Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pilot Review: The McCarthys

The McCarthys (CBS)
Premiered October 30 at 10:30pm

Pick a nationality, and pick a city. You can find an outrageous family full of stereotypes that can fit this broad premise anywhere, and many broadcast networks have tried many times to do so. This season has “Cristela” and “Black-ish” and already saw the cancellation of “Working the Engels.” Why we need another show about a loud Irish family in Boston is beyond me. Its only twist is that its protagonist, Ronny, is gay, which opens the door for many gay jokes, most of which are far from funny. I’m not so concerned with this show being offensive, which it is to an extent, but more so that it’s just not fresh. There’s absolutely no reason Ronny’s father would select him over his two brothers to be the assistant coach, and it’s the kind of thing that would happen only on TV or in a movie so that he can fight the odds and overcome them with gradual and surprising endearing success. This show’s dialogue moves fast in the same way that other CBS shows do, not always waiting for its jokes to land and not caring if they do since another one-liner is just around the corner. Cast-wise, it’s interesting to see Laurie Metcalf, who earned an Emmy nomination a few years ago for a strong dramatic guest turn on “Desperate Housewives,” playing a member of the older generation along with Jack McGee, the former “Rescue Me” chief who also appeared in what seems to be a series regular role in the “Benched” pilot just two days before this show debuted. I’m happy to see Kelen Coleman, who I liked in “The Newsroom” and “The Mindy Project,” get a big role, but I don’t want to see her stranded here for too long. Ronny reminds me a lot of Andrew, the main character on CBS’ short-lived “How to Be a Gentleman,” someone completely out of place as a gentleman among savages. It’s a promising idea, but this execution leaves just about everything to be desired.

How will it work as a series? Two lucky – and shocking – baskets made it so that Ronny has to stay in Boston, which he apparently wanted to do, rather than move the forty-five minutes away to Providence. Playing sports is going to be an uphill battle, and I think his father won’t be quite as warm or forgiving as he was in this introductory installment. There is sure to be plenty of lowball jokes and immature humor as he begins that journey.
How long will it last? CBS has a high barometer of success for its comedies. Given that, this show doesn’t have a chance. It came in under what “We Are Men,” a show I’ve already forgotten entirely, did last year in this timeslot before being axed at episode two. CBS has yet to cancel a show this season, and I think this is ripe to be the first.

Pilot grade: F

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