Television

TV Critic’s Corner

Joey Mac is back, in a charming sitcom

Joey McIntyre and his family are the focus of “The Return of the Mac.”

Bonnie Osborne/CBS

Joey McIntyre and his family are the focus of “The Return of the Mac.”

New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre really likes being Actor Joey McIntyre. But will people ever take Actor Joey seriously, especially when every aging 1980s teenybopper squeals a little bit — and maybe cries a little bit, too, for their lost youth — when they catch a glimpse of the boy band icon?

“The Return of the Mac” is a new scripted sitcom about Actor Joey’s desperate need to be legit. In the series, premiering Wednesday night at 8:30 on Pop, former local guy McIntyre plays a version of himself, in the manner of Larry David on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or Matt LeBlanc on “Episodes.” (His wife, Barrett, and their three kids play his family, too.) At the start, he swears off reality TV — McIntyre was on “Dancing With the Stars,” among other reality shows — in order to pursue weightier gigs, notably a detective drama. “I want serious work,” he tells his agent.

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But the Comfy network, which targets female viewers, wants him to host a late-night show and do silly things in order to generate memes. “We want to be in the Joey McIntyre business,” one executive says flatteringly. And inevitably, that means Actor Joey will need to continue to struggle for legitimacy as the story develops.

I like this fluffy little show, which features guest visits from January Jones and the other Joey, Joey’s nemesis Joey Lawrence, who is a total creep. In funny scenes in both of the two episodes I watched, Joey calls New Kid pal Donnie Wahlberg for advice, and we see Wahlberg sitting on his bed involved in deep trivialities with wife Jenny McCarthy. The show isn’t quite comic gold; it’s just an entertaining, light goof on Hollywood, ego, fame, fandom, and McIntyre himself, who has a good attitude about all the goofing, as well as some good comic timing.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.
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