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How to Be a Gentleman aired from September until October 2011 on CBS.
HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN, inspired by the book of the same name, is a comedy about the unlikely friendship between a traditional, refined writer and an unrefined personal trainer. Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) is an etiquette columnist whose devotion to ideals from a more civilized time has lead to a life detached from modern society. Infectiously optimistic, Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon) is a reformed "bad boy" from Andrew's past who inherited a fitness center, but can still be rude, loud and sloppy. When Andrew's editor, Jerry (Dave Foley), tells him to put a modern, sexy twist on his column or be fired, he hires Bert as a life coach in the hopes of learning to be less "gentle man" and more "real man." Andrew's mom, Diane (Nancy Lenehan), and his bossy sister, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), support the plan, as would Janet's husband, Mike (Rhys Darby), if he was allowed to have an opinion. Though Andrew and Bert's views may be centuries apart, they may find they're each other's missing link. David Hornsby ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), Adam Chase ("Friends"), Ted Schachter ("The Invention of Lying") are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.
A Review from Variety
Posted: Fri., Sep. 23, 2011, 6:44pm PT
How to Be a Gentleman
(Series -- CBS, Thurs. Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m.)
By Brian Lowry
Filmed in Los Angeles by CBS Television Studios. Executive producers, David Hornsby, Adam Chase, Ted Schachter, Joe Hipps; co-executive producers, Jeff Astrof, Michael Borkow, Michael Lisbe, Nate Reger; producer, Randy Cordray; director, Pamela Fryman; writer, Hornsby.
Andrew Carlson - David Hornsby
Bert Lansing - Kevin Dillon
Jerry - Dave Foley
Janet - Mary Lynn Rajskub
Diane - Nancy Lenehan
Mike - Rhys Darby
Thank goodness Kevin Dillon's "Entourage" alter ego, the notoriously sensitive Johnny Drama, won't have to endure the critical brickbats likely to be hurled at "How to Be a Gentleman." It's the oldest of formulas -- mismatched buddies, even being promoted as "the oddest couple" -- handled with the least amount of finesse, as a persnickety writer for an effete lifestyle magazine is reunited with the brute who gave him wedgies in high school, who's now a personal trainer. Actually, about all one need say is, "You canceled '$#*! My Dad Says' for this?"
What little inspiration the series can muster comes from Dave Foley as the editor of the aforementioned magazine, a print dinosaur who finds himself with a new boss his son's age forcing him to go down-market. As he describes it, the mag's new goal is to reach "men in their 30s who act like they're 15." Or in the case of "Gentleman" creator-star David Hornsby, write like it.
Ill-equipped for such boorishness as the author of a column that shares the program's title, Andrew Carlson (Hornsby) is left at a loss by the shift in direction. Faster than you can say "contrived plot device," though, he's given a workout gift certificate by his cheerfully idiotic brother-in-law (Rhys Darby), who is so badgered by and beholden to his shrewish wife ("24's" Mary Lynn Rajskub, terribly ill-served by the role) he appears utterly unconcerned by hints she might be cuckolding him.
The trainer turns out to be Bert (Dillon), who appraises Andrew's starched shirt and immediately diagnoses the problem. "You know everything about being a gentleman, but nothing about being a man," he grunts.
So Bert will try to unleash Andrew's hidden id, which includes literally throwing him across the hall to ask out a fetching neighbor. Presumably, some of the writer's meticulously cultivated style will rub off on Bert in reverse.
With most of the near-laughs coming from the supporting players, Hornsby (also a producer on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and Dillon are reduced to set-ups and groaning rim shots. Darby, meanwhile, plays a cluelessly upbeat character very similar to the New Zealander's scene-stealing turn in "Flight of the Conchords," which can be amusing, but never rises to that level in this milieu.
Positioned after "The Big Bang Theory," "Gentleman" again promises to leave CBS' sitcom hit a lonely island of Thursday mirth. As for what that might augur for the fate of this throwback series, a gentleman probably wouldn't say.
