Jim Belushi, of “Curly Sue” fame, stars in the new ABC sitcom about Jim, a “modern” dad who parents from his Lazy Boy. Jim is both macho and sensitive, but must cope with his wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith, “Ally McBeal”), his two young daughters, his sister-in-law Dana (Kimberly Williams, a talented actress who is grossly underused in the first episode) and his brother-in-law Andy (Larry Joe Campbell).
The first episode of “According to Jim” focuses on the trauma both parents face when their oldest daughter hates kindergarten and cries when her parents leave her. Jim”s innovative solution is to switch his daughter”s school so that they can attend kindergarten together (and what guy wouldn”t want to participate in nap time again?).
The fact that he fails to mention this to his wife, and bribes his daughter into silence creates a bit of friction between Jim and Cheryl, just as his brother-in-law is having marital problems of his own. Reoccurring throughout the episode is the message that although married people fight, often about stupid things, they must kiss and make up in order for the marriage to work. Any Psych 111 student could have told you that.
“According to Jim” shows promise, if not originality (imagine “Home Improvement” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” rolled into one). Jim Belushi has a winning comic personality that is likable enough to keep viewers watching from week to week.
However, the show needs to step up its comic timing a bit. There are good bits (Jim being dragged away from his daughter”s kindergarten class by school security guards) mixed with not so good ones (Jim playing a Spice Girls song on his naked belly to make his wife laugh if I were married to this man I would be very scared).
And speaking of flesh, the supporting characters need to be fleshed out a bit, although there is plenty of opportunity to do so in later episodes.
If “According to Jim” succeeds on ABC, it would not be a surprise, but if it fails, it would not exactly be a shock either. Its premise and humor are very generic which, in the world of TV, could either be a very good thing or a very bad thing.