Vacation rental mined for laughs in
Your first clue that Greg Garcia’s new sitcom, The Guest Book, is intended for adults is that it debuts at 9 p.m. today on TBS. Cable shows that premiere at that relatively late hour usually try to push the envelope.
When I attended the TV Critics Association summer press tours in Beverly Hills, I’d occasionally ask if a particularly “edgy” new show was being aired too early. The network honchos always arched an eyebrow and replied, “Oh, not at all. Small children will be in bed at 10 p.m.”
When reminded that there is a fairly large chunk of the country not on either coast, the suits were always taken aback. To them, it’s always bicoastal time — New York or Los Angeles. The rest of us are in “flyover” country.
The Guest Book is rated TV-MA (“may be unsuitable for children under 17”) and earned that rating for adult language and sexual situations. Make sure the small fry are back in their room watching Bubble Guppies.
That caveat out of the way, what I’ve seen of the show so far is mildly risque or a bit off-color, not scandalous or shocking. But this is basic cable and one man’s amusing TV-MA is another man’s vulgar deal-breaker.
Creator/writer/producer Garcia has considerable cachet in Hollywood. The creator of My Name Is Earl, Raising Hope and Yes, Dear was able to round up an impressive roster of guest stars for The Guest Book, including the inimitable Emmy-winning Margo Martindale (Justified, The Americans).
The guest stars will change for each episode of the anthology-ish series, joining the core group of recurring regulars portraying the denizens of the small mountain resort town of Mount Trace.
The series centers on the adventures of the different guests who rent Froggy Cottage, the town’s log cabin vacation home. How Garcia came up with the clever concept is fascinating.
“For several years,” a TBS news release says, “Garcia has been writing fictitious stories in the guest books of various rental cabins in an effort to freak out the next renters. He has always dreamed of having these stories come to life on screen, and now they will in The Guest Book.”
TBS has ordered 10 episodes, all of which will be written by Garcia.
Among the Mount Trace regulars are Kellie Martin (Life Goes On) as police officer Kimberly Leahy, and Charlie Robinson (Night Court) as Wilfrid, the easygoing rental cottages manager. He’s assisted by his wife, Emma (Aloma Wright, Scrubs, Suits).
Carly Jibson (Hairspray) plays Vivian, the manager of a bikini bar called Chubbys.
Other town regulars include Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management) and Eddie Steeples (My Name Is Earl).
Guest stars renting the cabin include Danny Pudi (Community), Jenna Fischer (The Office), Tommy Dewey (The Mindy Project), Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black), Michaela Watkins (Casual), Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), Michael Rapaport (Sully), Kate Micucci (Raising Hope) and Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl).
Others are Stockard Channing (The Good Wife), Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead), John Ortiz (Togetherness), David Zayas (Gotham), Shannon Woodward (Westworld) and Stephnie Weir (The Comedians).
In tonight’s episode, “Story One,” it’s months after having a child and a milquetoast middle-school science teacher books Froggy Cottage in hopes of rekindling the romance with his wife. He soon finds himself in the midst of a criminal conspiracy.
Bonus: A second episode of The Guest Book follows at 9:30 p.m. today.
NFL Football. There’s something just not right about watching pro football when it’s a sauna outside, but here we go. The Dallas Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals at 7 p.m. today on NBC. It’s the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
The Cardinals, who played in the first Hall of Fame Game in 1962, return to Canton for the fifth time and the Cowboys will make their sixth appearance in the series.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, 9 p.m. today, CMT. You know we live in a great country when any little girl — with hard work, dedication and the cream of the gene pool — can grow up to be one of the “world icon” Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Welcome to Season 12 of the show, when the ladies get to join owner Jerry Jones as he’s inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“You’re our finest faces of goodwill as ambassadors for our club,” Jones tells the squad in a clip. “Wow,” one star-struck cheerleader responds.
The series takes viewers inside the tryouts to see who makes the cut. Me? I just watch the cheerleaders to admire the precision choreography.
Laura Bell Bundy is one of the small town denizens on the quirky new TBS adult sitcom