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The Old Folks at Home (And in One) in Fox's 'The Cool Kids'
September 28, 2018  | By Ed Bark  | 4 comments

New vistas in semi-senility are upon us in Fox’s The Cool Kids which is set in a retirement home and somehow steers clear of a Depends joke in Friday’s premiere at 8:30 p.m. ET.

There’s ample cringe-worthy bawdiness, though, as when ringleader Hank (David Alan Grier, top) schemes to keep pushy Margaret (Vicki Lawrence, top) from replacing newly deceased Jerry at a table of four with a vacancy.

“Only a gay man can hit on a woman these days,” he reasons. “If I so much as bump into the side of a titty, I could wind up in jail for six years.”

Yes, this line is actually delivered just before the openly gay Sid (Leslie Jordan, top and right) is dispatched to drive Margaret away by seducing her. But the fourth member of this bunch, Martin Mull (top) as nonsensical Charlie, frets that if “she goes anywhere near his penis, his heart could explode.” And so on.

Paired with the return of Last Man Standing on Friday nights, The Cool Kids actually isn’t quite as bad as the above might seem. The diminutive Jordan, speaking in a deep drawl, is something of a scene-stealer, even if it’s only petty theft. And Lawrence seems to have a fairly firm handle on her boss lady character. By the end of the opening half-hour, she’s fitting right in despite blustering Hank’s ineffectual (but of course) efforts to deny her a seat at their table. One geezer has paid $11 for that privilege, but Margaret takes the air out of that tire by turning off his oxygen tank.

Fox’s traditional pursuit of younger viewers seems to have come to a screeching halt with this one. Although I guess one shouldn’t discount the possibility that droves of advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds will find it great fun to see a bunch of grandpas and grandmas figuratively wet themselves. 

In the OMG department, Jamie Farr (Jamie Who if you’re twenty- thirty- or forty-something) drops in briefly to bid for Jerry’s vacant seat. He’s 84 now, if anyone’s counting.

Older viewers relying on hearing aids might find they don’t need them whenever Grier’s character gets lathered up. He regularly communicates in a shout, and sometimes with pure gibberish if he’s really worked up.

Toward the end, Sid works in a reference to “my poor little pecker.” And he’s not even pickled. Adding to the merriment, episodes are intercut with video of everyday seniors getting spry by dancing or engaging in other forms of geriatric gymnastics.

Alas, your friendly content provider has grown old enough to reside in the Shady Meadows Retirement Community. But now that I see what that can be like, well, over my dead body.

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