Two episodes in, I have realized something interesting about the Friends spin-off Joey: despite his position as titular character and being the reason for the show’s existence, Joey is not structurally the central character of the show. Having moved out to the Hollywood area, Joey is now living near his sister, and his 18 year old nephew chooses to move out from under Mom’s gaze to live with Joey. The show really flows around the nephew, and the conflicts between mom and uncle being influences. The nephew is the character who is likely to grow and change. He may not have the screen time, but he’s the heart of the show.
The show works and is watchable. It’s not a brilliant sitcom, but it’s a watchable one, not appointment TV but it is “something on”. I’ve seen complaints that Joey is dumber than he was on Friends, but it seems to me that he’s reasonably within the range of where he was on that previous show. None of the other performers yet really glow, but they have to take the usual weeks to find where their character is going, and I suspect that the network will give them that time.