Rob Lowe's New Sitcom Stars Hollywood's Most Hilarious Sidekick: Tennis
Finally, after months of speculation, we have our answer. The effortlessly enthusiastic Chris Traeger isn't leaving Parks and Recreation just so he can go star in the upcoming comedy movie Sex Tape; Deadline reveals that our Rob Lowe has a new sitcom called The Pro. Lowe will exit Parks and Rec after the 13th episode of this, its sixth season, then will return to NBC's primetime lineup as “Big Ben” Bertrahm, a washed-up former professional doubles tennis player whose mismanagement of money has led him to work in a pro shop. Bertrahm wants nothing more than to return to the 1 percent, and his attempt to reclaim some status will certainly lead to hilarity on and off the court.
No word yet on when The Pro will hit the air, but Lowe is an executive producer, and comedians Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory (The Larry Sanders Show, Frasier) are signed up to co-star, as well.
But the most hilarious, most important, most awesome co-star on The Pro isn't an actor, it's tennis itself. The sport is comedy gold. It's ridiculous for all the right reasons: short shorts, balls flying at your face, country club drama, clay, sweatbands, ball boys, grass, scores that involve both "love" and "deuce"... come on, folks. There's nothing funnier than tennis.
But Lowe's not the first to pick up on the inherent gaiety in the old-school lawn game. Tennis has been the comedic star in many a sitcom prior to The Pro. Do I need to remind you of the amazingness that was the Judith Light sitcom in the early '90s called Phenom? That show, which was inexplicably on for only one season, centered around a 15-year-old tennis star and her uproariously hilarious couch, Lou, played by William Devane. Phenom came on after Full House in 1993 and yeah, some 20 years later, I'm still upset it didn't get picked up for a second season.
Esoteric yet amazing tennis sitcoms aside, the sport's had memorable guest starring roles, as well. I think we all remember Milos from Seinfeld, right? That episode easily ranks among some of the show's best. Tennis also made an appearance on Will & Grace, and who can forget the Friends episode when Monica's competitiveness on the court nearly causes Chandler to lose his job?
Tom Haverford on Parks and Rec has a boner for tennis, the guys from The Office are all about tennis grunting, 30 Rock poked fun at "Tennis Night in America", Saturday Night Live enlisted host Jonah Hill to take some tennis balls to the testicles, hell, Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco thinks tennis is so awesome that she's marrying Ryan Sweeting.
Tennis has also showed up to bring humor, and tight tops and mini skirts, to such classic American reality franchises as the Real Housewives of New York and Beverly Hills, as well as Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
And with movies like Wimbledon, Match Point, and Nobody's Perfect (starring other Lowe, Chad), tennis continues to be a subject Hollywood can't help but explore.
The ball and racquet sport has been busy bringing us laughs for decades, guys. Decades. And before it started appearing on sitcoms and in movies, real-life stars Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe where entertaining viewers back in the '70s with their vitriolic insults and hilarious haircuts.
It's high time tennis return, once again, to the scripted spotlight. As a lover of the sport myself — I was fourth on the singles ladder of five in high school, what, what! — and as lover of laughter, there's no better time than now for The Pro with Rob Lowe. Add to that the fact that this will be a single-camera comedy, and game, set, match — this show will be one to look out for.