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Review: 'Surviving Suburbia'

April 5, 2009 |  3:28 pm

Call it a cynic's guide to surviving the 'burbs, but it's really an old-fashioned sitcom with Bob Saget at the helm playing a grumpy dad.


The second situation comedy to star Bob Saget, ABC's “ Surviving Suburbia,” comes 14 years after the end of "Full House," the cuddly series in which he played loving father to the Olsen twins (conjoined in a single part). It is also 12 years since he hosted that influential bastion of adorable domestic hilarity, "America' s Funniest Home Videos." And most every appearance since -- talk show spots, "Entourage" cameo, the dirty-joke movie "The Aristocrats," the hip-hop parody "Rollin' With Saget" and, above all, his dark, blue stand-up comedy -- has been, in effect if not by intent, to prove to the world that he is really Not That Guy.

In his new show -- a never-aired orphan of the CW's unsuccessful arrangement with subcontractorsMedia Rights Capital -- Saget is again Not That Guy, though he is back playing a father in the most venerable of sitcom formats, the family comedy. Network promos promise a twist on the form, with lines such as "He's not getting older, he's getting bitter," "Father knows less" and "If this is the American dream, please wake him when it's over." But while its cynicism about suburbia is superficially novel, the show itself is quite old-fashioned, if not old hat: lame dad, smart mom, cute child, knowing child, strange neighbor. Door here, door there, couch in the middle.

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