Review of "Welcome to the Family" on NBC From The TV MegaSite
 

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Welcome to the Family

"Welcome to the Family" review by Sundi 9/22/13
Thursdays 8:30/7:30c on NBC

I’m nursing a pretty heavy disappointment after viewing the pilot episode of NBC’s Welcome to the Family. The show is rife with limp caricatures and bland stereotypes and doesn’t deliver on the potential of its actors. I thought it would be funny and topical, and have enough moxie to stand out among the zillions of other shows featuring dysfunctional families. But it doesn’t. Its a lifeless attempt at an already too-familiar format that is at worst insensitive and tone deaf, and at best not as funny as it should be.

 

Mike O’Malley and Mary McCormack play Dan and Caroline Yoder: upper middle class suburbanites with a slacker daughter and misspent youth. Their daughter Molly, played by Ella Rae Peck, is painted with a pretty wide brush as the dumb-blonde-who-doesn’t-realize-she’s dumb. Her lines are peppered with girl-power feminism, which is highly ironic since this show is pretty traditionally constructed in terms of gender roles, specifically following the storyline that sees Molly and JR, played by Joseph Haro, abandoning their college plans to raise the baby, when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant.  

 

JR Hernandez, the valedictorian, over-achiever on his way to Stanford, quickly and without much consideration decides to stay with Molly and “do the right thing.” His over-involved, helicopter parents, Chuey and Lisette Hernandez, played by Ricardo Chivira and Justina Machado, respectively, are upset by this (justifiably so) and seem to offer the only moment of reality in the most gimmicky and unbelievable storylines this fall.

 

The gimmick takes over, and the audience is asked to suspend their disbelief at how weirdly accepting all the characters are. Am I the only one balking at teen pregnancy and college drop-outs? While the racial stereotyping is not  completely overt, and the clichés aren’t so overplayed I can’t like them, what I found most offensive about this show is its unrealized potential. They missed an opportunity to use some talented actors, and  Mike O’Malley has proven to be a clutch hitter in the past, but not even his Everyman- aw-shucks dynamic can save this show.


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Page updated 9/23/13

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