In the modern “golden age” of television, there’s no genre studios and networks have tried to dismantle more than that of the multi-cam sitcom – save for a handful of shining examples such as the One Day at a Time remake. This is why when a new one comes along that actually delivers on laughs and quality, it needs to be celebrated. And the latest example worthy of such praise is that of Fox’s Outmatched.
Created by Lon Zimmet, Outmatched follows the lives of Mike and Cay, two seemingly normal parents with four children. However, three of the four also happen to be high I.Q. geniuses that make being a parent anything but normal.
While the show’s premise sounds like that of most failed network multi-cams, Outmatched does the smart thing of never breaking the reality of its premise. The genius kids are allowed to still be kids living in 2020 and not tie-wearing “nerd” stereotypes plucked from 1984. And it’s this sense of normalcy that really serves the comedy that comes from their abnormal I.Q. that end up making life… difficult for their average I.Q. parents.
And that’s the other great thing about the show’s characterization. Mike and Cay aren’t presented as dumb. Their intelligence level is right on par with that of most of the viewers watching the show. They aren’t made lesser than for the sake of easy comedy which is also the element comedy vets Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson lean into most to make their best moments land the way they need to.
Even the pilot episode, which is typically an uphill climb for most multi-cams, contains more than enough moments to justify the show’s addition to one’s DVR slate or appointment viewing schedule. Even when it stumbles (as most pilots do), it quickly recovers with a laugh that shows off just how much promise the series is bringing to the table.
Overall, Outmatched is precisely the kind of broad-appealing, multi-cam sitcom, without becoming a cliche of itself, Fox needs on the slate right now. It may be your typical network multi-cam, but it’s the best of what the art form can offer in that corner of the television landscape. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s sweet. It’s the perfect show for the mid-week, prime-time watcher in need of a reliable comedy after a rough workday, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Outmatched premieres this Thursday at 8:30/7:30c on Fox