HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN “Pilot” Season 1, Episode 1 – I had rather low expectations for the How to Be a Gentleman pilot. Most of the buzz I had heard before the show aired tonight was that How to Be a Gentleman was not worthy of a regular spot on the DVR. After watching, I can kind of understand where those opinions come from, but I’m not quite ready to dismiss it just yet.

Andrew is a man who is obsessed with propriety and longs for a society that embraces a gentlemanly code of conduct. Unfortunately, I have no idea why he feels that way. There was no real explanation for why he became an advocate of the gentleman from as early as his high school years. His mother and sister seemed like your average middle class people so meeting them actually muddled my perception of his character. Up until that point, I imagined that he must have been raised in a home that valued gentlemanly conduct, but he’s the black sheep of his family so the reason for his obsession remains a mystery.

Part of me didn’t even buy Andrew as a gentleman. Sure, he wore a suit, narrated the rules of gentlemanly behavior and wrote a regular column for Marquis magazine called “How to Be a Gentleman” but he didn’t exude any of the charm I’d imagine from an expert gentleman. Andrew was a big nervous dork and none of the confidence that I associate with a well educated, well dressed and well groomed man came across in his character.

Although the cast is strong, the writing was pretty tedious and you could see most of the punch lines coming a mile away. Because so many of the jokes in the first half of the episode were not landing, the live audience laugh track seemed really loud and awkward.

Bert irritated me at first, but by the end of the episode I actually really liked him. He was gross and greasy looking, but he’s the reason that I laughed at all during this episode. Ok, that’s not entirely true, Andrew’s “bitch slap” made me laugh out loud – for some reason men slapping each other always cracks me up.

The last half of the How to Be a Gentleman pilot showed some promise but the writing needs to be kicked up about ten notches. There’s a solid cast here but even they can’t compensate for the bad jokes in the script. They also need to show us how Andrew is more than a nerd that thinks he’s a gentleman. We know he’s not a manly man, but I don’t see him as a gentleman either.

Some great shows have had some pretty dull pilots in the past so I’m going to give How to Be a Gentleman a fair chance this season and see where it goes.