Several of the new fall comedy pilots feel like they've locked in a vault for a decade or two, the premises and execution are so dusty. Despite a cast packed with comedic talent, How to Be a Gentleman never manages to squeeze any good laughs out of its stale setup.
Andrew Carlson (creator David Hornsby) writes a gentelman's column for a men's magazine called Marquis and he's basically the kind of guy that grew up wearing sport coats with the patches on the elbow to his high school classes. He's perfectly suited for his job, but he doesn't quite fit in anywhere else. Andrew gets a rude awakening when his editor Jerry (Dave Foley) tells him that magazine is changing direction and going in more Maxim-like direction to fit the changing times and he'll have to tart up his column a bit. Andrew doesn't know what to do until he runs into Bert (Kevin Dillon), an old school bully of his and now the proprietor of a trashy gym. Bert becomes the model for the audience he needs to begin writing to and Andrew begins getting lessons from him on how to be more "man" and less "gentle."
Hornsby, Foley and and supporting cast memebers Mary Lynn Raajskub and Rhys Darby are all very funny people, but no one manages to break out their stodgy sitcom roles. Dillon's character is fairly annoying but he's not really any more offensive than characters from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which Hornsby has served on as writer, producer and actor. It's his generic brand of meathead vulgarity that proves to be the most irritating. In the end, the most indecent thing about How to Be a Gentleman is its utter failure to be funny.
How to Be a Gentleman premieres Thursday 7:30pm on CBS.