There is such an intense joy that I get from going to a bowling alley. Everything there feels less than real with weird lighting, it’s overly loud, and you lose all sense of time and place after a few minutes of being in there.
Those same qualities exist in the new Pete Holmes multi-cam sitcom How We Roll, but none of it offered me the joys of an actual bowling alley. How We Roll is the gutterball of television comedies.
In the sitcom, Pete Holmes is a married guy with a kid. They live somewhere in the midwest complete with the midwestern values that comes with. He’s an everyday working joe until he is laid off from work. Unemployed, he has fallen into a spiral of zero self-worth. He’s spending his days at a private pity party. As the first episode launches, we find out that in recent days he has been doing something he has hidden from his wife. Every day he goes to the bowling alley.
Pete in the show is great at bowling, apparently. Not just impress-your-mates-who-just-paid-$19.95-for-two-games-shoe-hire-and-a-coke good. He’s legit good. National competition good. His stats are good enough that he could dominate professional games. But, dare he be emboldened enough to pursue a career as a professional bowler?
As a story, that’s actually kind of an interesting idea. A person challenged by whether to leave security behind if presented with the opportunity to actually believe in yourself. But as a sitcom… holy shit is it terrible.
Pete Holmes won over a lot of fans from his HBO show Crashing. That show was about a thinly veiled version of himself - a big doofus who chases his dreams of becoming a standup comedian. It’s mostly about him putting in the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours to get good at stand-up. There’s obviously a paralell to this show, which is about a man throwing caution to the wind to follow a professional dream - but that’s where the comparison ends. How We Roll starts with Pete being very good from the start of the show. Plus it fails to capture the spirit of humanity found in Crashing - the humour, the heartbreak, the broken dreams, and the enrichment that comes with finding success.
Nothing about How We Roll is any good. The writing stinks. The performances are terrible. The production is a turd.
The show airs on CBS in the US, but here we get it on Paramount+. If you go to Paramount+, you won’t find the show promoted on the front page. You actively have to go looking for it. Don’t do that. Instead know that Paramount+ was doing you a favour by not letting you know this exists.