To an Outsider, Brothers and Sisters is One Big Boring Family

Here at, we watch a lot of TV. A lot. Of TV. But that doesn't mean that every staff member has seen everything. In fact, up until a few hours ago, I had never seen an episode of Brothers and Sisters, so I thought I'd give ABC's ensemble drama a try—and share my outsider's observations on Sunday's episode,"The Pasadena Primary," with you.

0:06 My first impression of Brothers and Sisters? Rob Lowe with his shirt off. I think I can get used to this.
0:15 Calista Flockhart's character has cancer, right? That's still no excuse for her haircut.
1:11 She seriously looks like an old woman. Her name is Kitty. That doesn't help.
1:49 The weird organ music? What is up with that? Is it supposed to make their peppy witticisms "funny"? I don't buy it!
2:27 Okay, something interesting better happen to these people, or I'm going to fall asleep.
3:42 This reminds me of one of those cheesy Valentine's Day romantic comedy movies with a celeb-filled cast. Like He's Just Not That Into You. Or Valentine's Day.
4:05 ... and they just mentioned He's Just Not That Into You! Oh, the irony.
5:11 I kind of like Kitty. She's snappy. Not a pushover like Ally.
5:55 How is everyone related? Sarah's (Rachel Griffiths) mom is Nora (Sally Field). But her uncle is the old guy, Saul. And some other male character said "mom." The guy who's going to the reunion?
7:03 Another character? A blonde? Obvious dramatic tension with her in the foreground and a dude listening to her phone conversation in the background (out of focus, mind you)?
8:20 More meaningful music. This time, with guitars.
8:33 I rather like Robert (Lowe). He's snappy, too. Guess that's why his character is married to Kitty?
9:21 Okay, so Robert is not related to Nora. But Kitty is. How many kids did she pop out, exactly?
10:52 Really? California has a Republican senator? Let me guess. The president in this world is black, too.
11:15 Another shirtless man?
11:59 Kitty and Robert have a black kid. I'm hoping the story is more interesting than "they adopted."
14:03 Pumpkin bread pudding sounds delicious.
14:25 Rob Lowe's tan is distracting me. It's so fake.
16:05 Stacy Hodges. The woman who plays her looks way too familiar. She's a Mad Men secretary, right?
17:24 Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) is like Captain Obvious. And Captain Cliche. All rolled into one poorly-acted character!
18:09 I miss Brenda Chenoweth.
18:49 Ten bucks says that they head for the bedroom. This is too easy.
18:53 Or they could stay in the Smart Car.
19:13 Finally, good music! The B-52s never get old.
19:32 Brent Lewinsky is Roy (David Denman)! From The Office. Hah!
20:19 Oh, the twists. Brother-whose-name-I-haven't-gotten-yet was actually a tool in high school!
22:04 Kevin (Matthew Rhys). That's his name.
25:42 This is seriously the most mundane show I've ever watched. How can a senate race make for boring television? And to hell with Rob Lowe being the most underused actor on the show. I DEMAND MORE RACHEL GRIFFITHS!
28:04 Hot damn, that was an intense speech, courtesy of Kitty. Bravo.
29:58 An interesting conflict. Gay Democrat working for a Republican. I like that, I think. I might have changed my opinion of this show a little.
32:11 Okay, where is Sarah? Aren't they booking a motel room right now?
32:47 There they are. Watching Spinal Tap. I love that they're making fun of people who don't get Spinal Tap.
34:25 Prediction: The last scene will involve ALL the family members in the SAME ROOM, sharing a LAUGH and making FAMILY MEMORIES. Warm fuzzies!
35:10 Is the fat guy going to kiss the blonde? She can do so much better! Ew!
38:13 More Spinal Tap! Would I actually be friends with these people if they were real? Am I this boring, too?
39:43 "Marry me?" They weren't married before? They seemed like a married couple. Was that just a big deal? Did that just happen?
40:15 OMG! Big happy family scene! I called it.

I can't bear to see an ensemble of talented actors slog through a script as uninteresting as this one. Sure, the episode had its moments—I enjoyed the Spinal Tap bit and Kitty's speech in defense of her brother at the high school reunion—but these characters just aren't entertaining, despite the big names behind them. I simply don't enjoy observing a family of boring, semi-well-off California residents. Not one gave me a reason to invest emotionally in the show. Their jokes aren't that funny, their family isn't that dysfunctional, and their lives aren't that hard. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm never going to watch this show again.

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

Comments (3)
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Mar 17, 2011
you sir, are a fool
Feb 07, 2010
You were so unlucky in your choice of episode! This was one of the worst I've watched. Try another one. Preferably, one before Kitty was diagnosed with cancer. B & S is a good TV show, believe it or not.
Feb 02, 2010
Hahaha!!! I love the drama of B & S but not every episode is amazing. I don't watch series like that, I almost always have to watch it from the beginning because things like this tend to happen.