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Four Kings aired from January until March 2006 on NBC.
Struggling young magazine writer Ben ( Josh Cooke) had just inherited a sprawling Manhattan apartment from his late grandmother, and when forced to choose who to invite to live with him -his clingy girlfriend, Jen , or his three best buds-well, in the sensitive words of one of them, it was " bros before hos." " The Four Kings of New York, " as grandma had dubbed them , were life-long friends.Jason ( Todd Grinnell) was an up-and-coming junior executive at a developmental company, Barry ( Seth Green) the much put-upon runt who was constantly the butt of practical jokes ( It isn't fair!"), and Bobby ( Shane McRae) the big, lanky, Ashton Kutcher-type doofus who was dumb sometimes and cagey at others. Stories were about their dating misadventures, and odd-jobber Barry's perpetual anger at everybody else's good fortune.
A Review from Variety
(Series -- NBC, Thu. Jan. 5, 8:30 p.m.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Filmed in L.A. by KoMut Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, David Kohan, Max Mutchnick; producer, Tim Kaiser; director, James Burrows; writers, Kohan, Mutchnick;
Barry - Seth Green
Ben - Josh Cooke
Jason - Todd Grinnell
Bobby - Shane McRae
"Bros before hos" is the rallying cry of the four young white dudes in this paper-thin comedy, which doesn't mean that women (or "hos," if you prefer) won't occupy a considerable portion of their time. The creators of "Will & Grace" have given us another high-strung (if decidedly straight) comedy quartet, again prone to bickering and goofy behavior that relies mostly on manic energy to bludgeon the audience senseless. Credit NBC with trying to reassemble its Thursday comedy block, but the net has dealt itself an uninspired joker when it could desperately use an ace.
Charming, easygoing Ben ("Committed's" Josh Cooke) inherits a sprawling Manhattan apartment from his late grandmother, which at least for once explains how NBC's sitcom 20-somethings can occupy such opulent real estate. How many grandparents had to die, lord, just to furnish all those apartments on "Friends?"
Despite a near-perfect girlfriend, Ben chooses to share the new digs with his lifelong buddies: Barry (Seth Green), who constantly resents Ben's good fortune; Jason (Todd Grinnell), a wry, up-and-coming exec; and Bobby (Shane McRae), a half-baked stoner who's only slightly smarter than a table leg.
Accepting that this unlikely foursome should be such committed pals is one of the sacrifices viewers are expected to make in their pursuit of comedy, but there's a decidedly retro feel to the group's shenanigans. Indeed, Jason and Bobby's inane, childlike competitions (which include pummeling each other) recall Drew Carey's doofus buddies on his eponymous sitcom, though they were both older and considerably funnier.
The bitter Barry, meanwhile, is dating an older woman with twin daughters who constantly tease him about his height. In subsequent half-hours, Ben, a magazine writer, tries to master the art of the one-night stand and endeavors to fix up Barry, who refuses to believe his attractive date isn't a ruse to humiliate him.
Given how familiar the premise is, the show's modest appeal hinges entirely on the cast's marginal chemistry and the rapid-fire jokes, making for at best a hit-miss proposition. As is, the series already feels slightly pigeonholed into its Ben-Barry and Bobby-Jason pairings, creating parallel versions of "The Odd Couple" and "Dumb and Dumber."
"Let's do this while we still can," Ben says of the guys living together, the thought being that the opportunity represents a last hurrah before marriages and other responsibilities begin to intrude on such carefree tomfoolery.
"Four Kings" isn't a total dud, and as with "Will & Grace," its unrelenting silliness occasionally catches you off guard; nevertheless, it's the kind of nondescript half-hour that won't do much to re-establish NBC's "Must-See" credentials.
Granted, NBC has to start somewhere in trying to reclaim what's been lost and resurrecting its comedy four-stack, but the foundation won't hold for long built on a house of cards.
A Review from USA TODAY
'Four Kings': Subpar sitcom plays the hand it's given
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Not all traditions are worth maintaining.
