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Great Introduction to the Comic Genius that is Steve Harvey
As of the date of this review, it has been almost fourteen years since "Me & The Boys" premiered on ABC. I'm sure not as many people remember the show as I do, but I thought it was great. It's probably up there with "Freaks and Geeks", "Arrested Development", and "The State" as a TV show that was too great to be canceled as early as it was. Unfortunately, "Me and the Boys" did not develop the same cult fanfare as the shows listed above. I do hope, however, that a station like BET picks up the reruns someday and airs them to a new generation. After all, if it wasn't for BET, I probably would have never seen an episode of "Amen" or "Good News".
In this sitcom, Steve Harvey plays Steve Tower, a widowed video store owner who is raising three sons with the help of his live-in mother-in-law, played brilliantly by Madge Sinclair. Of course, the premise of this family sitcom sounds very similar to other sitcoms aired by ABC around that time, but Steve Harvey's hilarious wit made this show, in my opinion, stand out among the really cheesy sitcoms such as "Step By Step" and "Full House".
Steve Harvey's quick one-liners alone made this show worth watching, and that's relatively unusual for someone in the father role on a family comedy. At the same time, Harvey played someone who was believable. For instance, he actually played someone who had a visible means of income, and didn't live in a house that was beyond that means. And the show didn't fall victim to the cliché premise of Harvey constantly butting heads with his mother-in-law. The fact that the two had mutual respect for one another while managing to play well off each other comically really says something about how well this comedy was.
I remember ABC taking on a number of black (or African-American) sitcoms in the 90's to duplicate the initial success of "Family Matters". Many of them failed to see a Season 2, although there were good ones which had potential (i.e. "Where I Live" (1993), "On Our Own" (1994)) and utterly terrible ones doomed for failure from the start (i.e. "George" (1994) starring George Foreman). "Me and the Boys" was one of those shows that really could have lasted four more years. According to some sources, it actually made the Nielsen's Top Ten at one point in its run, and I know it had somewhat of a following during that time as well. I remember classmates of mine repeating some of his quotes on the show during breaks between classes.
So although this sitcom has been somewhat forgotten, Steve Harvey fortunately has not been. He has found fame again with another more successful sitcom, "The Steve Harvey Show", and his stint in the Kings of Comedy tour put on film by Spike Lee solidified his place in comedy's hall of fame (figuratively speaking, since I don't know if there actually is a hall of fame. There should be, though). I know that someday, this sitcom (all 13 episodes or so) will get the recognition it deserves, whether though discarded reruns on cable TV or on a possible DVD release. I just hope either way I'm not the only one who remembers how good this sitcom was.
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