New family on the TV block — if another’s needed — is headed by comedian John Caponera playing John Bowman, who’s married to Maureen (Eve Gordon). They, their three kids and John’s associates make up the familiar horseplay that’s greeted with suspicious outbursts of audience laughter. “The Good Life” ain’t that good.
John’s blue collar, working with Drew (Drew Carey) and Tommy (Monty Hoffman) at a place that doesn’t require much concentration. There’s teenage daughter Melissa (Shay Astar), 15-year-old brother Paul (Jake Patellis) and small son Bob (Justin Berfield).
Warren Bell’s script, which has some agreeable moments, runs into trouble when Paul dates a practicing Buddhist and, instead of learning from her, the sitcom ridicules Buddhist customs and beliefs.
Caponera, appearing ill at ease, rises to several occasions. Paul Feig’s smart timing lights up his brief role. Gordon’s Maureen complements John, and Patellis’ Paul shows promise. Carey’s sidekick role, showing potential, puts in a couple of good innings. Young Berfield is acceptable, while Astar’s Melissa hasn’t much to do.
Director Gerry Cohen does what he can with the mild situations, but no sense of ensemble work as yet shows. The Bowman family’s the kind that can grow into something positive if it can garner a few more genuine laughs and omit its bigotry.
Actual series begins Jan. 4.