Relax. It's not what you think!
This was David Bianculli's assessment of 'Joey' in the New York Daily News, 9/16/04:
Tonight is a better test of this show's long-term legs than last week's premiere. That one had the curiosity factor, and "Friends" loyalty factor, built in. For tonight's second episode, anyone who's returning wants to do just that, so tonight's audience is a truer measure.
This viewpoint of course holds true for every show, but the stakes are even higher for 'Joey'. NBC is staking its hopes on the sitcom as its linchpin to secure their hold on Thursday nights as "Must See TV".
And judging by the second episode, I don't think it's going to work as well as they hoped; not when CBS debuts the latest 'Survivor' ('Vanuatu: Islands of Fire') with an installment entitled "They Came At Us With Spears"!
I found myself tuning away from 'Joey' far too many times in its oversized outing. That's not a good sign because I couldn't have been the only one. I ended up catching some naughty bits of a 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' sketch, and Sally Ride (portraying herself) and Charles Lindbergh (dramatized, of course) on an episode of 'Touched By An Angel'.
For this TV Universalist, that became more intriguing than Joey teaching his nephew the finer points of "How you doin'?"
In my opinion, the writers better land a steady acting gig for Joey real soon, or keep sending him on auditions - ones that we can actually watch. (Last night, Joey didn't even make it that far - he got lost on the way.)
Joey needs something to do, because if the show is just going to be about his interactions with his sister, nephew, and the next door neighbor, this show won't make it past season one. There's not much potential for the kind of inter-social dynamic that 'Friends' had; most of these characters are already boxed in by the restrictions of their relationships.
(Not that they don't try, but after his sister prompted Joey to touch her new boobs in the pilot and then last night she slept over in her son's room.... I had high hopes for Drea de Matteo in this sitcom, but her Gina is really creeping me out!)
With the next-door neighbor being married, I don't see how far they could push the boundaries between her and Joey. I'd salute them if they tried - I'm no prude! - but I'm not sure the general 8 pm audience would accept it.
I hope they're planning to bring back Jennifer Coolidge quickly as Joey's agent. Her wacked-out, over-the-top performance in the pilot was the highlight for me, and the only thing of true comedic value. They need to make her a regular!
All in all, 'Joey' will definitely be a 'give it six episodes' show for me. If it doesn't click by the end of October, Fagghedaboutit!