Fred Willard seemed to "get" Pierce. Why can't Chevy Chase "get" Pierce?
Because in Chevy's world, Pierce needed to be written to his specifications, meaning giving him a bunch of 1970's slapstick fall downs and fumbling around with stuff. To Chevy, this is funny. In addition, the rest of the show should have been written like the audience from the 70's was still watching.
When I saw Fred Willard, I sarted searching my memory to figure out when it was that Chase left season 4, the begining or the end. Needless to say, Willard is another older comedic actor who could have made Pierce funny and likeble while still being a "bigoted asshat".
Enjoyed the opener. One TV critic mentioned that it seemed the new showrunners may have been trying a bit too hard to keep the show as Hamonesque as possible. I kind of agreed with that thought.