the early word

Pilot Preview: CBS’ ‘Worst Week’ Makes Us Cover Our Eyes

Courtesy of CBS

This week, Vulture’s taking a look at the best and worst of the fall season’s picked-up TV shows. Which are good? Can anything replace Cavemen? And, most important, what’s worth a DVR season pass?

Title: Worst Week

Stars: Kyle Bornheimer (Jericho), Erinn Hayes (Kitchen Confidential), Kurtwood Smith (That ‘70s Show), Nancy Lenehan (My Name I Earl)

Network: CBS, Mondays at 9:30 p.m.

The pitch: Meet the Parents, only more so.

Pilot report: Sam (Bornheimer) and his girlfriend, Melanie (Hayes), are engaged and pregnant — but how can they tell Melanie’s parents when Sam turns into a ham-fisted buffoon from nervousness whenever he’s around them? The last time he came over, he almost burned down their house, and this time events are conspiring against him even worse. Between the vomiting co-worker, the urinated-upon turkey, the mysterious phone call from the undertaker, the car accident, and the dog, Sam can’t make any headway with his future in-laws, sweet-natured Angela (Lenehan) and stern Judge Dick (Smith).

Representative dialogue:

Angela [unveiling enormous oil painting of Dick]: It’s his birthday present. Do you love it? It’s painted by the same man who does all the portraits of the presidents. He’s been working on it for over a year. He said it’s his masterpiece.
Us: T-minus ten minutes until Sam accidentally sets that portrait on fire!

Breakout star: Bornheimer is actually totally appealing in the role of a schlub whose best-laid plans constantly go awry, which just makes the show more wince-worthy when horrible things happen to him.

Worth a season pass? Depends. When you watched The Wonder Years, and one of those moments arrived in which some truly mortifying thing happened to Kevin in front of Winnie, or his parents, did you cover your eyes and yell “La la la la la”? Or did you watch and laugh? Imagine an entire expertly made, well-acted sitcom made up entirely of moments like that, and you’ll know instantly whether Worst Week is for you. We would do almost anything never to watch it again, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

Pilot Preview: CBS’ ‘Worst Week’ Makes Us Cover Our Eyes