Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pilot Review: Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family (NBC)
Premiered October 3 at 8:30pm

Sometimes a simple concept can be a good one, especially if you have the right people picked out to bring it to life. This show revisits the oft-filmed topic of teen pregnancy, setting two high school graduates up for a new plan as they embark upon their unexpected journey with the help of their parents. What this show does best is select its players right, enlisting four familiar TV faces to portray the adults. Richardo Chavira was supporting husband Carlos for so many years on “Desperate Housewives,” and Justina Machado was supportive wife Vanessa on “Six Feet Under.” Mike O’Malley has recently had dependable turns on “Justified” and “Glee” after a long-running role on “Yes, Dear,” and Mary McCormack starred in “In Plain Sight” and “The West Wing.” They make two great couples, and I particularly like the dynamic that Chavira and O’Malley have as Miguel and Dan, started in that funny first scene at the gym and embellished later on in their competitive running towards the rollercoaster. I also enjoy Ella Rae Peck as Molly, who likes to incorrectly use words like “patriotic” and “parochial” to describe society, but has no trouble following up on her words with actions like asking Migeul for his son’s hand in marriage. This show is smart to not have a laugh track, because it succeeds in being funny all on its own. I recognize that most people probably don’t love this show and find out all too uncreative, but I found it very enjoyable.

How will it work as a series? Molly and Junior are sure to have many mishaps related to the pregnancy and Molly’s forgetful tendencies in particular, but this show isn’t content to leave it at that, making Molly’s mom Katrina pregnant too. That should make for lots of awkward tiptoeing and plenty of hilarious overreactions once the cat inevitably gets let out of the bag.
How long will it last? It appears that the most promising broadcast network show I’ve seen so far may live the shortest, if its pilot ratings are any indication. NBC hasn’t done well on Thursday nights in a while, but scoring the lowest numbers for a fall comedy pilot in NBC’s history is pretty bad. Let’s hope that this show is granted a stay of execution so that we can at least enjoy a few episodes.

Pilot grade: B+

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