By Kate Ward
July 25, 2010 at 02:00 PM EDT

Image Credit: Danny Feld/TBSFour years ago, TV audiences were introduced to Betsy Thomas’ My Boys, a new TBS sitcom set in Chicago about a female sportswriter and her merry band of brewski-loving (male) best pals. And, even back then, we knew we were watching something different. The series, filled with its awkward silences and an endless supply of baseball metaphors, was certainly off-beat — so much so that it felt off-putting to some reviewers, like EW’s former TV critic Gillian Flynn, who placed the show on her Worst of TV list back in 2006. Fast-forward two years later, and Flynn was apologizing to the show in her “A-” review: “My Boys is a comedy of good, laid-back Midwest stock: It’s smart without trying to be too darling.” And that perfectly represents the appeal of the series: Like a quirky friend, My Boys will grow on you.

Truth be told, after watching the first couple episodes of the series — starring Jordana Spiro as sportswriter PJ, and Kyle Howard, Reid Scott, Jamie Kaler, and Michael Bunin as, well, her boys (R.I.P. Jim Gaffigan’s Andy) — I was hardly converted. In fact, the only reason I stuck with My Boys was because, as a Northwestern University alum, my inner nostalgic was beaming — and remembering the sweet, sweet smell of Giordano’s — upon seeing the Chicago skyline. (Even though the series is mostly shot in L.A.) But I’m glad I did. Over the past three seasons, the show has matured into Sex and the City for the set who prefer chugging beers with pals to charging credit cards at Saks.

So if you haven’t caught the past three stellar seasons of the show, be sure to give My Boys a chance and tune into tonight’s uproarious premiere double-header. (And even as a hard-core Gaffigan fan, I can tell you his exit has only allowed the show’s other players to step up to the plate, none more than Jamie Kaler, who plays the offensively hilarious Mike.) I dare you to watch and tell me you’re not insanely jealous of PJ, a woman who has friends like Mike, the affable Bobby (Howard), puppy-dog Kenny (Bunin), and dreamy Brendo (Scott). In fact, see one episode, and you might begin to think that they are actually your boys.