On the plus side, NBC revives one of its best traditions: the four-comedy, reality-free Thursday block that viewers counted on for 20 years.
Unfortunately, the network has also fallen back on one of its worst traditions: filling the off-hours with subpar shows from producers of their hits. That bad habit gave us such gems as Veronica's Closet and Good Morning, Miami. And it now brings us Four Kings, which, like Miami, is an inferior product from Will & Grace producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.
With Kings, the producers follow their sitcom pattern, stressing jokes over character and nonsense over common sense. On Will, that often leads to unexpected twists and big laughs, but a show with that approach needs to be very funny very often, because it can't fall back upon our fondness for the characters. And it doesn't hurt to have four stars who can push the material along when it falters.
Let's just say Kings is not as lucky in either its writing or its casting.
The premise is a stretch, even for sitcoms. The titular kings are four guys who have been so close since grade school they've never spent a birthday apart. So like all super-close friends, they decide to share a fabulous New York apartment, which admittedly will simplify all that birthday party planning.
The apartment belongs to Ben (Josh Cooke), who inherited it from his grandmother. He decides to fill his new home with friends: Barry (Seth Green), who is bitter, neurotic and jealous of Ben's perfect life; Jason (Todd Grinnell), who used to be fat and may someday be gay; and Bobby (Shane McRae), who is the resident underachieving dope.
In short, it's a good thing they've been friends since childhood, because nothing in their personalities would lead you to believe they'd even be civil to each other if they met as adults. That's a problem for a sitcom about friendship.
Green is a highly skilled and incredibly distinctive comic actor, and Cooke is likable as the laid-back lead. But the problem is that Green's character is right: Everything is "all about Ben," and that focus isn't supportable. If the show is going to work, the characters around Ben have to be more than one-note jokes trapped in the middle of silly, contrived stories.
We can only hope that Kohan and Mutchnick have another show in them to match Will. But we haven't seen it yet, and it's possible we never will. That, I'm sorry to say, is another TV tradition.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
C+By Gillian Flynn
You can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting a show about Manhattan men and their soul-mate hunts. There's ABC's Jake in Progress, CBS' Love Monkey and How I Met Your Mother, and now, from the creators of Will & Grace, NBC's Four Kings — a not unwelcome addition to the genre, but not that essential, either. The Four Kings in question are childhood friends united under one roof when golden boy Ben (Josh Cooke) inherits a fabulous apartment from his late grandmother.
This being TV, each of the guys is a very specific (read: stock) type. Jason (Todd Grinnell) is a marathon-running go-getter; Bobby (Shane McRae) is the cute, dumb Joey stand-in; and Barry (Seth Green) is a diminutive, bitter wiseass, dubbed ''Three Feet of Angry.'' Green, who stole all of his scenes in the Austin Powers franchise as Dr. Evil's son, is an energetic, likable actor (he and Bradley Cooper, star of the now kaput Kitchen Confidential, should team up — those two could play believable friends). Here, Green does what he can — sharp line deliveries, perfect reacts — amidst sometimes funny, often predictable dialogue. The laugh track is omnipresent, all the more intrusive during an episode set in one of TV's least believable nightclubs — an incredibly quiet place where extras sit down silently next to the stars, wait for them to say their jokes, and silently walk away again. (At least How I Met's nightclub episode got a laugh by making the place so loud, each character's dialogue was subtitled.)
Four Kings has occasional flashes of naturalness, moments when you actually get the feel of four best friends living together — like when they engage in a goofy game called ''Chest!'' that involves surprise-punching each other anytime, anyplace, be it in the shower, on the couch, or during a meeting. Kings should aim for more of that looseness. A bunch of man-boys in a box should be, you know, fun.
For a Website dedicated to The Four Kings go to http://web.archive.org/web/20071006100048/http://www.fourkings-tv.com/
For the Official Seth Green Website go to http://www.sethgreenonline.com/
· Date: Sat April 8, 2017 · Filesize: 71.2kb · Dimensions: 450 x 591 ·
Keywords: Seth Green, Shane McRae, Josh Cooke, Todd Grinnell