By Darren Franich
Updated July 30, 2020 at 05:00 PM EDT
Credit: Bill Matlock/Fox

Image Credit: Bill Matlock/FoxFox clearly has some high-ish hopes for The Good Guys, their new action-comedy cop spoof. It’s debuting in the summer, which is still kind of a dead period for broadcast scripted programming, but they’ve already given it a slot in their fall schedule. (Admittedly, they’ve put it on Friday, aka “the Timeslot of Doom.” And it didn’t so well in the ratings last night.) The network aired a preview episode last night before the Idol results show, and although The Good Guys isn’t perfect, there are three things that have convinced me to stick with it:

1. The Mustache

Bradley Whitford is a revelation as boozing loser cop Dan Stark, a role that’s 180 degrees away from The West Wing‘s Josh Lyman. Overweight, with the slurry swagger and the vacant stare of a man who pours beer into his coffee cup, Stark’s basically Sipowicz without the tragic subtext. The genius of Whitford’s performance starts with his mustache, which is gorgeous in its grungy awfulness.

2. The Mustache

Whitford’s porno-‘stache is the most visible example of the show’s very particular ’70s-era tone. The show’s color scheme tends toward leisure-suit brown, and the soundtrack is packed full of retro-rock. On a deeper level, the show is an explicit move backwards from the CSI brand of serious, scientific crime-solving. That’s a good thing: it’s a kick to see a cop show where nobody wears a lab coat.

3. The Mustache

The great thing about a mustache is that it can be ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Right now, The Good Guys is a compilation of very different tones. Stark and his straitlaced partner Bailey (played by Colin Hanks) work in the Property Theft division of the police force, which means lots of dull work like chasing down stolen humidifiers. That indicates a kind of cop version of Parks and Recreation. But the show also wants to have some action: the first episode had its fair share of gunfights and car chases, which mostly dragged.

Still, Parks and Recreation didn’t start off perfectly either, and there was enough funny stuff in The Good Guys to make me take a second look. (Best moment: a burglar slipping into a house at night, looking at the TV set and mumbling, “Not even a flat screen!”)

Did you watch The Good Guys, PopWatchers? Which cameo surprised you more: Mikhail from Lost, or Nia Vardalos?