According to Jim (2001–2009)
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One of my favorite story arcs is where Jim is distraught over something regarding his infant son. For instance, his wife allowing him to wear a dress for Halloween. Or his wife buying him a Green Bay Packers football, despite Jim being a HUGE Chicago Bears fan (arch-rivals of the Packers), and hoping to pass that on to his son (like most parents do). This brings in a fantasy segment in which Jim speaks to a teen aged/young adult version of his son regarding the topic at hand. Yes, Jim may be a pompous jerk, an ass-hat, but he doesn't wrap the show up in "his" own viewpoints. There's still a moral, and still a concession made by such an opinionated man.
Really though, if you catch this one on TV, watch it. I don't see how Jim Belushi's character on this show is any harder to deal with then Doug Heffernan on King of Queens (who at first, I couldn't stand). It's got laughs, it's got solid plots (even if some aren't the most original), it's got a good time.
Lastly I mention Jim Belushi. He is just fab in his part as Courtney's hubby. It's both scary and exhilerating to watch him. It's like seeing John Belushi but all grown up and, well, normal (mentally). For years now, I've watched Jim and seen only John. Now, thanks to this show, I am finally seeing Jim for Jim. He is pure funny, great timing, great sincerity, and he knows how to be serious when it calls for it. Great dimension for a character who started out as little more than just a caricature. I've been delightfully amazed. He's quite good in this particular role (you know, like Ackroyd is just excellent as the balding Southern good ole boy of both Driving Miss Daisy and My Girl), and I hope this sitcom makes it for a few years so I can keep on enjoying it.
Courtney knows how to hold her own and then some against Jim. They walk the thin line between being the Bundies and the Bunkers and the Buchmans. Their chemistry is very on-target. Everyone's is, actually.
The arguments are quite believable. Good writing. I like the running joke about expanding vocabulary.
This show isn't Seinfeld or Cheers, but it is a solidly written comical commentary on married family life. Couples can watch together and both enjoy it, neither gender is spared, both are poked fun at and both are strongly represented. I agree with the previous post that if you dislike Belushi, you probably won't like it. Ditto for C.T.-S., although she might surprise you.
If you do decide to check it out, give it 3 chances. I didn't warm up to it til after that many episodes, and now I'm glad I gave it a chance. It's a nice change from Reality Everything.
Season Reviewed: Series (3+ season)
The only reason According to Jim' is even still on the air, as of this writing, is because it isn't a reality show. Launched by ABC in the fall of 2002 with '8 Simple Rules', 'Life with Bonnie' and 'Less than Perfect', it was part of the network's pendulum swing away from the reality genera and back toward more audience-pleasing scripted family comedies. It's much better than a reality show, but a hard punch in the back of the head would be too.
So, now we're stuck with this monster. In that reality rebellion I'm afraid the audience may have given Jim Belushi, the cast and his writers the impression that they were actually funny. They aren't and as a sitcom the show is a waste of time and space on every level. How many ways can you say that something is bad? 'Jim' is nothing, like a spec of dust in the air. It has no distinct characters or comic talents. It has no vision or voice. It has no chemistry. It has no desire to do anything creative or original. It doesn't want to tell a story or even strain to hard to tell a joke. It wants to be escapism and get a laugh every now and then and it can't even do that. At the same time it isn't even bad up on an insulting level that I can get worked up and challenge it.
The show is headlined with another classic improbable sitcom odd-couple marriage in Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith ('Melrose Place', if that doesn't say it all). The husband/father is, typically, a tubby sports and sex-obsessed idiot always needing to be wrangled in by his more sensible, down to earth, and never wrong wife. As much as this TV husband lives in constant fear of not having sex, he is also so self absorbed that he will forgo opportunities for said sex so he can attend a football game, watch a football game or some other act of self indulgence. They make up cute at the end of each episode so they could go through the same thing again. None of these shows have the guts to end with their wives finally filing for divorce.
For those that haven't heard this a thousand times before: these kind of escapist sitcoms are designed to pander to the married/relationship set - for the husbands to fantasize that they can be as much a pig as they want and still get Courtney Thorne-Smith. Wives are to feel like they are doing an act of charity raising both their kids and childish husbands who are constantly screwing up and getting them into predicaments. We're all supposed to hold hands at the end, look into each others eyes and say "that's just like us" or "it's so realistic". That illusion of familiarity is the only thing that keeps these shows running.
