According to Jim: The Complete Third Season Review

It’s hard to keep the sitcom fresh considering how supersaturated the genre was in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Consequently, if you wanted to find fault with According to Jim, there are a number of places to start. The most obvious might be with Jim Belushi himself, whose hammy delivery can make punchlines even more predictable, than they already are – which is the most serious fault of the show.

Whereas the typical sitcom has about a dozen of tropes it uses in its episodic stories, According to Jim has about two, and of them one fills out about 90% of the episodes, and it goes something like this: Jim has a hair brained scheme to get something he wants or avoid something he doesn’t want to do, his wife Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) finds out about it and concocts her own scheme with the help of her sister Dana (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). The plans eventually collide head-on and then Jim learns a lesson about being a better husband.

In the case of the third season, these plans involve not cooking the Thanksgiving dinner, avoiding PTA meetings, having a bachelor’s party (with underused guest star Dan Aykroyd), weaning his son off a Green Bay Packers toy, beating his neighbor’s lemonade stand business, and avoiding marriage-related seminars/events.

There’s a belief, albeit a false one, that men are naturally funnier than women. Whether or not you agree matters less than whether or not a lot of Hollywood producers do. And they do, but that stereotype is gradually being lifted. Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell (his in-show brother-in-law) provide the low-brow man jokes, while Thorne-Smith and Williams-Paisley often have the sharper barbs that usually deliver the laughs. According to Jim doesn’t have much unique to offer the world of sitcoms, but it’s harmless fun that kills time.

DVD Bonus Features Two featurettes outline the behind the scenes fun of the third season and the cast and crew talking about filming the episodes in front of a live audience. The latter is 15-minutes long and it’s actually interesting to hear how the show chooses which jokes make it onto TV depending on that crowd’s reaction. It makes you wonder how many great jokes are being thrown out because the studio audience didn’t get it. Yes, I’m implying studio audiences aren’t the brightest bunch.

"According to Jim: The Complete Third Season" is on sale April 3, 2011 and is not rated. Comedy. Directed by Gil Junger, James Belushi, Mark Cendrowski, Philip Charles MacKenzie. Written by Jonathan Stark, Tracy Newman, Ron Hart, John D. Beck, David Feeney. Starring Courtney Thorne Smith, James Belushi, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Larry Joe Campbell.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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