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Chris D’Elia stars in the new NBC comedy “Undateable.”
TV Review

Dopey man-child comedy worth tuning in for

‘Undateable,’ NBC

What it’s about: Danny Burton (Chris D’Elia) is a 29-year-old man-child who is good at exactly one thing – having a series of superficial relationships with attractive women. He decides to help his other roommates – who are also in a state of arrested development, albeit the exact opposite of him – to overcome their crippling inability to talk to women, much less date them. They are: Justin Kearney (Brent Morin), a bar owner; Shelly (Ron Funches); Burski (Rick Glassman); and Brett (David Fynn).

This show was adapted for TV from – or perhaps more accurately “inspired by” – Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle’s book, “Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex,” by Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs”) and Adam Sztykiel.

My say: Sure, “Undateable” is dopey. It’s happily dopey. Unapologetically dopey. Umm, dope-ily dopey. But that doesn’t mean this “bro-com” from Bill Lawrence is terrible-dopey. It’s not and, in fact, is demonstrably better than a few other NBC sitcoms that have filled/wasted the NBC Golden Hour the past couple of seasons. “Undateable” is a trifle with a smattering of good lines, a couple of laughs, a reasonably amusing cast – first and foremost, D’Elia – and probably enough gas in the tank to get it through the summer.

At first, “Undateable” feels a bit like Lawrence’s notebook of rejected lines – jokes he just couldn’t bear to part with but had enough sense not to include in shows such as “Cougar Town.” (In fact, tonight’s 9 p.m. opener on NBC is a group effort by a pack of seasoned sitcom writers, but the Lawrence touch is evident throughout.) Also, this is a multicamera show, so the beats tend to gut anything that aspires to brains or subtlety: Punchline ... spit-take ... cue to: studio audience laughter. Repeat.

That’s OK, too, because, believe me, “Undateable” has no aspiration beyond surviving past the All-Star break. NBC is probably a bit embarrassed by this, but don’t take this network’s cue on anything relating to the “sitcom.” With the exception of “About a Boy,” it hasn’t had a whole lot of recent success in the comedy realm.

Bottom line: Amusing, dumb, silly – exactly what you would expect.