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NBC (ended 2013)

Welcome to the Family S01E01: "Pilot"

Did you know that storylines involving teenage pregnancies are at least 85 percent annoying 100 percent of the time? Did you also know storylines involving teens getting married because they got pregnant fail 95 percent of the time? Yeah, you're right, those statistics are obviously made up, but that doesn't make them any less true. NBC's new comedy Welcome to the Family attempts to make its viewers believe it's telling a new story, but really, the series is just an amalgam of several familiar plots with Mike O'Malley's face on it.

I mean, if Welcome to the Family was a math equation, here's what it would look like:

(Dumb Overprivileged Female + Smart, Hardworking, Underprivileged Male - Sex Education) + Teenage Pregnancy + Teenage Marriage / (Cultural Differences + Warring Fathers) - Humor = Pilot

Okay, so I was never very good at math. WHATEVER. But it's easy to see that Welcome to the Family is pretty damn dull. Competition on TV is fiercer than ever right now, and it really makes you wonder what last development season's rejected pilots were like. Because even though Welcome to the Family isn't offensively bad, it is offensively boring, and to me, that's even worse.  

Mike O'Malley and Mark McCormack star as the parents of Molly (Gossip Girl's Ella Rae Peck), an irresponsible young gal who barely graduated high school. They can't wait for her to leave for college so they can have their lives back, apparently so they can have a lot of sex and start working out. They make a ton of jokes at their daughter's expense, and while parents being horrible can be funny, they're often more mean than they are funny. In fact, they kind of make you feel bad for their daughter. I'm not saying this is a nature-versus-nurture situation, but if you want your daughter to make it through high school without getting pregnant, maybe don't treat her like a complete idiot, even if she is one.


But not knowing whether she's a complete idiot is part of the Welcome to the Family's problem. Molly is a stereotypical dumb blonde, but the show can't seem to decide whether she's a complete airhead or just bad at the book learnin'. She's forgetful and often mixes up her words (please don't let that being a running joke; it wasn't even funny the first time), but after presenting her as a total dummy for 90 percent of the pilot, the show turned around and had her skip getting on roller coaster because she's stupid but not pregnant-lady-on-a-roller-coaster stupid. The scene was probably meant to show the audience that people aren't always what they seem, and that Molly (and by extension, the show) might be more interesting that we first thought, but the truth of the matter is, both the character and the series fall pretty flat.

Obviously Molly didn't get herself pregnant, so that's where Junior comes in. Naturally, he's the exact opposite of Molly. He's intelligent, he was valedictorian of his class, and he's going to Stanford in the fall. Or at least he was planning to go to Stanford; now he's skipping college because Mr. Smartypants somehow failed sex education and knocked up his girlfriend. Oh, and he also lost his mind and has decided to not only stay behind with Molly, but to marry her. I'm not advocating that Junior leave Molly high and dry, but when has getting married ever resolved anything? 

All told, Welcome to the Family's premise is pretty old and worn. Old and worn can sometimes mean comfortable and familiar, but I don't think that's the case here. Like, if Welcome to the Family's owners held a garage sale, its storylines would be the freebies they tried to give away with the purchase of an old toaster or a ratty beanbag chair. But the pilot does bring up a good question: Why is it so hard to come up with an interesting or intriguing storyline about teenage pregnancy that isn't drowning in clichés? 

So, uh, I obviously really disliked this pilot. At first I thought it was simply boring—and I still think it is—but the more I thought about it, the angrier it made me. It's a waste of O'Malley, who's proven himself to be an asset for series like Glee and Justified, and it definitely hasn't found a way to make the overdone merging-of-two-families feel even remotely fresh. The choices the characters make are careless. The jokes aren't very funny. The show doesn't have much heart; it's more of empty shell. The characters are sketches of typical sitcom archetypes at best. Really, the only believable and interesting aspect of this show so far is that Junior's father was super pissed about his son throwing his life away. 



QUESTIONS AND NOTES

– What's the deal with Junior's little brother?

– What's going on with Mary McCormack's hair?

– Are you good at math?

– Why do the two fathers really hate each other? Their encounter at the gym was obviously not a pleasant experience, and I know that realizing one child knocked up the other probably doesn't make it much easier. But their hate seems so superficial. That being said, both O'Malley and Ricardo Chavira act as anchors for their respective families, and they do it quite well. I just wish their antagonistic nature toward one another had more meat to it.

– Do you think an NBC executive just pulled five sitcom tropes out of a hat and strung them together like one of those magnetic poetry sets that everyone uses to make dirty jokes on their friends' refrigerators and called it Welcome to the Family

– Even though *I* will be sticking with this show at least for the duration of the 4-Episode Test, don't feel like *you* have to. I don't foresee it making any daring leaps into greatness any time soon.


What'd you think of Welcome to the Family's series premiere? 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 11/21/2013

Season 1 : Episode 8

28 Comments
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Damn, damn and damn..... I like the way the show is moving along and what happened? It got cancelled! What the hell is wrong with you all people? Have you all not all not get enough of Crime/Zombie/End of the world/vampire series? Do you all really want to see more blood and gore? Isn't the news not enough blood and gore for you all?

