Pretty much everyone gets along on the sitcom inspired by professional bowler Tom Smallwood, says Angie Han. "In some ways, the relentless pleasantness works against the show," says Han. "How We Roll is almost insistently lacking in any kind of edginess, which means there’s also not much about it to separate it from the seemingly endless array of comedy options airing right now." Han adds: "At the same time, How We Roll‘s total lack of interest in controversy or commentary makes it easy to watch, maybe even soothing. With an experienced team behind the scenes — creator Mark Gross’ credits include Mike & Molly and Man with a Plan, and director Mark Cendrowski is known for directing most of The Big Bang Theory — the series feels as polished and familiar as one of the blond wood lanes in Archie’s bowling alley."
How We Roll lacks any sense of Pete Holmes' voice or his wit: "Indeed," says Daniel D'Addario. "How We Roll, based on the life of the professional bowler Tom Smallwood, can feel at times like a satirical device from Crashing, a sitcom Holmes’ character might have tried to appear on only to learn a valuable lesson from not booking it. In our reality, though, How We Roll simply adds up to a waste of a lot of very talented people’s energy."
How We Roll breaks no new ground, and that's just fine: "There’s still room these days for a pleasant, mildly amusing, occasionally touching 22-minute sitcom that’s pure comfort viewing, in the mode of The King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond," says Richard Roeper, adding: "We’ve got all the classic, multi-cam situation comedy ingredients here."
Pete Holmes recalls Nick Kroll telling him 15 years ago, "you would be perfect for a CBS sitcom": “He might have been making fun of me with my Crest toothpaste face,” says Holmes in a New York Times profile. As The Times' Stuart Miller adds: "But Kroll had a point: Holmes had attended a Christian college and had considered becoming a youth pastor before veering into stand-up, where he stands out for his effervescence and relatively wholesome persona. (On a recent video call, his name showed up as 'Petey Pants,' which might sound dirty coming from another comic but here sounded like an old-timey Saturday morning cartoon character.)"
Holmes on doing a CBS sitcom after starring on HBO's Crashing: "You don’t want to wear more than one hat. Wear one hat," he says. "Crashing was certainly like a baby to me, to be involved in every decision, every cut, every song, everything like that. It’s a great privilege to be given that much influence over your own project. But Conan O’Brien likened doing a show that revolves around your life, your personality, to putting your bone marrow in a wood chipper. And again, it’s a privileged thing to be asked to put your bone marrow in that wood chipper — but there was a little bit of a hesitancy to do (something like that) again. Then this script came through. Doing a multi-cam just felt like the opposite of a quarantine. It’s like putting on a talent show at summer camp with your friends. There’s a real social element to it."