Within seconds of a tired “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” joke, it is already apparent that “Jake in Progress,” the newest vehicle for John Stamos of “Full House” fame, is another failed attempt at comedy. While Stamos and the cast make a valiant effort, the premise is weak. “Jake in Stagnation” would be a more apt title.

TV/New Media Reviews
“I live in the shadow of the Olsen twins.” (Courtesy of ABC)

Stamos (“Full House”) is Jake Phillips, a womanizing aide to the stars attempting to clean up his act. The show’s attempts at humor are derived from Jake’s miserable dating failures.

Several people aid Jake through his transition. His married friend, Adrian (Ian Gomez, “The Drew Carey Show”), is his antithesis, representing the marital failure Jake could find when he settles down. Adrian spends more time with Jake than his wife, and his in-laws wish their daughter had married Jake instead. Naomi (Wendy Malick, “Just Shoot Me”) is Jack’s rough-around-the-edges, but kindhearted boss. Pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, she makes it her personal challenge to find Jake a good woman. Patrick (Rick Hoffman), the most bizarre character in Jake’s life, is a stalking illusionist who desperately wants to be Jake’s buddy.

In the pilot, Jake must deal with Shane, his client who is currently portraying a boxer. Shane’s sexuality has recently come under fire in the tabloids, so Jake attempts to remedy the situation by holding a sparring session for Shane against Adrian. Jake has also been set up on a date with Naomi’s sister, a situation complicated by the fact that the two have previously shared a one-night stand that Jake cannot remember. The show is pushed along using multiple viewpoints and segments are sometimes shown with a split screen.

“Jake in Progress” has a one-joke premise, and the writers usually create humor from situations involving homophobia and effeminate men. For example, hilarity is supposed to ensue when Jake must deal with a major controversy after learning that a member of a “Queer Eye”-like makeover group is actually heterosexual, but the joke falls flat.

While John Stamos has been given multiple chances at stardom, he has yet to carry his own show. This cast makes a valiant effort, but it is likely that Stamos will have to wait longer for a breakout hit. Without the cute kids to carry it, the destiny of “Jake in Progress” may be less like “Full House” and more like the ill-fated “Thieves.”

Have mercy.

 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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