Belushi, swallowing the slob sitcom clichés whole-heartedly, is flat-out obnoxious. Everyone else, including Thorne-Smith, cute Kimberly Williams and Larry Joe Campbell (as Belushi's fat slob sidekick) run around and fall all over the place trying their paltry best to give this any signs of life. It is embarrassing to watch.
Next time I come across another one of these cookie-cutter sitcoms, I'm going to make it easy on myself and just cut and paste this review and change the names. See if anyone notices. Hey, you get out what you put in.
The whole cast is fantastic, with some of the best child actors i have ever seen.
All the characters are likable and fun to watch.
I recently just watched an episode where Jim and Cheryl are testing to see if Jim's sperm count was high so they could have another child, Cheryl tells him not to smoke or drink to increase their chances of conceiving.
Needless to say, Jim gets drunk the night before so he cant fill the sample or Cheryl will find out what he did. He gets his brother in law (Cheryl's brother) to fill the cup.
One thing leads to another - and Cheryl and her sister Dana find out what the boys did, and they play a prank on them by saying that Cheryl has already inserted the sperm!
The guys freak out. I was rolling on the floor laughing! This smart and clever comedy is one to watch.
Here he simply mugs his way through an almost buried genre, the sitcom and a family sitcom to boot. Wasn't there any way that this could have been more than just a mildly amusing series of Belushi wisecracks sprinkled with a little lesson of the day. Apparently not, so what we have is the big slob who has been somewhat domesticated plus the nagging but understanding wife. We also get the wussy brother-in-law plus the sister-in-law who acts like she was the female Jim incarnate.
Although I don't really think that any of the actors are that funny, I must say that there are some scattered laughs, especially when Belushi end up having to explain himself to his wife which happens quite a few times. The way he comes up with excuses and still makes you think that he can get away with it is hard to make believable but that he does.
There was a of course a guest appearance by family friend Dan Aykroyd but it wasn't particularly funny and the recurring characters of Jim's blues buddies are mostly below par.
Here's to hoping that sitcoms will some day still have the same edge as when Married with Children was on the air because it is certainly a milquetoast watching experience today.
However, that is all I have to say that is good. I do love comedy in any shape or form, but that is the problem with According to Jim. For me, the humour just isn't funny. The writing is stale and makes me roll my eyes sometimes. There is the odd occasion where I've cracked a smile for a few seconds, but for a sit-com that lasted apparently eight seasons that isn't enough. Plus when there tries to be any poignant moments, the writers ruin it almost spontaneously by adding a corny, unnecessary joke. Then there is the canned laughter track, is there anyone else who finds it distracting? I often find it misplaced and obvious and that diminishes my enjoyment more. The story ideas are unimaginative too, not to mention predictable and bland, and I am very indifferent to pretty much all the characters, including Belushi's who can be seen as selfish. Aside from Belushi and Campbell, the other acting is poor. Courtney Thorne-Smith plays herself, while the kids are forgettable and annoying. I have never been impressed with the direction either, it comes across as... I don't know... too complacent, I guess.
I'm sorry, I just don't like this show. The concept may have been stale, but I was willing to watch for Belushi, and all I could see was bad writing, predictable storytelling and characters that I don't care for. 1/10 Bethany Cox
And why it that? My guess is that it's because "he should now better". Jim's not a stupid guy, he can take care of things and he's got the opportunities to do so. But he chooses not to. It's a conscious choice he makes, when he chooses to not play with his kids, not go shopping because he doesn't want to buy "lady products" and it's a choice he makes, when he puts down his relatives.
The other characters seems to only be in the series so Jim can have someone to be a jerk to. If the Cheryl character was a real person, she would have left him years ago, and not stay with the deadbeat for 8 years. But alas, she's just a catalyst for Jim's quirky middle-class extreme selfishness.
The very basic question is: how did he manage to score such a hot wife? How come she didn't send him packing after a couple of months? Or years? See, that's the big issue I have with the typical "average slob with a hot wife" sit-com premise. Unless Cheryl has an IQ of 60 she should have grown tired of Jim's shenanigans a looong time before the events of the pilot episode.
Instead we get to sit through Jim's stupid antics, while his wife just frowns a bit but ultimately forgives him because apparently love conquers all, even self-respect...
