Bill Engvall is a stand-up comedian probably best known for his participation in the Blue Collar Comedy Tour (BCC). Engvall's stand-up routines mostly concern his observations about comments he finds stupid and shtick about everyday life. Given the success of BCC, it is no surprise that TBS gave Engvall a shot at his own series.
The premise is simple. Bill Pearson (Engvall) is a family counselor struggling to understand his own family. His wife Susan (Nancy Travis), is a stay-at-home mom determined to keep her family on the straight and narrow. The couple has three children: a teenage daughter named Lauren (Jennifer Lawrence), son Trent (Graham Patrick Martin), and their youngest child is a second son named Bryan (Skyler Gisondo). Lauren and Trent are typical teenagers pushing the boundaries and trying to get away with everything they possibly can, while Bryan is younger, precocious, and very intelligent, which seems to get him in trouble at every turn.
In the series' first episode, Trent goes from third string quarterback to the starter on his high school football team, which causes Bill to worry that his son might need a lesson on how to properly use a condom. In the same episode, Lauren wants a piercing, to which her father responds, "God gave you all the holes you're gonna ever need." After only the first episode, The Bill Engvall Show felt flat and stale. I couldn't help but feel like all of these jokes had been done before and better in previous sitcoms.
Always the trooper, I soldiered on through the first season. The second episode, "Aloha, Raffles" is one of the oldest sitcom storylines in sitcom history. The family is planning a vacation, but must rethink things after the family dog becomes sick. If that's not a classic heart tugger, I don't know what is. I would also be a bit concerned about the quality of the writing at The Bill Engvall Show if they're already ripping off old fashioned premises for show ideas.
After just three episodes it's clear that The Bill Engvall Show is uninspired and just not funny. Since this first season was only eight episodes long, I'm glad the suffering wasn't too drawn out. The plots for The Bill Engvall Show are so flimsy, a show like Home Improvement looks like comic genius. Bill wants a motorcycle for his birthday, instead he gets a moped. Susan reveals she had sex with Chris Issak when they dated in college. Bill gets jealous when Susan's muffin business is a huge hit at his office — not exactly scintillating plots.
Tim Meadows and Steve Hytner (Bania from Seinfeld) in their supporting and recurring roles are usually responsible for the brief laughs that The Bill Engvall Show elicits; however they don't save the series from being a largely unfunny and pointless experience.
The two-DVD set is presented in the standard format. The set includes a series a series overview, interviews with Bill Engvall, Tim Meadows, and Steve Hytner, a set tour, and a fan-letter answering feature with Bill Engvall.Powered by Sidelines