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Man with a Plan - Pilot - Review




“Man With A Plan” is a simple comedy. Perhaps, way to simple to fit in with the television landscape and more specifically, the comedies on broadcast networks. That being said, the show is definitely not as bland as I had anticipated, and that is a relief.

In this Matt LeBlanc driven show, he plays contractor Adam Burns. His wife Andi (Liza Snyder) is going back to work after many years, leaving him in charge of their three kids — Kate, Teddy, and Emme.

This plot may feel eye-roll worthy but doesn’t have to be if done right. That is not the case with “Man with a Plan” though. In its pilot, it relies on way too stereotypical jokes such as Adam not knowing how to take care of his own children and wanting to give up in one day. It’s as if the dude has never even met these kids or ever helped out with even the smallest thing.

He is surprised to find out they aren't sweet and perfect, the way he found them when he returned from work every evening. They are addicted to their cell phones, need to be cleaned up after, and so on. To top that, when he drops his youngest Emme to school and becomes an involuntary room parent, in charge of organizing Sundae Funday, he interacts with the only other dad present there — Lowell (Matt Cook). Now, Lowell has an entirely different personality because he has actually spent time with his kids, and according to the show, it’s made him less manly, which also bugs Adam.

He chooses to give up on day one but the next morning but changes his mind when he realizes the extreme burden he’s been putting on his wife the whole time. Luckily, they don’t make Andi quit her job. She initially decides to struggle a bit and balance both, work and home. This makes Adam step up again, and even though he forgets his kids in the pantry, he eventually realizes he has got to help out.

Adam understands the only way to get his kids to listen to him is by taking away their addiction — WiFi and devices. Andi comes home to a neat and clean house, and everything seems to be going alright.

“Man with a Plan” isn’t delivering anything new to its audience. If we look only at network comedies, and not even count the cable gems, there are family comedies we already love such as “The Middle,” about an average, poor family from Indiana struggling to make ends meet while making their characters quirky as ever. Newer ones such as “black-ish,” “Fresh off the Boat” are humorous while focusing on diversity. Even new fall show “Speechless” is doing something unique as a family comedy.

In a way, this show seems like a great fit for the CBS line-up, especially with another new addition, “Kevin Can Wait.” You can watch it and maybe relate to some character or the whole plot in general, but don’t expect some groundbreaking or even just new jokes. "Mom" seems to be one CBS comedy that does generate positive content. "The Big Bang Theory" and "2 Broke Girls" rake in fan favorites and viewers but after completing several years on-screen, the characters and story is bound to feel redundant.

The one solid light of this show is, of course, beloved “Friends” star LeBlanc. I suspect many people will watch it just for him, that was my intention, too. He throws out some funny one-liners that may just make you chuckle a couple of times, and his vibe feels very Joey Tribbiani-like, too. But that’s not enough. The supporting cast definitely needs to pick up after even though they were decent in the pilot and the subplots need to be more meaningful than just a dad of three learning what it actually means to be a dad of three! meaningful.

I’ll still stick with “Man with a Plan” because I do believe this show has some scope. I hope the next few episodes prove me right.

About the Author - Saloni Gajjar
Saloni Gajjar is a writer for SpoilerTV. Her work can also be seen in Complex, Interview, GALO, and Brown Girl Magazine. She has been working in journalism for over five years now. Her passion lies in writing about pop culture, it's representation of our world, and our perception of it. For STV, she will write about "Homeland," "Switched at Birth," "Love," "Modern Family," "The Mindy Project," "Fuller House," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and "Man with a Plan."
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