Co-created by Jimmy Fallon (whose voice can be heard reminding viewers the show's taped in front of a live audience), "Guys With Kids" is one of the ways NBC this fall is attempting to broaden its audience beyond the cultlike followings for shows like "30 Rock" and "Community."
Another example: "Animal Practice," which got its own sneak preview following - or more accurately during - NBC's coverage of the Olympics closing ceremonies last month.
If it helps, "Guys With Kids" is the show without the monkey.
Which doesn't mean Fallon and company haven't gone all out. No monkeys - yet - but more babies than you can shake a jar of strained peas at and a very special guest star to boot, one who'll get more lines than Gwyneth Paltrow did in her cameo in "The New Normal" (that pilot will re-air right after "Guys" and one night after its own second episode).
They also haven't messed around with some fancy title. You want "Guys With Kids"? Anthony Anderson ("Law & Order") plays Gary, a stay-at-home dad with "like four" of them. ("It's hard to keep track, man. I haven't slept in six years.")
He's married to Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe of "The Cosby Show"), who's equally aghast at the size of their family, having apparently forgotten that the Huxtables had five. ("There are four of them. They broke the TV, man!")
Jesse Bradford plays Chris, a divorced dad with a controlling ex (Erinn Hayes) with whom he has joint custody of their infant son, and Zach Cregger ("The Whitest Kids U Know") plays Nick, whose wife, Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, "The Sopranos"), stays home with their offspring. (I'm being vague here, because by now I, too, have lost track of the number of children on this show. And I was one of seven.)
In another attempt to keep things simple, all three of the dads apparently live in the same New York apartment building. (They may have to fight it out over who's Jerry and who's Kramer.) When they're not there, they may be found, tastefully attired in BabyBjorns, in a neighborhood bar, bemoaning their lot.
Every generation thinks it invented parenthood, and each is entitled to complain about the working conditions (though I'm not sure this explains why so many sitcom dads are stupid and so many TV moms control freaks).
Parenting can be a tough slog, but I've always found it to come with more laughs than this sorry show.
Contact Ellen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5950. Follow her on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.