The sidekicks are equally shallow, with the token man-child who's equally annoying as his leader, and the smart-ass girl who's there just to antagonize the main character.
And don't get me started on the kids... As usual, the little girls are the voice of reason and can act in the sassiest way possible because in the end they're right and teach the parents a lesson.
A show where kids are the most mature characters is either a kids' show or a very poorly written one.
Chalk one up for the latter...
Frankly I'm baffled many find the show funny, or even bearable. It's as hackneyed as it can get, without managing to be remotely funny.
This show has some very clever gags.
This is a show about a slightly flawed guy devoted to his family, trying to muddle his way through it all. He sometimes gets a self-centered idea that takes him off on a questionable path. But he always manages to find his bearings and be the dad and husband he should be. Nothing raunchy or evil just some "guy" kind of mischief or nonsense, and often it really gets some laughs from me. Just watching this guy goof up and then have to figure out what to do about it is a riot. This is the only sitcom on TV that I even care to bother with.
I'm not even quite sure why, because it's pretty formulaic - slob husband, naggy wife, loser friend (male), harpy friend (female) - but somehow it manages to keep sight of the fact that the idea is to make people laugh, not preach at them. Oh, and the kids are kept largely offstage; something I wish more shows would remember to do.
I guess it's because I like Jim Belushi. OK, he's playing the same character that made him money in movies like K-9 and Red Heat but hell, he's good at it, so why not? Added to that is the fact that, as far as I'm concerned, Courtney Thorne-Smith will be a babe until she's 90, and she's not a half-bad comedienne either; and the sparks they knock off each other as a modern-day Beatrice and Benedict are done with obvious relish and provide a lot of laughs.
It's not quite up to the standard of MWC at its height, or indeed the best of British; but I'm glad we're getting re-runs here in Belgium, and I usually try to watch it if I'm in.
There are no laughs. I guess if you have a brain cell count below four, you might find some of it to be funny, but then again you would probably also laugh at bathroom noises and rainbows.
According to Jim makes people stupider.
The only worse 'comedy' performer than Jim Belushi (aka "Guy Who Has a Job Because His Brother Was Funny and Tragically Died Too Young so We'll Take Another J. Belushi Who Kinda Sorta Looks Like Him and Wonder What Could Have Been") is the idiot who plays his friend. If Jim Belushi is an idiot, and he is, this guy must be a super idiot (I wanted to use the 'r' word to describe them, but then I realized that would be offensive to actual 'r' people).
How does garbage like this get on the air, and how does it get renewed for more than one season? It just goes to show that a large number of people in our society are getting dumber and dumber.
According to Jim must be stopped!
Episode 'Valentines Pay'
Jims wife notices that all of Jims weekly pay has disappeared, he then explains to her he lost it at the casino. She screams and leaves the house lamenting how awful he is. Then on Valentines day he turns up in a limo with tickets to a Ball (hence explaining the missing wages). She realizes 'Her' mistake and the usual 'Oh Jim, you're so lovely'. ..The end
Another very obvious item is the fact that Jims character is based on Homer Simpson who as a cartoon character can get away with being belligerent and ignorant, when this is attempted with Human beings it does not work and Jim just comes over as an arrogant self centered jerk.
IMO the only reason that this is successful is simply because we're so many now in terms of Human beings with TVs, these days you could make a show about a man who insulates walls and you'd get an audience.
'Two and a half men' on the other hand is fantastic and hilarious.
I really didn't like any of the characters' first impressions; in one way or another, they all reminded me of someone I disliked. But now that I've gotten to know them, they've all "grown on me". I really hope other folks are giving this show the chance it deserves.
This is obviously an ensemble cast and they all work together as a well oiled and properly adjusted machine. I have experienced outbreaks of complete belly laughter for almost seven years and have yet to learn the last names of the characters.
Obviously, I am concerned about whether Courtney Thorne-Smith will return in January to finish out what will most likely be the series final season. With a missing and essential character, this show will go out with a whimper, rather than the big bang it so rightfully deserves.
This has been an absolute hoot of a show and I'll continue to watch reruns for as long as this series remains in syndication.
One final word, Jim Belushi is not John Belushi, he is his own man and does not live or perform in his talented late Brother's shadow. John was absolutely wonderful and had his own unique style of comedy and acting. Let's give Jim his proper credit, he can handle a wide range of acting from drama to comedy and never miss a beat.
Man, I'm going to miss this show!