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Come to Papa aired from June 3-24, 2004 on NBC.
Much delayed sitcom starring stand-up comic Tom Papa as a reporter for the New Jersey Daily Times . A little on the nutty side, and usually sporting a goofy grin, Tom had dreams of becoming a big-time comedy writer. Karen ( Jennifer Aspen) was his slightly off-center wife who worked at an animal hospital, Judah ( Robert Patrick Benedict) his shaggy-haired, horney best friend who lived off a meager trust fund, and Metro editor Blevin ( Steve Carell), his pompous boss. Former NBA star John Sally played a tall, angry black mailman who Tom kept fruitlessly trying to befriend. Despite little touches ( like musical stingers) that tried to make this seem like Seinfeld, it wasn't, and it expired after only 4 episodes.
A Review from Variety
Come to Papa
(Series -- NBC, Thurs. June 3, 8:30 p.m.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Comic Tom Papa plays an aspiring writer and Jennifer Aspen is his wife in NbC's long-delayed 'Come to Papa.'
Filmed in L.A. by Stan Allen Prods. in association with NBC Studios and Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Greg Malins, Andy Ackerman; producers, Tom Papa, Pamela Grant, Brian Boyle; consulting producers, Tom Gammil, Max Pross; director, Ackerman; writers, Malins, Papa;
Tom - Tom Papa
Karen - Jennifer Aspen
Blevin - Steve Carell
Judah - Robert Patrick Bendict
Mailman - John Salley
NBC has floated various excuses for delaying this long-on-the-shelf sitcom past Memorial Day, but, with apologies to "The Critic," "It stinks!" would have sufficed. Bland when it isn't annoying, it's hard to figure what motivated this show into existence other than the fact that there's a comic named Tom Papa whose last name creates a sort-of pun. About the best you can say for "Come to Papa" is that it would probably be the sixth-best sitcom on ABC.
Created by Papa and Greg Malins, the show is almost completely lacking a story. Indeed, with this kind of sitcom development last year, it's no wonder NBC retreated to four comedies come fall and tapped an unscripted show as the linchpin of its Thursday lineup.
Papa plays a newspaper grunt who wants to be a comedy writer, living in New Jersey with a wife (Jennifer Aspen) as nondescript as he is. Tom also has a wacky boss ("The Daily Show's" Steve Carell, essentially doing a modified version of his part in the new NBC series based on "The Office"), and a slacker best friend (Robert Patrick Bendict) still determined to nail the one girl he missed in high school science class.
Not to over-think things, but the pilot features Tom interviewing a local retailing legend who's lost his mojo, so Tom offers to start writing the guy's commercials for him. There might be reason to fret about how viewers will see this breach of journalistic ethics, but it's hard to imagine many hanging around that long.
The other recurring thread involves some coffee peddlers who think Tom is mildly retarded, as well as the boss's inability to get a straight black cup o' Joe -- evidently, even the characters need help keeping both eyes open.
Papa is one of those standups better left onstage, exhibiting little here in the way of acting chops. Of course, that hasn't prevented others from making the leap, but he's surrounded by such poorly delineated characters there's not much support, including former NBA player John Salley as the world's tallest mailman.
Much has been made of the networks' commitment to fresh summer programming, but so long as a significant portion of the warm-weather contingent consists of stale leftovers, it's going to be hard to swallow such pronouncements with a straight face. Then again, after "Come to Papa," even a dismissive chuckle might come as a relief.
A Review from USA TODAY
'Come to Papa': When bad sitcoms attack
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Run from Papa is more like it.
If this is what NBC meant when it promised us "year-round original programming," then please don't do us any favors. But in actuality, Come to Papa, which was announced last August for a mid-season run, doesn't represent some brave new world of summer scheduling. It's just the networks doing what they have always done: Dump mistakes into the summer, where they can't drag down the seasonal ratings average.