Camera, Peter Smokler; production designer, Steve Olson; editor, Tim Mozer; casting, Anya Colloff. 30 MIN.
An Article from The New York Times
An Actor Who Splits Time Both On and Off Camera
By BRIAN STELTER
Published: September 28, 2011
LOS ANGELES — As the actor David Hornsby tried to list all of the hats that he wears — television actor, writer, producer, father of a newborn son — an apt metaphor came to his mind.
“I’m like a decathlete without the body,” he said.
This year Mr. Hornsby, who is indeed a tad spindly, is involved in four television shows on three networks, including an odd-couple comedy, “How to Be a Gentleman,” that has its premiere on CBS on Thursday night. Viewers who pay attention to the credits will probably remember his name: he’s the creator of the series as well as a lead actor, an executive producer and a head writer.
Mr. Hornsby, 35, is a member of a rising class of actors and comedians who are spending ample time off camera as well as on. After trying for years to break into the television and film business — to pay the bills, he babysat his manager’s children — his moment has arrived.
“I have literally had the thought lately: ‘Geez, I wish I didn’t have to sleep,’ ” Mr. Hornsby said on a short break from filming on the CBS Studio Center lot here.
He knows he can’t complain about his lucky circumstances, and he doesn’t; he also knows that he may reach a point of diminishing returns, but he doesn’t think he has, yet. Of his multiple jobs on multiple shows, he said, “it all informs one another.”
Along with his work for CBS, Mr. Hornsby is a writer, executive producer and a recurring character on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the beloved comedy on FX, and a co-creator and a voice actor for “Unsupervised,” an animated comedy that FX just put into production. He is also a voice actor for the Nickelodeon series “Fanboy and Chum Chum.”
And he is, as of last week, a father. His wife, Emily Deschanel, the star of “Bones” on Fox, gave birth to Henry on Sept. 21. Henry, Mr. Hornsby said, will be his top priority.
Mr. Hornsby is really driven and talented or “he’s made great inroads into cloning,” said Nick Grad, the executive vice president for original programming at FX.
Arguably, Mr. Hornsby is now a case study of overemployment, but after graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 1998 he was underemployed for years. He worked as a valet parker, a telemarketer, a waiter and a caterer and then, only slightly more glamorously, landed roles in 2003 on Spike’s “Joe Schmo Show” (a reality show spoof) and UPN’s “Mullets” (a blue-collar family spoof).
Unpredictably, a friendship with the three people who went on to create “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” resulted in a writing job on that show and then a recurring gig playing a homeless ex-priest, Rickety Cricket.
At the moment “How to Be a Gentleman” takes up most of Mr. Hornsby’s time, since he has never been at the helm of a network sitcom before. For Christmas one year he and his brother Charlie, who is now a writer on the show’s staff, received copies of the book of the same name, by Thomas Nelson. While writing for “Sunny,” he decided to loosely adapt the book’s rules for chivalry and nobility as a script.
Mr. Hornsby envisioned “Gentleman” as a single-camera comedy like “The Office,” but he said CBS “recognized, rightly so, that this would fit very well into a sitcom format” with multiple cameras, as with its other sitcoms. The sitcom’s laughs come from the tense friendship between the gentleman, Andrew, played by Mr. Hornsby, and the more jocular Bert, played by Kevin Dillon. “He was the high school bully; I was the bullied,” Mr. Hornsby said.
To produce the series, the network paired Mr. Hornsby with Adam Chase, a showrunner who worked on “Friends” for several seasons. In an example of cross-pollination between network and cable, Mr. Hornsby recruited a director of photography from “Sunny” for the sitcom. “You can’t help but bring some of that rhythm over,” he said.
