Wednesday, October 02, 2013
CBS Fall Pilot Review: The Millers - Premieres October 3; NBC Fall Pilot Review: Welcome to the Family - Premieres October 3
The Millers - Thursdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT
Beau Bridges as Tom Miller
Margo Martindale as Carol Miller
J.B. Smoove as Ray
Jayma Mays as Debbie
Nelson Franklin as Adam
Eve Moon as Mikayla
Nelson Franklin (Adam) is perhaps best known for his short stint on The Office as Nick, the "graphic design guy," but he previously starred in the short-lived Fox series Traffic Light (which, coincidentally, served as a replacement for Will Arnett's Running Wilde). More recently, he has appeared in a few episodes of the Fox series New Girl.
Eve Moon (Mikayla) is a child actress who makes her TV series debut in this series. She has previously had a career in commercials, appearing in spots for products including Kraft Cheese, Eggo Waffles, and Humana.
Things do not go quite as planned, however. Upon arriving in town, Carol quickly gets into an argument with Debbie over some home-decorating disagreements and Tom and Carol end up at Nathan's home, which forces him to reveal the reason why his wife isn't there. Unfortunately for Carol, the news of this divorce gives Tom the idea that maybe it is time for him to let go of his wife as well, which lands him in the home of Debbie and Adam, while Nathan is stuck with his mother... with no end in sight.
There weren't a whole lot of laugh out loud funny moments in the pilot, although there was one great moment at the end where Nathan is having a party while his mother is upstairs sleeping... or at least until she comes down in her night gown. Reminding him of his wedding, where she insisted that he do some "dirty dancing" with his bride to the song "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life," she believes that his party would be "livened up" a bit if he relives that moment in his own living room. Nathan, being the good son that he is, lets her have that moment, and it certainly gets a little weird.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, October 3 30, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.
Welcome to the Family - Thursdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT
Welcome to the Family is a new family comedy that explores the cultural clash when Junior, the son of a Latino family, and Molly, from a Caucasian family, begin dating. The plot thickens when Molly discovers that she is pregnant and Junior asks for her hand in marriage. The series follows both families dealing with their differences as they are forced to join together as a blended family.
Mary McCormack as Caroline Yoder
Ricardo Chavira as Miguel Hernandez
Justina Machado as Lisette Hernandez
Ella Rae Peck as Molly Yoder
Joey Haro as Junior Hernandez
Fabrizio Guido as Demetrio Hernandez
Mike O'Malley (Dan Yoder) is well-known for his television work, particularly his leading role on Yes, Dear and his recurring role on My Name is Earl. He can also currently be seen in a recurring role on Glee as Kurt Hummel's father. He has also guest starred on popular shows such as Justified, Parenthood, and Parks and Recreation.
Mary McCormack (Caroline Yoder) is perhaps best known for her time spent as Kate Harper on The West Wing. She also starred as Mary Shannon on the series In Plain Sight. She has also appeared in a handful of films, including Miracle on 34th Street, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and Full Frontal.
Ricardo Chavira (Miguel Hernandez) is best known for his role on Desperate Housewives as Carlos Solis, playing Eva Longoria's husband. He also has a long list of guest roles on shows such as George Lopez, 24, Six Feet Under, JAG, and NYPD Blue.
Justina Machado (Lisette Hernandez) is known for her role as Vanessa on Six Feet Under. She also starred as Sunny in the short-lived drama series Missing. Recently, she had a recurring role on Private Practice. She has guest starred in a long list of shows, including Ugly Betty, Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Body of Proof.
Ella Rae Peck (Molly Yoder) has guest starred in several shows, including Without a Trace, Law & Order, The Good Wife, and Gossip Girl. Her first starring role came this past winter on NBC's Deception.
Joey Haro (Junior Hernandez) is best known for his recurring roles on Awkward and Glee. Welcome to the Family is his first starring role in a series.
Fabrizio Guido (Demetrio Hernandez) made his big screen debut opposite Brad Pitt in the summer blockbuster World War Z. He discovered his love of acting at a young age, landing small parts in a variety of film and television projects, including several TV movies. One of his early roles was playing Drew McNeil on Grey's Anatomy.