And believe me, if ever there was a mistake, it's this sitcom for comedian Tom Papa. You need proof? NBC has given the show the 8:30 Thursday time slot that has housed so many sitcom dogs that the network might as well just call it a kennel and be done with it.
Really, you have to sort of envy the folks at NBC comedy development, who are clearly not laboring under any great pressure to perform. My guess is, half the time they don't even bother to show up for work. If we could get them to take the other half off, the sitcom genre might actually have some shot at revival.
The show, which Papa apparently based on his own life, casts him as a New Jersey newspaper reporter who yearns to become a stand-up comic. That might upset his wife (Jennifer Aspen) if she weren't trapped in a stupid subplot involving an overly friendly mailman.
In addition to the mailman jokes, there are insults aimed at a tire salesman's unattractive daughter, jokes about Papa's best friends' attempt to bed one of their high school teachers (it's a bet, you see), and a running gag about girls who think Tom is "a little slow." The jokes are not funny, and the bulk of them bounce between tasteless and idiotic when they're not a combination of the two.
Watch Papa and the only question you'll be left with is whether the star is a worse writer or actor. Well, that and who at NBC ever thought this show would work.
And the answer to that last question is "no one, at least not anymore." Which is why Papa is coming to you in June.
Send it back.
A Review from The LA Times
Popularity lost in 'Papa'
By Carina Chocano, Times Staff Writer
June 3, 2004
The popular stand-up comedian Tom Papa has been Jerry Seinfeld's opening act for several years. He has appeared on "The Tonight Show," "The Late Show with David Letterman" and -- wait for it -- "The View." He opened for Kenny Loggins. If you ran NBC, you might have given him a show, too. And if you were Loggins, you might not mind your name being a recurring joke in the pilot episode, since, whatever, it couldn't hurt.
With a popular stand-up as its namesake and centripetal star, "Come to Papa" is a sitcom from the old school. And these days, that's kind of a brave thing to try. Created by Papa and former "Friends"-ter Greg Malins and co-executive produced by Andy Ackerman ("Frasier," "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), the show has a goofy amiability about it, but not much else.
Tom Papa plays Tom Papa, a New Jersey newspaper reporter who dreams of becoming a comedy writer. But the premise is almost incidental. Tom bounces between home, where his blond wife, Karen (Jennifer Aspen), waits on the couch ready to deliver her lines; the local coffee place, where the girls behind the counter think he's slow (he's just tired); and work, where his evil editor Blevin (Steve Carrell) treats him poorly.
In the first episode, Tom gets a job writing new TV ads for a local tire salesman named Crazy Benny. (No relation to Eddie.) Tom's friend Judah (Robert Patrick Benedict) wins a bet they made 15 years earlier when he finally sleeps with all the girls in their science class. An inhospitable postal worker, played by former Lakers and Chicago Bulls star John Salley, uses his bathroom, helps himself to his cold cuts and delivers to his wife valuable items intended for others.
I don't get it.
Hapless encounters with the service sector, middle management and government workers have long been a staple of the sitcom writers, so the situations would hardly matter if the ensemble clicked a little better.
NBC sent out only the pilot episode for review, which isn't much to go on. Glorified sales tools that they usually are, pilots are often overstuffed with exposition, as needlessly dense as a Christmas turducken. But "Come to Papa" doesn't have that problem. In fact, it just sort of floats there.
Maybe it's that Papa's laid-back, observational stand-up style loses its snap in a context as aggressively mannered as the traditional sitcom.
Jerry Seinfeld may have pulled it off, but Papa lacks Seinfeld's rabbity energy, lunatic timbre and mean streak.
Also, Papa don't act. Or maybe he's just sleepy.
For a clip from Come to Papa go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsKaFbs6698
For more on Come to Papa go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_to_Papa_(TV_series)
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406180811/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/cometopapa.html
For the Official Tom Papa Site go to http://www.tompapa.com/
For the Official Site of Jennifer Aspen go to http://www.jenniferaspen.com/
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Keywords: Come to Papa Cast