The most striking thing about Matt LeBlanc’s new CBS sitcom, “Man with a Plan,” is how thoroughly disposable it is.
That’s not to say it’s outright bad, just that it’s shockingly irrelevant. In a TV season that’s seen “Better Things,” “Insecure,” and “The Good Place,” among others, stretch the limits of traditional sitcoms, “Man with a Plan” stretches nothing. Aside from a few needless lewd references, it could have come out 20, 30 even 40 years ago.
Ah, but that’s called classic, and it’s no coincidence that LeBlanc’s fellow “Friends” alum, Matthew Perry, is starring in a reworked “Odd Couple” on the same network. Now that “The Good Wife” is gone, CBS is returning to the ’70s, where its mostly older audience no doubt feels comfortable.
LeBlanc, now gone gray, plays Adam, a contractor destined to take on more parenting duties as his wife, Andi (Liza Snyder), returns to work after years as a stay-at-home mom. That’s it, the whole premise. Each week Adam has to come up with ways to cope with the small indignities and disruptions that occur when you have three kids in the classic girl-boy-girl spaced about three years apart lineup. Cue the juice box jokes.
Given how lame this all is, LeBlanc is still LeBlanc and Adam could just be a grown up Joey (not that Joey wasn’t pretty grown up by the end of “Friends”). He’s not the brightest guy, but he’s sincere, and LeBlanc’s sense of comic timing is as good as ever. He does sincerely befuddled as well as sincerely befuddled has ever been done.
“Man with a Plan” just makes you wish he’d take his sincere befuddlement elsewhere, someplace that mattered. Simply put, Matt LeBlanc is too good to be this irrelevant.
Tom Long is a longtime culture critic.
‘Man with a Plan’
8:30 p.m. Mondays