[TV Review] $#*! My Dad Says Pilot Episode


Like 1,724,133 other people, we here at the Everyview Network became avid followers of Shit My Dad Says, a Twitter account started by a writer named Justin Halpern, documenting hilarious observations made by his cranky and politically incorrect father Sam. The ramblings on an angry, yet noticeably intelligent old man made for a genuinely gut-busting read.

Well, the phenomenon became so widespread, it lead to a book, and now a television show on CBS with William Shatner as the cantankerous father, renamed Ed Goodson. If you’re anything like me, you’d be worried that such an explosively funny entity would have its balls ripped right off when placed on a major network and the end result would be a lame waste of time.

You’d be right.

Plot Outline:

After being laid off, a magazine writer named Henry (Jonathan Sadowski) seeks comfort, as well as a financial loan from his curmudgeon father (Shatner), with whom he’s had a tumultuous relationship with. After much arguing, the two realize that maybe it’s time they tried something new… getting along (lameness very much intended).


My first problem with the show is its choice of distributor. Why take something that is just a boat load of profane fun and stick it on a network which is forced to advertise it as “Bleep” My Dad Says? That’s not to say network TV can’t produce smart, edgy comedy, but we’ve already gotten used to a certain brand of comedy here, which obviously isn’t going to fly on CBS.

But that isn’t the biggest problem with $#*! My Dad Says by a long shot. The biggest problem is that pilot episode just flat-out sucked.

For starters, I didn’t like Sandowski’s portrayal of Henry at all. He seemed obnoxiously petulant to the point I hoped to see his father boot him out on his ass.

Also, despite its profane title, the show didn’t seem to make any attempt to break from tired sitcom style humor. Every joke was telegraphed from a mile away with the audience laugh track right on cue to yuck up the hi jinks. Even when trace elements of the real life inspiration tried to peek through (a story about him telling his eight-year-old son a poem he wrote was “an affront to the English language”) got suffocated by the lame setup.

Lastly, and most importantly, I just didn’t buy Shatner as the dad. Not only did he fall way short of the online musings of Sam Halpern, but he didn’t even approach the sitcom level of Peter Boyle’s cranky Frank Barone.

While I would hardly consider Everybody Loves Raymond to be a landmark comedy, Boyle knew how to take an elderly grouch and infuse him with at least a shred of reality, so as to create the illusion we were watching real people. There wasn’t a second of this show that didn’t feel totally contrived, and worse, there wasn’t one joke I found to be genuinely funny.

It would be easy to put the blame on Justin Halpern, for after all, he wasn’t responsible for the hilarious content of Shit My Dad Says, as he just recorded it. I don’t want to do that though as I suspect he’s probably a pretty talented guy (I have yet to read the aforementioned Shit My Dad Says book but I’ve heard mostly good things).

I prefer to think of him as an Andy Millman type, working forever to create something he can be proud of, only to have it monopolized when too many people (four people were given “created by” credits) get involved and rob it of its integrity.

Side note: For anyone who doesn’t get the Andy Millman reference, it’s from a British comedy called Extras. If you haven’t watched it, you should. It’s brilliant.

Final Words:

Aside from the fact that it was just hilarious, what made the Twitter account so great was that it was the real, unfiltered thoughts of a very funny and intelligent person. By contrast, this televised version of Shit (interpret that however you see fit) tossed any idea of reality out the window when it had Shatner running to get a shotgun to chase away girl scouts.

While most of my favorite comedy shows (Simpsons, Seinfeld, Beavis and Butthead, etc.) weren’t great right out of the gate, they at least showed something that hinted better things were to come. The best thing I gauged from the Pilot of $#*! My Dad Says is that it would likely be cancelled quickly, so those of us who followed the hilarious tweets so passionately could quickly forget this abomination ever hit the airwaves.

Final Score: 2.5/10

8 thoughts on “[TV Review] $#*! My Dad Says Pilot Episode

  1. I would love to hear trey parker read the plot outline in his rob schneider movie trailer voice.

    If its not a priceline negotiator commercial i really dont want to see shatner in it

  2. There aren’t many things that wouldn’t be funny in Trey Parker’s Rob Schneider movie trailer voice.

  3. “Hilarious observations?”

    “Explosively funny entity?”

    “Twitter account so great was that it was the real, unfiltered thoughts of a very funny and intelligent person?”

    What else do you find funny, dude? Actuarial tables?

    @ShitMyDadSays is a fluke of momentous proportions. A totally unfunny, uncreative, unoriginal premise which somehow became a hit through the twin miracles of Promotion and Acceptance. The formula is as old as Regis Philbin: Take one stock character (the old person who says supposedly surprising, unpredictable things), pepper it with four letter words to make it seem outrageous, and con people into thinking it’s somehow funny and meaningful.

    100 and some “tweets” spaced weeks apart, ranging from marginally funny to pathetically lame, earns someone a TV show? No wonder it stinks; the writers were given NOTHING to work with.

    Maybe you should talk to some of the talented writers with credits from “MASH,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” and other shows who can’t find work in LA these days (I am not one, but know several) and see what they think of “Shit,” in both its Twitter and TV forms.

  4. Yeah, yeah you’re an ever-so important foot soldier in the battle to reclaim artistic integrity. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the dozens upon dozens of unemployed writers you are so chummy with would probably ask you to set your revolutionary sights a bit higher than Everyview.
    Anyway, I stand behind everything I wrote 100%. While the Twitter version of Shit may lack the droll integrity of a top flight actuarial tables-themed zinger, it was still funny and entertaining and will remain so despite this abomination of a TV show.

  5. I agree. This show sucks. I wanted to like it because I love Shatner. I’ll watch another ep but I don’t have high hopes

  6. I am going to be very blunt. Perry Block, you’re a whiney bitch. I very much enjoyed the book and twitter page because it brought back a lot of memories of my grandfather and his way with words. The reason Shit My Dad Says is such a hit is because so many people can relate to those obnoxious comments and remarks. The humor is not in the comments being extremely funny at all.

    That being said, I completely agree with Casual Clay, the pilot really did not do the twitter or book justice. I really do not care for the cast members of MAD TV, and William Shatner is only good when commanding the Enterprise.

  7. “…it was still funny and entertaining and will remain so despite this abomination of a TV show.”

    I agree, CCC, this was a colossal waste of an amusing phenomenon. It’s hard to believe that this show could have made it to fruition with no one realizing along the way that they were responsible for creating such a turd. I would be embarrassed were it me.

    I don’t tweet or twitter but borrowed the book and had a few chuckles. While I was reading the book I was aware of the TV show’s development and thought at the time, “This is going to suck.” I was flabbergasted by how much I underestimated its suckiness.


    I’m not even sure what your point is. Are you mad some lucky kid cashed in while your friends are unemployed or offended that the reviewer agreed with you? Your enthusiasm could surely be used in a more constructive way–maybe you can start a twitter feed! Your joke, while not a gutbuster, was funnier than anything on this awful TV show!

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