With “Regular Joe,” the new comedy on ABC, you need look no further than the title to understand the premise. Joe Binder is a typical father with some ordinary kids and a regular job and he helps resolve the usual conflicts that arise in his standard household. All synonyms for “regular” aside, the show is nothing too spectacular, and it merely fills a void in the humdrum spring schedule, at least for the time being.

Todd Weiser
Courtesy of ABC

Daniel Stern (“Home Alone”) is our man Joe, a single parent who runs a hardware store with his typical rebellious teenage son Grant (John Francis Daley) and Sitvar (Brian George), a humorous, devious Indian man obsessed with the paint-mixing machine. In addition, he’s also coping with his daughter Joanie (Jackie Tohn), a teenage mother, and a wise-guy father named Baxter (Judd Hirsch), one you would expect to find in a show called “Regular Joe.”

In the first episode, Joe has to deal with some financial problems, as his son wants a raise and his daughter wants to go to Columbia University. As the daughter balances a job and classes, the son quits and takes a job at a Chinese restaurant. Joe remains calm during the whole ordeal, and easily resolves all the problems in this all-too-predictable comedy.

The storylines are nothing new, and disappointingly, Baxter is left out of the shuffle, when he is clearly the show’s secret weapon. Sitvar’s antics will provide some laughs (his appearance in a MC Hammer costume at the end of the first episode is quite funny), but such jokes aren’t that hard to come by these days. If you want laughs with these storylines, you can always watch “Full House” reruns.

“Regular Joe” is a regular show, plain and simple. However, when today’s television features people marrying total strangers and eating pig intestines to win money (don’t worry, that’s two separate shows), the ordinary shows just don’t cut it anymore. Stern gives it a good try, but he’s still stuck in the shadow of being the stupid criminal in Macaulay Culkin movies. This is one of those cases where you can definitely judge the book by its cover. The name says it all. Sorry, Joe.

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars

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