Man With a Plan Review CBS Matt LeBlanc

Man With a Plan Review: Plan to Avoid Matt LeBlanc's Dreadful New Sitcom

grade_D-Oh, Matt LeBlanc. We were Friends once, right? Millions of us watched you as the endearingly dim-witted Joey Tribbiani on that ’90s NBC hit. But now, more than a decade after Friends ended, you’re asking us to watch you in Man With a Plan, CBS’ dated, laughless new sitcom. In the words of Joey himself: “Why, God, why?”

Man With a Plan (premiering Monday, Oct. 24 at 8:30/7:30c) is depressingly formulaic from its first frames. LeBlanc plays contractor Adam Burns — though, really, we could just call him “Joey” to save time — whose wife Andi (Liza Snyder) is going back to work, putting him in charge of their three kids for the first time. And guess what, guys? He’s terrible at it! When the kids demand after-school snacks, Adam hands them a Listerine strip. His contractor job supposedly gives him a flexible schedule, but he acts like he’s never met his own children before. It’s all straight out of the CBS hapless-dad sitcom playbook.

But there’s a more insidious undercurrent to the show, and that is: Caring about your children is not manly. That point is driven home by the character of Lowell (Clipped‘s Matt Cook), a wussified stay-at-home dad who is in awe of Adam’s easy-going masculinity: “I’m very drawn to your alpha-male energy.” Basically, there are two types of dads in this world: wimps like Lowell who actually spend time with their kids, and real men like Adam who never speak to their kids. It’s a backward point of view that should’ve fallen out of favor forty years ago, but CBS is still playing it for (weak) laughs.

Man With a Plan Review CBS Matt LeBlanc

I will say this for the Man With a Plan pilot: It’s marginally improved from the original pilot, which was a total mess and had a woefully miscast Jenna Fischer as Adam’s wife. They wisely scratched that and found LeBlanc a more compatible TV wife in Liza Snyder, who’s familiar with the rhythms of CBS sitcoms from six seasons of Yes, Dear. LeBlanc and Snyder both know how to hit a three-camera punchline, but Adam and Andi’s relationship still has a distasteful strain of bitterness to it. (Note to TV producers: It is possible for a married couple to like each other and still be funny.)

And the whole enterprise just feels very phoned-in. LeBlanc appears mostly disinterested during his scenes, and the script doesn’t bother to give Adam any character traits beyond “a slightly less dumb version of Joey.” He doesn’t have any friends, and his kids’ personalities shift from “ungrateful brats” to “daddy-loving angels,” depending on what the current scene calls for. Even the studio audience can barely work up the energy to laugh.

Matt LeBlanc is a talented comedic actor. He deserves better, and so do we. In fact, he does have another, more successful post-Friends comedy: Showtime’s Episodes, where LeBlanc plays a tongue-in-cheek version of himself. In it, TV executives have taken a highbrow British comedy and turned it into a dumbed-down American sitcom called Pucks! for LeBlanc to star in — a sitcom, actually, that sounds a lot like Man With a Plan.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t waste your time on this one; Man With a Plan is depressingly formulaic and severely lacking in laughs.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

51 Comments
  1. Kevin K says:

    Worst new show of the season

  2. neshphotos says:

    I’ve not had a chance to see it – but isn’t it possible that the ‘less alpha male’ character is literally just a personality and not indicative on an entire generalisation? I’m not saying it to be inflammatory – literally just asking the question.

  3. MMD says:

    What is going on at CBS these days? Whoever is making the decisions at all the major networks haven’t been making good decisions for a long time, that is while they are losing so many eyeballs.

  4. Gina says:

    Oof, this seals the deal for me. I was going to give the show a try due to my loyalty to all-things Friends, but I’ll pass.

  5. TheloNaGrapso says:

    Will take this review with a grain of salt, as one reviewer’s opinion and will watch to make up my own mind. Can’t believe people actually make up their minds based on one review.

    • Lala says:

      Like I said before, I always watch all the shows TVline bashes and I end up liking them and for some reason the shows they bash do so well in the ratings and the ones they love tank really fast…so yeah! I don’t take any of these reviews seriously

  6. CP says:

    Between Kevin Can Wait, the spectacular ratings failure that is Stephen Colbert, this… thing, and CANDY CRUSH (Yes, that Candy Crush that became a thing in I dunno, 2014?) becoming a game show, CBS is slowly descending into complete s—, which is a shame.

    • Guy says:

      CBS has been s— for quite some time now. Generic procedural dramas and tired laugh-track sitcoms. Big Bang Theory might be crazy popular but it’s a terribly unfunny show.

    • Lala says:

      Well if a show like 2BG can survive this long and do this well on CBS it means CBS has been in S…. for quite sometime now…KCW is just icing on that S…cake!

    • Kevin K says:

      CBS is becoming the biggest villain of ’em all. Look at the daytime line-up which is #1 for 30 years and the late night block with Colbert and Corden is doing great in the long run and of course there’s a reason why they’re making bad sitcoms which turned into huge hits like 2 Broke Girls, Life in Pieces and currently Kevin Can Wait.

  7. pickles says:

    I was going to watch it because I am a Kevin Nealon fan .I think I’ll pass on it now after reading the review.

  8. Iakovos says:

    There is a place for a contemporary domestic family comedy. This should have been cast in the ROSEANNE mode, gritty but funny as we live in a world where life ain’t easy for the working class! Love LeBlanc and Snyder as they have the talent to make work something a little more developed.

