Kevin James’ return to TV is really, really bad. But its pilot had one smart joke, so we go easy on it.
For a sitcom which, if its marketing was to be believed, has literally zero original premise, Kevin Can Wait could genuinely have been a lot worse. Sure, Kevin James isn’t a particularly funny man (this is, after all, the star of Paul Blart Mall Cop). Sure, the constant laugh-track would make anyone want to surgically remove their ears. But Kevin Can Wait was just harmless enough to be passable as a pilot.
The primary source of my sympathies was a very clever set-up whereby the daughter of James’ character- a newly-retired cop (this show has some serious #BlueLivesMatter undertones) with no appealing characteristics whatsoever- warns her mother that she’ll be bringing her boyfriend to the house that evening “with his roommate”. Cue a scene in which the boyfriend and the roommate arrive at the house. One young man is a clean-cut, charming baseball star; the other a pretentious English app developer. It took even me a moment to figure that the latter was in fact the boyfriend; this realisation drives Kevin crazy. A simple gag, but one far better than what’s typically found in a CBS multi-camera comedy.
I haven’t the slightest intention of ever watching Kevin Can Wait again, and I don’t think I actually laughed once during the 21 minutes of the pilot, but- hey- I’m not as angry as I expected to be.