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Jim Gaffigan Succeeds by Giving the Networks the Finger

By Lord Castleton | TV | July 15, 2015 |

By Lord Castleton | TV | July 15, 2015 |

The Jim Gaffigan Show premiered Monday on TV Land, which is about the most damning thing you can say about it. TV Land has historically been the place where you can see reruns of your favorite episode of Bonanza or Gilligan’s Island. But the new and improved TV Land is a place that quietly but definitively pulled The Dukes of Hazzard from their schedule after the recent stars and bars fallout. And they’ve decided to get into the original content game, thankfully, because that’s where Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie landed.


If you don’t know Jim Gaffigan, he’s a comedian who lives in New York, but comes at everything from a Midwestern perspective. He’s been around forever, but never really found his true comedy voice until he partnered up with his wife Jeannie. I’m not going to say she’s the brains of the operation, but she’s definitely the rudder of the Gaffigan vessel. Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan are a true modern partnership, and it’s kind of wonderful to watch. I love seeing a family that’s shoulder to shoulder in every battle and these are truly lovely people.

And the reason they ended up on TV land is a great one: They wanted to run their own show and the major networks wouldn’t let them do it. So they said fuck you and found a place that would. TV Land. I love that. Their pilot was originally shot for CBS, who then maddeningly tried to force a move from a one camera to a four camera show. It’s not what the Gaffigans wanted, and not something they themselves would watch.

So Team Gaffigan ended up at TV Land, with a show that’s basically a rough approximation of their actual life in the Big Apple. Here’s a piece from Jim’s recent stand up that generally captures the tone of the show.

Jeannie serves as the Executive Producer and basically runs the ship of state. She’s played on screen by a lovely and charming Ashley Williams (the sister of Kimberley Williams-Paisley) who really warms the show with her girl-next-door likability.


The Jim Gaffigan Show isn’t breaking new ground. It’s sweet, like a little brother that you want to root for. It’s more or less doing the same thing you expect a family sitcom to do, with all of the family gender roles soundly adhering to the sitcom bible. A put-upon size two wife manages a gaggle of children and all the dynamics of a family with amazing hair and a knowing smile while the dipshit father/additional man-child fucks everything up. I don’t love that premise, in general, but man, I really enjoy Jim Gaffigan and I want to see him and his wife succeed in the face of network intractability.

The pilot episode features some fun cameos, from Adam Goldberg, who just had a fun/borderline insane twitter war with, erm…Adam Goldberg, a fun turn from Janeane Garofalo as an uber progressive elementary school teacher




… and from Michael Ian Black, who plays Jeannie’s gay ex-boyfriend. I found myself really looking forward to more of this odd couple dynamic.






Future episodes are rumored to include Chris Rock, Hannibal Buress, Dave Attell and Joe Scarborough.

They’re not splitting the atom, but they don’t have to, frankly. The Jim Gaffigan Show is designed for people like me who seem to have Paw Patrol running as background noise on a fairly constant basis.


It’s a wink and a nod show to parents and New Yorkers alike, and it’s good clean fun. It’s the perfect show to fill the corners of your DVR for some light, enjoyable comedy, and you can support one of the truly good-guy husband/wife teams in show business and give the finger to the creative dead zone of the major networks all at once.

Sounds like a win win win to me.

I’ll send you out with a fun and dumb little Colts tryout Gaffigan did last season. It’s here mostly just to make Dustin miss David Letterman more than he already does, build up his hopes that this is the Colts’ year, and appease the eleven saintly Pajibans who actually read my football articles.

You can watch The Jim Gaffigan Show Mondays on TV Land, or catch it for free on Amazon & VUDU & Hulu Plus, or the Google Play store for 1.99/episode.

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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.