  9. KCC says:

    As I recall the initial reviews of Friends were pretty negative, as were the first reviews of Seinfeld and other now classic sitcoms. At this point the entire genre is very tired and it’s rare for the networks to come up with anything original. Even if they do, they don’t have the patience to give it time for an audience to develop. If Seinfeld were launched in the current TV environment I doubt it would have survived 6 weeks. For me it comes down to the likability of the characters and that the jokes make me laugh. We’ll see.

  10. boreanazfann says:

    I don’t care, I’m still gonna watch it.

  11. Wasn’t Episodes cancelled? I liked it as much as anything on Showtime.

  12. Lisa says:

    Not seen it but the second I heard about it, it was just clearly going to be a fail. How could he go from such a quality show like Episodes to this. I think Leblanc is actually becoming Joey given the horrendous show that was Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E that everyone but Joey could see was a disaster and Leblanc who has an impressive body of work of recent years with Epidoses now willingly taking in part in something like this.

  13. S K says:

    Wow. I lost interest in this show halfway through reading the description of it. That, in itself, has to be a bad sign….

  14. ndixit says:

    It always looked back which is a shame because LeBlanc is actually very talented in the genre. Friends is a classic but he was also genius in Episodes. It sucks that him and Perry are now in terrible CBS comedies.

  15. :-) says:

    It reminded me of a slightly different Kevin can wait. Not better or worse just the same feel. I love Snyder so I’ll give it another shot. At this moment i can’t say I’m a fan of the show

  16. T says:

    Sad that Perry and LeBlanc both are doing really bad CBS comedies. However I blame the TV viewing public for part of that – Perry was on two other comedies that I thought were funny- Mr. Sunshine and the even better Go On but they couldn’t get more than one season. (also really liked Studio 60 but not a comedy). So now he has to be on CBS that to me doesn’t produce that great of comedies- (other than my #1 favorite of all time HIMYM) and I will give them Big Bang as it is pretty funny to me. Instead they have hits with gross comedies like Two Broke Girls and 2.5 Men. While I am ranting they don’t give really unique and funny shows like The Class a change to get an audience.

  17. HAP says:

    Love Episodes, but I’ll probably take a pass on this show.

  18. Boiler says:

    With the Kevin the new lead in for this show can’t wait to see the numbers tumble.

  19. LAwoman says:

    I love him, but the premise doesn’t interest me. I’ll just stick to Episodes for as long as it continues.

  20. danoregon says:

    I’m really surprised anyone heard about this and thought – “yeah – this will be great!.”

  21. TV Gord says:

    LeBlanc was on Live with Kelly this morning and kind of threw a little shade at the writers. The conversation got around to the Friends writers and he made a joke about how they’re too expensive now to work on his new show, the implication being the current writers are cheap. That’s how I took it, anyway.

    When I watched the trailer for this, I couldn’t believe he’d squander the good reputation he built for himself with Episodes by stooping to this show.

    The only person I feel worse for this season is Joel McHale. The Great Indoors looks like a stinker, too!

  22. ComeOn says:

    Why does Matt even bother with these, it’s not like he needs the money and he has Top Gear where is clearly is enjoy himself much much more.

  23. Terry says:

    Everyone panned Kevin Can Wait, but I have enjoyed it and found it to be funny. I would much rather watch Man With A Plan sight unseen than watch the miserable Two Broke Girls again.

  24. Larry says:

    This looks awesome and Joey was awesome, then again you though KCW would be cancelled soon.

  25. dhubinblog says:

    Good to see this show blasted for its misandric portrayal of fathers. These ungrounded stereotypes are harmful to men and their children–and to women. I’m on the national board of National Parents Organization (www.nationalparentsorganization.org), which is working hard to protect the relationship between children and both parents, when those parents live apart. Far too often, children are deprived of a true parent/child relationship with their fathers. And the reinforcement of false stereotypes like those promoted in this show are part of the reason that this happens.

    From the description in this review, it appears that *Man with a Plan* is grounded on a cheap form of humor that deserves to be condemned and I applaud David Nemetz and TVLive for doing so in clear, unequivocal language.

  26. Wendy says:

    It’s Joey and Christine. Neither of them are convincing as anything other than their previous roles.

  27. David Meade says:

    You guys should do your research and not give false information the ghost pepper isn’t the hottest pepper in the world it’s the carolina reaper just saying

  28. sanclan03 says:

    The form was developed very well. Overall good job on the html and the css code. The buttons functioned properly. All fields were provided. The rubric details the points items. Let me know if you have any questions.

  29. Debbie says:

    I love Man With a Plan. The cast is funny and i hope it lasts for a while

  30. Tom says:

    Horrible show.
    It’s that simple to explain.
    Please cbs get some better shows.

  31. Ginny Dexter says:

    My husband and I watch Man with a Plan.We Love, Love this show.Matt and
    Liza have great chemistry.We Love the
    Writing as well.Pleasr did’nt cancel this
    This is a Very Funny Show
    Sincerely
    Ginny Dexter

  32. Todd says:

    The mom is so ugly, fat and nasty. She should not be allowed on network TV. The show is bad…she makes it unbearable.

    Please CBS, do America a favor and remove this horrible program.

    • TV Gord says:

      Good grief! I don’t like the show, either, but this comment is ridiculous! In a pre-Trump world, this commenter would/should be ashamed.

  33. sunflower says:

    I totally disagree. All of you should watch a few episodes before judging. I just binge watched all of season 1 and have not stopped laughing every single episode. it’s just plain, clean family fun. Much better than some other weird sitcoms I have seen..

  34. TV Gord says:

    If you’re this desperate for attention, try volunteering in your community. You’d enjoy all the gratitude you get back from people more than the eye-rolls you’re getting now.