From creator Ed Yeager ("Still Standing", "Dharma and Greg", "Suddenly Susan" and others), "Gary Unmarried" sees comic Jay Mohr starring as Gary Brooks. The series opens a couple of months after Gary has divorced his wife, Allison (Paula Marshall). The two try to get on with their personal lives, but still cross each other's paths so that he can continue to visit their children - Tom (Ryan Malgarini) and Louise (Kathryn Newton), who find themselves shuttled between the two parents.
The series is a variation on the usual family sitcom (while not up to the classic "Married...With Children", "Unmarried" could be described as "Married...With Children" without the "Married" part), with the twist being that the parents are separated, which allows Marshall and Mohr to play both sides of the relationship - while they bicker with one another constantly, there's also the continued hints of caring underneath all the fuss. The kids, on the other hand, look on as their parents awkwardly try to deal with one another and make mistakes.
Louise is more a parent to Gary than he is to her, while Allison brings up concerns early in the first episode about how Tom is handling talking to girls. Gary's response: "He should be afraid of girls! They pretend to like you and then they take all your stuff!"
Some of the highlights of this season include: "Gary Gives Thanks" (Gary and Allison argue over where to host Thanksgiving), "Gary Uses His Veto" (Gary uses his once-a-year veto power), "Gary Gets His Stuff Back" (Gary tries to blackmail Allison into giving him his pool table back), "Gary and the Trophy" (Gary tries to find a replacement after one of his bowling team members drops out of the team) and the pilot episode.
While the series isn't without a few flat stretches here-and-there, it manages to rise above most sitcoms these days with solid writing - the show's one-liners aren't anything out of the ordinary, but the gags are densely packed and Mohr couldn't be any better at playing sarcastic and immature, but thankfully rather than coasting, the actor does deliver the riffs with energy. Marshall provides a solid foil, as she has good chemistry with Mohr and is able to volley back the one-liners well. Newton and especially Malgarini are also terrific as the kids, and Ed Begley offers an amusing performance as the couple's marriage counselor who suddenly becomes Allison's new husband.
I couldn't quite get into "Gary Umarried" while watching the series a few times during the first season broadcast, but I actually liked the series quite a bit when sitting down to watching it - the writing is snappy and the casting is superb.
1 1-01 24/Sep/08 Pilot
2 1-02 01/Oct/08 Gary Gets Boundaries
3 1-03 08/Oct/08 Gary Marries Off His Ex
4 1-04 15/Oct/08 Gary Gets His Stuff Back
5 1-05 22/Oct/08 Gary Breaks Up His Ex-Wife and Girlfriend
6 1-06 05/Nov/08 Gary Meets the Gang
7 1-07 12/Nov/08 Gary & Allison's Restaurant
8 1-08 19/Nov/08 Gary and Allison Brooks
9 1-09 26/Nov/08 Gary Gives Thanks
10 1-10 10/Dec/08 Gary Goes First
11 1-11 17/Dec/08 Gary Toughens Up Tom
12 1-12 14/Jan/09 Gary Dates Louise's Teacher
13 1-13 21/Jan/09 Gary Moves Back In
14 1-14 11/Feb/09 Gary and Dennis' Sister
15 1-15 18/Feb/09 Gary's Ex-Brother-in-Law 16 1-16 11/Mar/09 Gary Uses His Veto
17 1-17 18/Mar/09 Gary Hooks Up Allison
18 1-18 08/Apr/09 Gary and the Trophy
19 1-19 06/May/09 Gary and His Half Brother
20 1-20 20/May/09 Gary Fixes Allison's Garbage Disposal
VIDEO: "Gary Unmarried" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is generally very good, as the episodes as a whole look about broadcast quality. Sharpness and detail are never really exceptional in any way, but the picture does at least maintain a consistent and pleasing level of definition, and always appears at least crisp.
Some minor grain and a couple of slight instances of appear at times during the proceedings, but mostly, the presentation appeared clear and free of flaws. No wear was present on the elements used. The show's color palette remained bright and warm, with excellent saturation and no smearing or other faults. Black level appeared solid, while flesh tones looked natural.
SOUND: "Gary" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Despite the 5.1 presentation, the sound still remains fairly front-heavy, with dialogue and music remaining crisp and clear throughout.
EXTRAS: Bloopers, "Tuesday on the Set With Jay" featurette, "Planet Begley" featurette and "Chemistry of Comedy" featurette.
Final Thoughts: "Gary Unmarried" is a successful effort, with a solid cast and fine writing. The DVD set provides a few minor extras, but very nice audio/video quality. Recommended.