On the “Gentleman” set, the light-haired Mr. Hornsby is a blur, moving from make-up to stage to the writers’ rooms seamlessly, with the help of a MacBook-wielding assistant. Watching the filming, his manager, Ted Schachter, said, “David has to be down here a lot, which is part of the hyphenate challenge.” Mr. Schachter compared Mr. Hornsby’s arrangement with that of Whitney Cummings, who helped create the new CBS sitcom “Two Broke Girls” and created and stars in the new NBC sitcom “Whitney.”
On a recent visit, Mr. Hornsby donned a wig to film a flashback sequence, sat in on a writers’ meeting about a future episode and practiced some French. “Part of being a gentleman, it seems, is knowing how to speak French,” he said.
While his co-star Dave Foley waited quietly in between takes in a mock magazine editor’s office, Mr. Hornsby repeatedly practiced his lines because they had been rewritten a day earlier. Acting, he said, “can easily be the forgotten part” of the job, so he forced it to take precedence.
“His creative energy seems to thrive at this pace,” said Wendi Trilling, who oversees comedy development for CBS.
The network is pairing “Gentleman” with the popular “Big Bang Theory” on Thursday nights, giving the new sitcom as good a chance as any to succeed. And yet, if it doesn’t — many reviews have been sub-par — Mr. Hornsby has his three other shows.
Surely it is financially rewarding to wear so many hats, though Mr. Hornsby said he left that to Mr. Schachter and his agents to sort out. Drinking a Guinness at 9:55 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, he said having several stakes in the creative process was “ultimately more rewarding.”
“That’s why I’m writing,” he said. “That’s why I’m acting. I wouldn’t want to wipe my hands of it and let someone else do it.”
A few weekends ago, he said, he was awake until 4 a.m. finishing a script for “Unsupervised,” which is expected to have its debut in January. He also sketched the characters, and soon he’ll be recording the voice for one of the supporting players.
He had time for only one beer. “There’s really no day off,” he said. But why would he want one?
A Review from USA TODAY
'Gentleman' is all manner of bad
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Sep 28, 2011
A sitcom faux pas: David Hornsby, left, and Kevin Dillon aim to be an Odd Couple for a new generation.
Created by David Hornsby as a star vehicle for himself, Gentleman proposes that such men are a dying breed, and then spends a painful half-hour convincing us extinction wouldn't be such a bad idea. Or at least it wouldn't be if people with good manners and high social standards were actually the prissy pushovers Hornsby imagines. Perhaps rather than reading the small etiquette book on which he based this even smaller character, he might want to turn to Miss Manners. He might discover it's possible to stand up for mannerly behavior while still having wit, style and a spine.
Hornsby's Andrew is an etiquette columnist for a men's magazine, which wants to replace his column with something younger and sexier — news conveyed to Andrew by his editor (Dave Foley, one of the show's few bright spots).
While pondering what to do, Andrew uses a gift certificate to a gym, given to him by his sister and brother-in-law (Mary Lynn Rajskub and Rhys Darby, trapped in two of the season's more annoyingly ludicrous characters). There he runs into a guy who bullied him in high school, Bert (Kevin Dillon) — and promptly hires him, not just as a physical trainer, but as a life coach. Because, as Bert puts it, "you know everything about being a gentleman but nothing about being a man."
Even were this Odd Couple rehash amusing, you'd still wonder what sane person would think the dimwit who bullied him in high school was the ideal Sherpa into modern manhood.
The larger question is where CBS got the idea that drinking in the morning at a strip club, "dead-arming" people you haven't seen in decades and being stymied by the word "whom" are qualities that define a real man. It's a witless, offensive message, not one you'd expect to run into after The Big Bang Theory. Here's hoping the run-in doesn't last long.
A Review from The LA Times
Television review: 'How to Be a Gentleman'
In the CBS series, an etiquette columnist at a magazine meets up with a guide of sorts who is, well, a slob. Felix, meet Oscar, and welcome to 2011.
