When your TV is taken over by William Shatner’s voice against excessively dramatic music, you might think you’re watching a Priceline commercial. But if it happens to be Thursday at 8:30 p.m., it’s actually the even more cringe-worthy “$#*! My Dad Says.”
“$#*! My Dad Says”
Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.
The recipe for this new CBS pilot might be successful as a “Saturday Night Live” skit, but not an entire show. Essentially, the focal point of the program is an old dude saying rude and crude one-liners about how dumb his son is — over and over again. Based off a once-in-a-while hilarious Twitter feed, “$#*! My Dad Says” just doesn’t have enough joke variation to sustain a legitimate series.
Derived from the Twitter account of a 27-year-old dude who lives with his offensive old dad, the show opens with the son (Jonathan Sadowski, “Friday The 13th”) wondering how he is going to ask his dad (William Shatner, “Boston Legal”) for money. The plot drags on from there, with father and son engaging in humiliation warfare for 20 minutes until finally the son gets mad. But as all sitcoms go, father and son make up and are happy in the end. That is, until next week — when the same exact thing happens once again.
There’s a reason popular time-wasting websites like “F*** My Life” and “Texts from Last Night” don’t have their own shows — they’re funny to read once in a while, but not good source material for anything with an actual plot.
The worst of the pilot’s flaws come from William Shatner playing the lead role. Shatner has shown he can have witty moments — see “Miss Congeniality,” in which he plays an eccentric pageant host — but that still doesn’t make him right for the part of the foul-mouthed old man. In real life, the Twitter-exposed dad is 74 years old and looks like everyone’s white-haired grandpa, but Shatner looks like he just stepped out of a tanning salon.
And Shatner isn’t the show’s only shortcoming. The jokes are set to laugh tracks and developed from writing that is just not amusing, making for an awkward situation all around. Uninspiring punchlines like “I almost just exploded your balls onto my Buick,” “As you get older the things you want outta you stay in and the things you want in you flow outta ya” and “If you don’t pass we’ll get you a bike” aren’t even funny on paper, let alone in an actual series with a laugh track. To add insult to injury, Shatner’s character makes rude jokes about everything possible in a socially unacceptable way. Everyone from Mother Theresa to homosexuals and hookers is mocked. Instead of inciting laughter, there’s just dead silence and a yearning for a joke that will at least crack a smile.
But the show leaves the viewers with nothing to want. The narrative is totally dependent on the dad being funny — which he absolutely isn’t — so nothing ever really works. The “$#*! My Dad Says” producers are pretty much full of $#*! if they think this series is the least bit hilarious.