According to Jim is a situation comedy (sitcom) that first aired in 2001 on ABC and is about to start its eighth season. It was created by Tracy Newman and Jonathan Stark, who both have experience working on shows like Ellen and The Nanny. The show is a fairly typical sitcom about the daily lives of a neurotic family with no last name and a couple in-laws (bother and sister). For the most part, the comedy is light-faired and works at times. Personally, I have never been a huge fan. While watching the first season on DVD, it did not grow on me anymore.
Jim Belushi stars in According to Jim as Jim. Jim is the head of a family (whose last name is not revealed). He is an architect and owns his own business, which he runs with his brother-in-law. His wife is Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith). She is a stay-at-home mom and works hard to keep their neurotic family in check. Their kids are Gracie (Billi Bruno), Ruby (Taylor Atelian), and Kyle (Anthony & Brian Toro). Gracie is the oldest child, but still very young. Ruby is the middle child and just entering kindergarten. Kyle is a baby and offers little as a character (beyond being a baby). The other characters are Dana (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), Cheryl's single, career-oriented sister who butts heads with Jim, and Andy (Larry Joe Campbell), Cheryl's brother, who works with Jim and is also his close friend.
In season one, Jim, Cheryl, and the rest of the family go through typical sitcom ordeals, which involve lying, disobedient children, financial issues, the in-laws, responsibility, spousal disagreement, and more. For the most part, the storylines are generic to other sitcoms and there really is not a whole lot that makes the show stand out. Jim Belushi is pretty funny. His character has two main personality traits: laziness and machismo. In almost every episode, Jim tries to get out of chores, responsibilities, and makes references to eating and drinking. While neither trait is very funny, Belushi carries his character in a manner that makes the issues funny.
Beyond Belushi, the rest of the cast is average. Thorne-Smith makes for a good character across from Belushi. Her character's personality balances out Jim's faults, but of course she has her own (such as needing to have people like her). However, at times I had a hard time accepting her in a comedy role (as far as I am concerned, she will forever be Alison from Melrose Place). The other lead performers Williams-Paisley and Campbell offer little. Williams-Paisley has an aggressive character who is constantly going against Jim, which works for some of the storylines, but at the same time never feels like an important character. Even more so is Campbell, who is lacking. He plays the dumber-than-thou role, which is rarely convincing (there are a couple exceptions). Overall, I really did not care for the cast as a whole.
As for the season one episodes, there are a few that are good. However, the laughs are still pretty limited. "Bad Word" is a solid episode. Cheryl leaves the kids and one of their friends under Jim's supervision. Unfortunately, it is during a football game. At some point, he says a bad word. The girls learn the word and repeat it. As the episode goes on, Jim tries to get himself out of hot water by convincing Cheryl it was not his fault. Of course, the truth comes out in a very public venue. "Andy's Girlfriend" is also a pretty strong episode. This one was an exception to my dislike of Campbell's role. I think he did a good job here. In this episode, Jim and the family have dinner with Andy's new girlfriend, who Jim has a hard time warming up too.
Overall, According to Jim is a decent sitcom that is probably best reserved for fans of the show. I did not care much for it, but I have never been a fan. I do not mind watching an episode here or there, but an entire season too much for me. The characters offer little and the storylines are far too generic with far too few hilarious jokes in between.
1. Pilot: Mom and Dad share little Ruby's separation anxiety when she enters kindergarten.