"I am one of the last of my kind," says etiquette columnist Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) at the very top of "How to Be a Gentleman," a new series from CBS, where all comedies are multi-camera comedies, as in days of old, when "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" ruled the air. "I open the door for ladies, but I am not a doorman ... I put out cigarettes, but I am not a cigarette putter-out man."
What Andrew is is a throwback, an etiquette columnist at a magazine that under new ownership is downgrading from GQ to Maxim. "They want to expand the readership by targeting people who don't read," says editor Dave Foley, who had thought briefly of resisting, "but then I remembered I'm 50. So I decided I'm actually very, very excited about the new direction."
Created by Hornsby ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), the series, which premieres Thursday, is based on John Bridges' 1998 "How to Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy" — not some comical takedown of modern manners but an actual book of etiquette. Still, the word "gentleman" itself is nowadays difficult to utter without at least a hint of irony, and to judge by the pilot, this will be more of a show about bending rules than living by them.
"You're fussy, you talk weird and you dress like a ship's captain," sister Janet, played by Mary Lynn Rajskub, tells him; it's as if he had grown up with Niles Crane as a role model. Charged with writing copy that will appeal to readers "in their mid- to late 30s acting like they're 15," he follows a series of plot points that leads him to Kevin Dillon's Bert Lansing, the old high school torturer who is about to become his friend and guide to the lower circles of modern culture and a less refined yet more active way of being.
Snob and slob, they could not be more of a Felix and Oscar were Neil Simon chained to a chair in the writers room. But that is an armature that will be reused until the sun explodes; indeed, it's the template for the network's biggest comedy, "Two and a Half Men," both in its new and classic flavors, and for its other new fall sitcom, "2 Broke Girls," as well.
I've watched the pilot possibly too many times not to notice how the parts have been glued together and the jokes teed up, but the performances are good. Hornsby's might be the least of them, but he's surrounded himself with what strikes me as a sort of alt-TV supergroup. As on "Entourage," Dillon pulls the focus toward himself; he's a cartoon but recognizably human underneath, and funny in a whole-body sort of way. At the very least, this is the show that has kept Rhys Darby, who was manager Murray on "Flight of the Conchords," on American television; as Andrew's cowed but cheerful brother-in-law, he provides the random weirdness that keeps the show from becoming too schematic. And there's that New Zealand accent:
"I love how you say words, Mike," Nancy Lenehan, as Andrew's mother, tells him. "Oh, remember the time you said 'chimichanga.'"
"We laughed." And I did, too, then.
A Review from The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
'Gentleman' mans up by dumbing down
By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / September 29, 2011
If you’re writing a thesis paper on men’s roles in American culture, don’t miss “How to Be a Gentleman.’’ The new CBS sitcom revolves around two prominent male types, the prissy gentleman obsessed with manners and the boorish Neanderthal dude’s dude (played by Kevin Dillon, who was Johnny Drama on “Entourage’’).
However, you’ll want to include the show in your paper’s historical overview, because “How to Be a Gentleman’’ is remarkably dated. Premiering tonight at 8:30 on Channel 4, it depicts masculinity in the way “The Odd Couple’’ did in the 1960s and ’70s, with the persnickety Felix and the slobby Oscar locking horns. And it will be joined by two other stubbornly simplistic sitcom takes on men in the next few weeks - Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing’’ and the bromantic “Man Up!’’ Has no one told the writers of these shows that being a dumbo who talks down to women is no longer every man’s greatest wish?
If you’re not watching “How to Be a Gentleman’’ for a master’s paper, you might want to think twice about watching it at all. While the lead-in “The Big Bang Theory’’ at 8 celebrates uniqueness, this show is all about fitting the mold. At the end of tonight’s pilot, the Oscar punches the Felix on the arm. Why? “You were being you,’’ the Oscar says to the Felix; “We’ll fix that.’’
