could be an adult male in his 40s and not run onstage in a diaper,” Moynihan told EW on the transition from SNL. “I can actually have a serious conversation and have real problems, and get to act a little bit.”
In 2042, Alex has a heart attack and is dealing with retirement, a grown daughter and a potential “new” love interest. Perhaps the show’s biggest downfall is its lack of context for the future. We barely get a glimpse at what Alex has achieved as such a renowned inventor or what the nearly three decades into the future will look like.
The obvious lesson to take away from the time-splitting structure is that we learn from our mistakes and it acts as proof of how small decisions can have a larger effect on your life. But, a format like that takes away the suspense, foreshadowing and intrigue that comes with a more conventional, sequential storyline.
The template is basically the generational lesson-learning of “This Is Us” meets the thematically linked storytelling of “Life in Pieces.” In a when these shows reign supreme, creator Dan Kopelman was perhaps too overambitious with “Me, Myself & I.” It had good intentions and seems heartwarming, but neglects Moynihan’s comedic background.
“Moynihan, in his first series role since leaving Saturday Night Live, is (okay) in the present segment, which boils down to one long ‘trying to come up with ideas’ montage,” The Hollywood Reporter said.
If all of this hasn’t deterred you, “Me, Myself & I” airs on CBS at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Mondays.
Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.