Creators Howard Adler and Bob Griffard may have come up with a happy surprise by settling actors Maurice Godin and Mike O’Malley together in a promising sitcom. The situations are amusing, and the future could be rosy if the writers can get even funnier segs and exchanges. As it is, the first episode suggests that “Life With Roger” can be a plus.
Jason Clark (Godin), his car frozen on a New York bridge at 5 a.m., gets help from stranger Roger Hoyt (O’Malley), who’s on a railing contemplating the big jump. Instead of leaping, Roger jolts Jason’s car back to life so jittery Jason can get chores done before his own wedding today.
Homeless, agreeable Roger, of course, goes with him to the bank, foils a robbery and discourages the marriage after hearing Jason describe Myra (Meredith Scott Lynn in a choice characterization). Jason’s independent sister Lanie (Hallie Todd), who lives across the hall from Jason’s digs, is delighted Myra’s out.
Premise is good, the aborted-wedding scene surefire, and Lynn’s would-be bride Myra is too good a character to be dropped. Obviously Jason and Roger will be roommates, with Roger easygoing, Jason the nervous one. Godin and O’Malley, working with material that’s too often ho-hum, come through with surprising assurance, and Todd puts a nice, caustic spin on sister Lanie. A laugh track blatantly cues viewers when to chortle, but first-rate comedy writing would work better.
There’s talk of a resemblance between “Roger” and “The Odd Couple.” Absurd.