Andrea Warren (Andrea Savage) is a happily married mom with intermittent work and chronic verbal diarrhea. That’s it, that’s the show. Savage — who created, executive produces, writes, and stars in the show — is a delightful, energetic screen presence, with a brand of humor that somehow delivers butt jokes with charm. But there’s otherwise very little to distinguish this sweet little show from other Los Angeles-based autobiographical single-camera comedies about the unfunny business of parenting, marriage, and being in your 40s: In between “Better Things,” “St. George,” “Maron,” “Nobodies,” “Lady Dynamite,” “Take My Wife,” and significant chunks of “One Mississippi” — the list goes on and on and on — a show would have to be particularly entrancing to stand out from the crowd. But while the show is lightweight and enjoyable in all the right ways, it’s more of this same well-trodden genre.
The highlight of the series are Andrea’s relationships — such as the one with her fictional husband Mike (Tom Everett Scott), with whom she shares an easy intimacy that consists of her telling jokes and him getting mildly uncomfortable. Her writing partner Kyle is played by familiar comedic face Jason Mantzoukas, and the people she encounters are played by a fascinating cross-section of the industry — Judy Greer, Judith Light, and in the pilot, an appearance by June Squibb (!).
“I’m Sorry’s” conceit is that Andrea is always getting herself in verbal gaffes with the world at large, and especially with the other moms at school. In one episode, she out and says the essential premise of the series: “It just seems like everyone at school is, you know, joking around, they’re seemingly very cool. And suddenly I say something that clearly crosses a line. I forget that people have a much closer line than the hilarious, disgusting broken people that I consider to be some of my closest friends.”
But it’s interesting, in a comedy landscape that often mingles tragedy or alienation with a comedian’s life choices, that Andrea’s most important relationships are nontoxic, and even the verbal misunderstandings at school usually muddle their way to resolution. It’s a refreshing trip through her world, but it’s also nearly devoid of dramatic stakes. Probably the most really worrying episode is the second, when daughter Amelia suddenly declares she won’t hang out with a classmate because her skin is too dark. Andrea is flabbergasted, hilariously, at the notion that her kid is a budding racist, and tries to find ways to change Amelia’s mind. Curiously, though, the plotline neither resolves nor prompts self-reflection from Andrea and Mike. (Amelia learns to like her friend, but she also starts quoting lines from “Fat Albert” with an attempt at Bill Cosby’s vocal inflections, so it’s a bit of a wash.) “I’m Sorry” chooses to stop at the punchline, when comedy tends to maximize its potential as the audience becomes more invested.
That may please many viewers. After all, it is nice to spend time in Savage’s world, and sometimes a series of butt-oriented sex jokes concealed from the listening ears of elementary-schoolers is enough for a good laugh or two. But “I’m Sorry” never quite tries to be more than a series of moderately amusing anecdotes, which squarely limits its ability to compete with other, highly similar, more adventurous programs.