×

Rodney

ABC's "Rodney" is a gem of a working-class comedy. Predictably stocked with a dumb husband, precocious kids and a wife with a heart of gold, the Alphabet laffer is still funnier than the gaggle of lunkhead sitcoms that have blanketed TV over the years. "Rodney" serves notice that there's room for the little guy.

With:
Rodney Hamilton - Rodney Carrington Trina Hamilton - Jennifer Aspen Charlie - Amy Pietz Barry - Nick Searcy Jack Hamilton - Oliver Davis Bo Hamilton - Matthew Josten

ABC’s “Rodney” is a gem of a working-class comedy. Predictably stocked with a dumb husband, precocious kids and a wife with a heart of gold, the Alphabet laffer is still funnier than the gaggle of lunkhead sitcoms that have blanketed TV over the years … from anything starring Lenny Clarke to “Still Standing.” Among more expensive, more hyped and more star-driven entries this fall, “Rodney” serves notice that there’s room for the little guy.

“King of Queens” is the benchmark for well-done dumbbell comedies, and “Rodney” should be considered its first cousin. As familiar as a Hollywood laugh track, show nonetheless manages to get mileage out of its standard premise.

It’s based on the real life of Rodney Carrington, a goofy, Tulsa-based redneck who has released five comedy albums and trudged along the club route for almost 15 years. Probably better known to “Grace Under Fire”/”Home Improvement” fans than to the “Seinfeld”/”Friends” set, he gained exposure early in his career from appearances on syndicated morning radio shows like “Bob and Tom” and “John Boy and Billy”; he’s that kind of yokel.

But a hilarious one. Rodney (here given the last name of Hamilton) quits his job at a fiberglass plant in order to focus on his standup-comedy pipe dream. Trouble is, he’s tied down with two boys, a mortgage and a wife, so he’s not exactly free to live that dream. While working at a friend’s bar for peanuts, he considers taking a job selling used cars from his slimy father-in-law (Mac Davis), as well as trying to win the support of his feisty wife, Trina (Jennifer Aspen).

Like so many “name” half-hours before it — “The Drew Carey Show” and “According to Jim” come to mind — “Rodney” uses a simple structure: basic thoughts, few edges, Everyman themes. But it’s blessed with some terrific writing, proof that the same formula can be rehashed if the jokes are good.

Show may have vanilla plotting but, like “Roseanne,” there’s plenty of yuks to milk from trailer-park sarcasm, and it doesn’t come across as too mean or localized.

Carrington seems at ease in his first starring role anywhere, and he even manages to get in some of his trademark songs. Except for Aspen, who’s solid as his spirited spouse, supporting players are cutouts. In fact, there’s nothing much given to co-stars Nick Searcy (as Rodney’s best friend), Amy Pietz (as Trina’s sister) and the two sons in the pilot to really do.

Retro-ly enough, show looks very 1988, replete with the same ol’ house clutter and interior home layout.

Rodney

ABC, Tues. Sept. 21; 9:30 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Ric Swartzlander Prods. and Touchstone Television. Executive producers, Swartzlander, David Himelfarb; producers, Jason Fisher, Mark Gross; director, Robert Berlinger; writer, Swartzlander.

Crew: Camera, Jim Roberson; editor, David Helfand; music, Steve Dorff; production designer, Michael Hynes. 30 MIN.

Cast: Rodney Hamilton - Rodney Carrington Trina Hamilton - Jennifer Aspen Charlie - Amy Pietz Barry - Nick Searcy Jack Hamilton - Oliver Davis Bo Hamilton - Matthew JostenWith: Mac Davis.

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: 'Episode 100' Pushes '1984' Forward in Time

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Episode 100,” the sixth episode of “American Horror Story: 1984.” One hundred episodes is a big milestone in television these days, so kudos to “American Horror Story” for getting there. Also kudos for pulling out all the stops for this big episode — it definitely [...]

  • Seth Meyers TV Take Podcast

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Seth Meyers's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby” and Epix released a trailer for “Belgravia.” CASTING AMC announced that “Succession” actor Sarah Snook, David Costabile (“Breaking Bad”) and Sonya Cassidy (“Lodge 49”) have been cast in its upcoming anthology series from Will Bridges and Brett Goldstein. The still-to-be-titled series is set 15 years into the [...]

  • Rachel Maddow

    Four Female Journalists Will Moderate Next Democratic Debate

    Four women will moderate the next Democratic debate, slated for broadcast on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, the primetime host; Andrea Mitchell, the veteran foreign correspondent; Kristen Welker, the NBC News White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a Washington Post White House reporter, will moderate the event, MSNBC said Wednesday. The broadcast is slated for November 20. [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    Megan Clarken, Key Nielsen Executive, Will Depart Company (EXCLUSIVE)

    Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive who has been instrumental in the company’s quest to keep tabs on consumers in the many new ways they have to watch TV, is leaving the measurement giant. “After 15 years at Nielsen, Megan Clarken will be leaving at the end of the month to take on a new position [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch on 'Succession,' Pete Buttigieg and Climate Change

    James Murdoch doesn’t watch Fox News and he doesn’t watch “Succession.” “There are some shows that you just know you’re never going to watch,” the youngest son of media mogul and Fox Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch told Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones on Wednesday, alluding to to the HBO series centered on a family-run media [...]

  • Freddie Prinze Jr First Impressions

    Freddie Prinze Jr. Joins ‘Punky Brewster’ Sequel Pilot at NBCU’s Peacock Streamer

    Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining another pilot, this time at NBCUniversal’s forthcoming Peacock streaming service. He will play a recurring role in the “Punky Brewster” sequel pilot which was ordered when the Peacock unfurled its slate of feathers back in September. Prinze Jr. was a part of the pilot for the CW’s “Nancy Drew” earlier [...]

  • Traci Blackwell

    BET Names Traci Lynn Blackwell Head of Scripted

    Traci Lynn Blackwell has joined BET has head of scripted programming. Blackwell joins BET from the CW, where she was senior VP, current programming. As executive VP, scripted programming, Blackwell will lead all originals efforts for BET Networks’ linear channels and streaming service BET Plus. She will report to BET Networks president Scott Mills. “Traci [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content