"Pilot" (airs Thursday, October 3 at 8:30 PM ET/PT)
Dan and Caroline's daughter has just graduated high school, and they're ready to send her off to college and start focusing on themselves again. Molly's boyfriend, Junior, is graduating from his high school with top honors and has plans to go to Stanford, to the high pride of his parents. Everything seems like it is falling into place for all but unbeknownst to both of the families, Molly and Junior are about to become parents themselves. Once the teens break the big news, these two very different families are suddenly thrown together, which goes anything but smoothly.
When I first read the logline for Welcome to the Family when NBC picked it up in May, I remember groaning. Really? A sitcom about the culture clash when a Hispanic and a Caucasian family are forced to meet? We're really doing sitcoms about this? In 2013? It seemed to invite all of the worst possible stereotypes, and I immediately braced myself for yet another sitcom that gets all of its "laughs" from cheap shock humor and "satirical" racism. Because one 2 Broke Girls just isn't enough, apparently. But when I watched the pilot, I was pleased that it subverted my expectations. The cheap humor I feared was almost completely absent, and most of the characters managed to resist the easy stereotypes the show could've easily pinned them as. If absolutely nothing else, Welcome to the Family wasn't the racist mess it easily could've been.
Honestly, though...that's about the only nice thing I can say about it. It's not racist! Yay! But it's really boring, and feels kind of empty, which is strange for a show dealing with topics as potentially heavy as this one. I think it feels empty because the characters are so weak – in fact, they're hardly characters at all as much as they are stock personalities. Nothing about them feels natural – Mike O'Malley's character is an old-fashioned type, blue-collar dad, because of course he is. His wife is his level-headed and supportive companion, because that's what TV wives are supposed to be. His daughter is ditzy, and oh, she's also a raging feminist, because why not? That's a personality quirk that characters have sometimes. Why is she a feminist? Well, that would require some deep digging that Welcome to the Family doesn't seem capable of or even interested in doing. Junior and his family aren't much better – he's an Ivy Leauge-bound brainiac and his dad is a tough-minded macho man and his wife is his level-headed and supportive companion...hey, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Everything here just feels so overly calculated, from the characters to the paint-by-numbers plot even to the painfully generic "quirky!" music cues that the show places in between scenes. The only thing that isn't calculated is the jokes – because there's none of them. I didn't laugh once, and I'd struggle to identify points where I was even supposed to be laughing. The show feels a little bit like a script that was supposed to get punched up by a writers' room, but never actually made it to that stage.
True, lots of sitcom pilots have stock characters and generic plots, and most aren't very funny. But most sitcom pilots - the ones worth a damn, anyway – have at least a suggestion of a purpose, of something there beneath the surface. What makes me so unconfident that Welcome to the Family will overcome its issues and turn into anything worthwhile is the fact that it feels like there's nothing beneath its overly generic surface at all.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, January 19
The Big Bang Theory - "The Romance Calibration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Penny feels that Leonard is taking her for granted, she decides to go on a spa weekend with Amy. Also, Wolowitz and Koothrappali try to fix a squeaky floorboard in the baby’s room.
The Great Indoors - "Mason Blows Up" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack tries to reassert his dominance as a reporter after Mason scores an investigative coup that turns him into an overnight celebrity. Also, Clark’s low self-esteem causes him to give Emma relationship advice about other guys instead of asking her out himself
Mom - "Good Karma and the Big Weird" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie encourages Christy to pursue Marjorie’s charming nephew, Nick, despite the fact that he’s been declared off limits. Chris Pratt, husband of MOM star Anna Faris, guest stars as Nick, Marjorie’s nephew.
Life in Pieces - "Tailgate Spiral Souvenir Seating" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Colleen and Matt host the family tailgate party at the L.A. Rams game, they invite former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner to spice up their so far dismal event. Also, Tim’s in danger of missing the game when Sophia makes him take her to the restroom and they get sidetracked returning to their seats; Joan and Jen try to sneak into seats closer to the field; and Greg wins a chance to participate in a halftime contest involving a football toss.
The Good Place - "Mindy St. Claire" / "Michael's Gambit" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Michael (Ted Danson) faces his biggest challenge yet. Meanwhile, Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) are faced with a monumental decision.
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her friends contemplate their fates in the Good Place.
Baskets - "Freaks" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip has to decide between a tarp and snacks.
Friday, January 20
- Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.