Technically it's still a couple of weeks before Fall television premieres truly start, but Sunday sees the launch of two new shows, Rel on Fox and Kidding on Showtime. Television critic Glenn Garvin finds the flailing about of two failing men not as entertaining as they could be:
Little Rel's real-life stand-up act has always been built around keen character observation coupled with tales of personal misfortune, and the show makes good use of that, mixing slam-bang punchlines with slow-burn jokes that erupt unexpectedly. The bougie/street conflict is consistently funny without condescension, with both sides giving as good as they get.
But Rel wants to be a Rocky-like tale of redemption and rebirth, a guy rebuilding his life from the emotional ruins of a divorce, and those scenes inevitably fall flat. You can practically hear a screenwriter in the background whispering, "Your wife didn't leave you for a barber but for a refuge from a stultifying marriage from which you long ago disengaged. Now, fall on your butt." Rel's pretty good at delivering laughs, but his pathos is, well, pathetic.
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