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Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2011-2012 season, now in its sixth year! Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season (or one that didn't make the cut) and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. Keep in mind that a lot can change from what's being screened right now - recasting, reshooting, etc. - but we still want to give you a heads up on what you should (and shouldn't) keep on your radar in the coming months. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!
[IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on the original sales presentation which was screened to us privately or supplied by a third party NOT an informational, not-for-review screener provided by the network in question.]
VINCE UNCENSORED (BUSTED CBS PILOT)
(written by Phoef Sutton; directed by Kelsey Grammer; TRT: 20:03)
The network's description: No official description was released.
What did they leave out? It also comes from Conan O'Brien's Conaco banner.
The plot in a nutshell: It's been six months since contractor Vince (Michael Chiklis) had a brain aneurysm. His doctor, Neiman (Victor Garber, yes, that Victor Garber), has since given him a clean bill of health however with the damage to his frontal lobes, Vince finds he's no longer able to censor his thoughts. In short: he says exactly what he thinks. The doc's suggestion: count to three when he's about to say something, giving his brain the extra time needed to properly filter it. Not surprisingly, said tactic doesn't stop him from responding incorrectly to his wife Janet's (Elizabeth Perkins) queries about her figure; giving bad advise to his hen-pecked business partner Nav (Maz Jobrani); spilling the beans to a prospective client about how much time and money his remodeling job will cost; or suggesting to his bickering parents (Paul Dooley, Georgia Engel), freshly kicked out of their retirement home, that they should get a divorce.
And those are just the problems he creates himself. Also on his plate: youngest daughter Rosie (Rachel G. Fox) has handcuffed herself to the banister in protest over having to now go to middle school and eldest Bryce (Marcella Lentz-Pope) has dropped out of college. Vince's condition of course exacerbates the aforementioned fronts, most notably by calling Bryce a "whiny quitter." Janet eventually reaches a breaking point, telling Vince these aren't just random things he's blurting out, they're his true self coming out and that person is something of an ass. It's enough to send Vince back to Dr. Neiman's office hoping for a cure. Unfortunately, his hands are tied as any surgery could potentially make him a vegetable ("We're not supposed to use the word vegetable anymore," he quips. "But we're friends."). Nope, he's stuck with being uncensored and his family is stuck with him.
What works: As a sucker for the theatrics of multi-camera shows, "Vince" is wonderfully big and broad. That coupled with the Chiklis's bombastic nature and you have the recipe for some solid laughs. Whether he's telling Dr. Neiman he has a large head (Vince: "What do you pay for a haircut?" Neiman, noting Chiklis's dome: "I pay much more than you.") or sharing his thoughts about one of the neighborhood kids (Janet: "The Bernstein's daughter has Epstein-Barr syndrome." Vince: "Or as we used to call it, 'lazy bones.'"), Vince inadvertently comes across as a 21st century Archie Bunker.
The supporting cast is likewise a hoot, from Paul Dooley as Vince's TV-obsessed father ("That House, boy what a brilliant doctor. He's always right and they never listen to him. It's amazing that they can make that work for 200 episodes.") who enjoys looking for amusing typos in the closed captioning to Georgia Engel as Vince's booze-hound mother, who despite her age wants fake boobs and vaginal rejuvenation surgery. And Victor Garber as a slightly off-kilter doctor? Sign me up.
What doesn't: Vince ultimately never tries to solve any of the aforementioned problems. Much like a long-winded "SNL" skit, things just kind of peter out with the final blow being, well, at least it's better than dying from a brain aneurysm. Fair enough I guess, it just would have been nice to see Vince a lot more active in the ensuing fallout to his actions. All in all, call me crazy...
The bottom line: ...but I kind of dug this one.