Here’s the premise: David Hornsby from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’’ is Andrew, an etiquette columnist whose magazine is now courting a younger male audience. “They want to expand the readership by targeting people who don’t read,’’ says his editor, played by Dave Foley from “Kids in the Hall.’’ So Andrew reconnects with his high school classmate, Dillon’s Bert, a butch gym trainer who is going to school him on the ways of being more masculine. “You know everything about being a gentleman, and nothing about being a man,’’ Bert tells Andrew in a burst of supposed wisdom. So they hang out together and get into predictable fixes.
There’s a cluster of talent on the show, with Foley and Rhys Darby, who was unforgettable as Murray the agent on “Flight of the Conchords.’’ Whenever Darby is on screen, the show picks up. And Mary Lynn Rajskub, who was Chloe - a.k.a. Dammit Chloe - on “24,’’ has moments as Andrew’s callous sister. But they’re all enslaved by a script that goes exactly where you expect it to go, and unimaginatively so. Also, Dillon is exhausting, playing another version of Drama. Only now he’s a weight trainer who is a major dumbbell.
A Review from The New York Daily News
'How to Be a Gentleman' review: Kevin Dillon and David Hornsby form TV's latest odd couple
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, September 30, 2011
There's nothing to really dislike about CBS' new sitcom "How to Be a Gentleman." There's just not that much there at all.
"Gentleman," which premieres Thursday night at 8:30, cooks up TV's latest odd couple: the tightly wound, ultra-proper Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) and rough-mannered superjock Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon).
Hornsby and Dillon get every laugh out of their roles. The pool just runs a little shallow.
Andrew and Bert, we discover, knew each other in high school. Bert and some of his jock pals used to throw nerdy Andrew in the dumpster.
Sitcoms, if you hadn't noticed, are one of the last places where bullying remains a surefire laugh.
Now Andrew and Bert are in their late 20s and Bert is a veteran of the Iraqi war who has returned to run his father's gym.
Andrew writes a column for an upscale men's magazine on the lost art of being a gentleman: how to treat a lady, how to style your cufflinks, all that.
Andrew's problem is that despite his clinical understanding of how to move gracefully through the world, he doesn't. He lives in isolation, avoiding most real human interaction.
Then one day his magazine is sold to a new publisher who wants to appeal to a younger, trendier audience. When Andrew's editor breaks the news to him, Andrew says it sounds like the new editors "want to appeal to people who don't read."
His editor says great, he obviously gets it.
So Andrew prepares for the messy world of actual people. Meanwhile, his bitchy and funny sister, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), expands his psychological makeover into the physical realm by giving him a gym membership.
You can figure out the rest: He goes to the gym and reconnects with Bert, whom he had mercifully forgotten years ago.
This is also the point where the show makes its real move. Bert, it turns out, isn't just the musclehead we and Andrew presume.
He's got a whole blue-collar, workingman's philosophy - sort of like dustman Alfred P. Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," when he stuns Professor Henry Higgins with a compelling alternative view of life.
So Bert turns out to be more than we expected, or Andrew expected and that's good.
But it still doesn't feel like enough. Alfred P. Doolittle was a wonderful side drama in "My Fair Lady," not the main event.
While "Gentleman" will presumably add subplots, characters and situations, it seems clear from the premiere that the primary focus will be on Andrew and Bert and how their odd reconciliation changes their lives.
We're happy for them. Whether we want to watch them every week is less certain.
For a Website dedicated to Mary Lynn Rajskub go to http://www.marylynnrajskub.net/
For a Website dedicated to Mary Lynn Rajskub go to http://www.marylynnrajskub.org/
For a Website dedicated to Mary Lynn Rajskub go to http://themlrfanclub.com/
For a Website dedicated to Rhys Darby go to http://www.awesomenesscomedy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12&Itemid=2
To watch the intro/opening theme of How to Be a Gentleman go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jhJMraJHA0&feature=related
· Date: Sun December 18, 2011 · Views: 2666 · Filesize: 53.5kb, 137.0kb · Dimensions: 824 x 1200 ·
Keywords: How to Be Gentleman Poster