How to Be a Gentleman: TV Review

How to Be a Gentleman
Cliff Lipson/CBS

Who's In It: Kevin Dillon, David Hornsby, Dave Foley, Mary Lynn Rajskub

What It's About: Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by John Bridges, How to Be a Gentleman is a male buddy comedy that follows an unlikely friendship between a traditional columnist (Hornsby) and his freewheeling trainer (Dillon). (Half-hour multicamera comedy)

When It Airs: Fall; Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS

Talented comedy performers can't rise above unfunny stereotypes.

David Hornsby plays an etiquette columnist who is detached from modern society in the new CBS comedy.

There may be no improving How to Be A Gentleman, CBS’ entry into the emasculated men trend of this season.

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Based on the book of the same name, the series follows Andrew (David Hornsby, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), a straight-laced etiquette columnist for a men’s magazine and, courtesy of the anvil dropped on our heads, pretty obviously about as tough and manly as Niles Crane.

When the magazine is taken over and revamped into something akin to Maxim, Andrew turns to high school bully turned gym owner Bert (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), in an effort to make him over into, well, maybe Frasier Crane.

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All of this is done with a maximum of stereotypes. Andrew jokes about how badly men dress, and their manners.

Bert punches him in the arm. Meanwhile, Andrew’s sister Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub, 24) also makes fun of Andrew while dominating her husband, Mike (Rhys Darby, Flight of the Conchords).

You can never tell if a completely unfunny and predictable “comedy” will run for five or eight seasons on CBS, so who knows what will happen with the leaden How to Be A Gentleman. But know this – it’s painful to watch so many talented comedic actors, like Darby, Rajskub, and Dave Foley, who plays Andrew’s boss at the magazine, suffer with this material. (Dillon basically plays Johnny Drama from his Entourage days.)

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Hornsby, who has done funny work, would be included in this collection of wasted talent if he wasn’t actually one of the show’s executive producers.

Maybe the emphasis in future episodes should be less on how to be a stereotypical alpha male and more about how to be funnier.