Geez, if I make another post-apocalyptic series now, I would be making lots of money for at least 2 season before people move on to the next one.
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Ahem, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Community, New Girl and so on prove otherwise. Sometimes a show is just BAD.
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Seen those, yes, I agree with you. But I did not see anything wrong with the storyline for Welcome to the Family. If the show was based on how bad the actors are acting, then no comment from me. However, the premise for this show is better than some of the other family comedy out there.
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Didn't have very high expectations and was very pleasantly surprised by the show. I thought it was very funny and felt fresh. The Molly-carachter should be a worn-out trope, but she does the role very well. I actually like all of the characters which is rare in this kind of show.

I feel this review is waaaaay of. Hope the show sticks around!
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I enjoyed the Pilot and hope NBC gives it a chance. I think this review is very harsh.
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I switched off when the fathers met for the first time at the boxing gym; couldn't stomach it for more than that, which was disappointing since I was looking forward to see what Mike O'Malley could do with a new series.
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Wowza. I didn't think it was so bad. Was it great and revolutionary? No. But there was good chemistry between Mike O'Malley and Mary McCormack, the kids had good chemistry, and I like the Father of the Bride Part 2 twist at the end. The show has a homey, familiar feel to it, and I appreciate that. It's not spectacular, it's not gonna win any awards, clearly, but it's not nearly as awful as this review makes it sound.
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I liked it. I laughed a lot at the roller-coaster scene. But I felt like the whole ‘dads-hating-each-other-thing’ got old already in the pilot ...
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I'm not watching this, so I'm just gonna answer the one question I can before I leave. That hair has to be for the show, to make her look more grandmotherly, because I googled up a pic of her from July and her hair looks like her hair at least as recently as that.
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Bad at math, eh? Got two tens for a five? ;-)

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Unfortunately it was better than all the other ones I've seen so far and that means we're as doomed as doomed can be. Each season gets leaner but not meaner and this TV season is no better. Stop cancelling good stuff is the answer. Put up Go On and if what you have isn't better, don't show it to us. Or put up Awake and if what you have isn't better than what you have, DON'T SHOW IT TO US. Watch Ironside and then DON'T SHOW IT TO US you TV morons.

I just had dinner with JT_Kirk in West LA and we know what's going on. I asked him what was the best network show on TV these days and he said, thoughtfully, The Good Wife. Well, I agreed with him, so hire us and we'll tell you what's what. STOP CANCELLING THE GOOD STUFF!!!!!!!
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You cancel what has poor ratings; you keep on what has good ratings. It's that simple. The trick is developing something that is both high quality and can garner good ratings.
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Yes, it is that simple, but it's not really working, is it?
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I actually thought it was OK and will see if it improves. McCormack seems a little miscast here though. Has she ever done a comedy? I still see her In Plain Sight character, Mary. Other than that, we'll see. It was better than Sean Saves the World.
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It is not difficult to be better than Sean saves the world...
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I think you just forget that you were watching a sitcom, when did a sitcom have a good setting? sometime we try to much to see something when theres nothing there but space for jokes and character development.
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Would you like a list of ones with good settings? :)

Let's see, the Korean War, a radio station in Cincinnati, a bar in Boston, a psychology radio talk show in Seattle, an auto design shop, Veridian Dynamics...


Will a setting make or break a show? No. But it's not just there as backdrop on the good shows, either.
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sorry but there just settings nothing more or outstanding, but there are good sitcoms you listed, I never said they didn't influence the show just said its superficial, even Veridian which was a good setting and had funny ads still was just a work place sitcom. I'm not trying to be mean or anything towards good sitcoms which I mostly liked all the ones you cited, but I'm taking a step back and objectively saying that the setting is just what it is, repetition is inevitable sooner or later in the sitcom world. So jokes and characters in first place then the setting.
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For instance, can anyone describe the apartment in The Michael J. Fox? Does it make an impression on anyone? Can you visualize it in your mind?

But for new shows, the archive in Sleepy Hollow, and the main lounge of the tranport in Agents of SHIELD. Those I can see right away.
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I'd still disagree: each of those settings were unique. Even the houses in All in the Family, Roseanne and Married With Children, family sitcoms, had a "feel" to them. The current spate of comedies this fall, not so much.
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Yeah they do have a feel to them but they don't become similar to a character like in a series, sitcoms revolve around the comedy and the goofy/weird situations, that's it. I don't deny that the setting is important for a series just that it is not iportant for a sitcom.
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Those ads were so great. I looked forward to them every week.

A show's setting has *always* influenced how much I like it. I also pay attention to how quickly I learn the names of the characters. The faster I can identify them, the better the show. There are network shows airing today that I've watched for several seasons and still have to take several seconds (if not more) to try to recall their names.
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Great point. Sometimes it just works.
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This show would probably be a lot more interesting if Mike O'Malley's spouse were actually played by a dude named Mark McCormack.
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I've seen better, but I don't think it's the huge snooze-fest that the reviewer thinks it is. I enjoy family based sitcoms. And I greatly despise the vulgar foolishness that most sitcoms have to come to be. So this show is nice alternative to those.
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Hear here!!!!!!!!
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