Widower and video store owner Steve Tower (Steve Harvey) lives with his three sons and his mother-in-law in a comfortable Dallas split-level. They converse in gag lines that sound like they’re read off a prompter one sentence at a time but that panic one another and send a studio audience into gales of laughter for reasons not readily apparent.
Son Artis, 16 (Chaz Lamar Shepherd), winces under lectures as to why his B’s at school ought to be A’s; William, 13 (Wayne Collins), lusts to see an X-rated movie that dad has proscribed; Andrew, 10 (Benjamin LeVert) is being told off for spying on his brothers. “You may need a kidney some day,” explains Steve.
Sensible mother-in-law Mary (Madge Sinclair) and girlfriend Amelia (Wendy Raquel Robinson) allow as to how Steve may be a little exacting in his parenting techniques. “If I give them enough trouble at home,” he retorts, “they won’t go looking for more outside.” See?
Action in the series premiere, under Andrew Weyman’s direction, concerns Steve’s efforts to keep his sons away from the aforementioned movie (“Gravedigger 4,” for those who care). It betrays no aspect of the lingua franca of sitcom writing to reveal that a major percentage of the family does, indeed, show up at the forbidden movie palace on the same forbidden evening.
Writers Bob Myer, Lenny Ripps and Rob Dames are credited with the story and script, which suggests overcrowding. A tape of “My Three Sons” would have done just as well. Next to the clunky writing clunkily delivered in “Me and the Boys, ” the work of Fred MacMurray and his brood looms in retrospect alongside the Royal Shakespeare Co.