Monday, October 29, 2018

REVIEW: 'Happy Together' - Jake Gets a Surprise Visit From His Father When Claire Is Out of Town in 'Like Father, Like Son'

CBS' Happy Together - Episode 1.05 "Like Father, Like Son"

When Jake's father, Mike, visits, they are excited to spend quality father-son time together. Also, Jake and Claire awkwardly attempt to keep their romance alive while she is traveling on business.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of CBS' Happy Together.

"Like Father, Like Son" was written by Craig Wayans and directed by Phill Lewis

So far, Happy Together is the only new show on CBS not to get an order for more episodes in its first season. That could spell trouble for the show because CBS has two comedies on tap for midseason - the third season of Matt LeBlanc's Man With a Plan and new comedy Fam. Of course, this show hasn't been an immediate failure either. In fact, it has been fairly steady in the ratings. If it managed to keep that going or rise a little bit, then it wouldn't be surprising to see CBS order a few more episodes - even if it's not a full season that is traditionally ordered at the broadcast networks. Moreover, the network was really been hyping up tonight's guest appearance by Damon Wayans Sr. It was such easy casting for him to play the father of his real-life son's character. It's the same exact thing that Happy Endings did several years ago. It's believable casting and they have such a fun and charming dynamic. This show basically paints Jake and his father as the exact same person. They may be removed by a generation. But their bond is infectious. They see each other as their best friend. They care about what happens to the other. The main story relies heavily on the appeal of the father and son bouncing off of each other. There is an actual plot going on underneath all of this as well. Mike makes this surprise visit because he's depressed after learning that his ex-wife is getting remarried. Sure, it's a little unusual that Mike knows that before Jake does even though Jake seems to have a great relationship with his mom right now. Of course, she doesn't actually appear onscreen either. So, it remains the two of them talking about a woman they both know. It forces Jake to realize that he may not be as close to his father as he thought he was. He is finding it difficult to get his father to open up to him. And yes, that provides a nice and genuine hook for the show to find some drama and real emotion in its storytelling. It can't all be the two of them joining Cooper in an impromptu singalong of one of his most famous songs. In fact, it remains very interesting to see the show paint a portrait of Cooper's career which is solid but possibly not all that memorable. He enjoys this suburban life with Jake and Claire. It provides a nice getaway from the stress and drama of life as a huge pop star. But it also means he is placed in the middle of drama between Jake and Mike. It's tension that only resolves itself during a Lakers basketball game. That's an unusual setting to set this climatic moment. It makes it a public setting that is odd for them to talk about a serious issue like this. However, it's still rewarding as well. But again, it all depends on the audience buying into this story and the actors playing it. Both Wayans are sitcom stars. They perform well in this format. However, it's much easier to find Jr. energetic and charming. Sr. has run into problems in recent years with comments made about pop culture events as well as all of the behind-the-scenes drama of FOX's Lethal Weapon. It's because of that that it's difficult to see him as a charming sitcom star going for those broad and big laughs once more. This has been the most successful format for him in his career. But his recent career comeback has certainly put some more complicated issues to the forefront of him as a performer as well.