With a lovable vibe and a great cast, this sitcom scores surprisingly often for a show with a gimmicky premise. Liberated from just making people laugh on SNL, Kenan Thompson is alternatively sweet and tart as a single dad struggling to raise his daughters and keep his morning TV career afloat after the death of his wife. He plays both emotion and mockery adeptly; viewers will quickly get to like him and, even more, enjoy the camaraderie between Thompson's Kenan Williams, the twin sisters who play his sweetly cheeky daughters, Chris Redd as Williams' feckless brother Gary, and Don Johnson as Grandpa Rick, obviously on old pro on TV comedies, and here acquitting himself like one.
On the other hand, Kenan doesn't go anywhere unexpected: Kenan, Rick, and Gary spend a lot of their time ribbing each other, and Birdie and Aubrey are wise beyond their years. Mature, too, as they urge their dad in the pilot to start putting himself out there romantically, prospecting on an unnamed dating app for potential new stepmom material. Viewers will easily be able to envision the kind of complications that will arise on Kenan: dates, trouble at school, and foibles at the workplace, since Kenan's morning show is the setting for roughly half of Kenan. But Kenan is still as comforting and as easy to ingest as a warm bowl of oatmeal -- a reliable pleasure, if not a shock to the senses.