Man with a Plan First Look Review: Plans aborted

Chad White

Man with a Plan
Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of CBS’ Man with a Plan starring Matt LeBlanc and Liza Snyder.

"There's a big difference between building houses and raising kids"

CBS’ comedy offerings may be becoming more diverse in the future -- see the acquisition of Jermaine Fowler’s series and Elizabeth Laime’s -- but today, they’re pretty samey. On top of their already cookie cutter cop procedurals (Hawaii Five-0 is basically tropical NCIS as Scorpion is nerdy NCIS and NCIS is CSI for the elderly), CBS’ comedy shows are just as simplistic. The premiere of Kevin Can Wait brought back a beloved sitcom actor to patriarch status with a hot wife and odd kids, pitting him in situations where nothing goes as planned. This week, they introduced Man with a Plan -- a show that more or less follows the same guidelines as Kevin Can Wait. Oh and nothing goes as planned either.

Matt LeBlanc slumps back into some form of comedy actor having been gone for twelve years. He plays Adam Burns, titular man with the plan. But, as the pilot put it so eloquently, his plans go awry. His wife, Andi (Lyza Snyder), decides to go back to work after years of being a stay at home mom. It’s up to Adam to do the after school activities because he has the more flexible schedule. Other characters in the pilot aren’t established as well save for the repeated (repeated) joke use of the youngest son’s propensity to have his hands down his pants. Besides that stereotype, there are other, more obtrusive and equally offensive “jokes.” Constant reminders that Andi is not a doctor but still in the medical profession are referenced. According to the script, women cannot possibly be doctors. But one of the most abhorrent quips has to be the notion that dads can’t do “mom things.” Is it so hard to believe in this day and age that a man can be a full time parent and a woman can be a doctor?  

Besides the dated script from series creators Jeff Filgo and Jackie Filgo, the direction from James Burrows is competent. And the audience (or laugh track) is there. But characters just seem to go without any sense of being. Leblanc is reading the script with minimal if not forced acting ability. Snyder seems to be handling her shortsighted duties and the three kids are just doing their job. It's just a shame when the same show that likens the difficulty of raising kids to constructing a building is unable to take its own advice.

Should you watch Man with a Plan?

Nope. Stay away. Even if it wasn’t the best it could be, Kevin Can Wait was miles ahead of this show. If you miss Matt LeBlanc, watch the new Top Gear or Friends reruns. You’ll find more enjoyment in their trailers than you’ll find in one scene of this show.