With over a dozen new comedies premiering every fall, it is a certainty that more than a handful of these new series will be culled from the flock before next year. But, the question is: which ones? Unfortunately, the Nielsen ratings — while archaic and out-of-touch with the Internet age — still play a big part in that decision. This leads to quite a few decent shows being cancelled before they get a chance to work out the kinks. I don’t think that is the case here. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Fall’s first premieres might end up being one of the first to get cancelled.
That’s right, I’m talking about FOX’s Dads.
Dads comes with a simple premise: two thirty-something-year-old long-time friends who work together at a successful(?) video game company have their lives interrupted when their fathers come to live with them. Unfortunately, out of the four main characters, not a single one of them is likable, but that is probably by design. As with many of the shows that come from Seth MacFarlane & Crew, the leading men are often intentionally offensive and unlikable for comedic purposes. For some reason, it falls flat here.
Let’s take a closer look at the two families that make up Dads:
- The Whittemores, the almost-likable ones.
- Warner Whittemore (Giovanni Ribisi) is the pushover of the four, but still manages to be the character closest to being likable out of the bunch. Warner’s main problem is that he can’t say no to his father, a small problem on its own, but it leads to bigger problems in his work life as his father tries to ‘help’ him out. Warner’s wife Camilla (Erin Pineda) isn’t too hot about babysitting Warner’s father either, since she has two seemingly invisible children to watch over, but it seems like she’s going to have to deal with it since the show doesn’t exist if Crawford isn’t around.
- Crawford Whittemore (Martin Mull) is “a golden retriever with a briefcase” and probably next in line for the closest-to-likable title. Crawford is filled with fruitless ambition and good intentions, but tends to cause a lot more trouble than he is worth. In a Worst-Dad-Off between Warner and Eli, Warner reveals that Crawford is “in debt on three continents” and “squandered away the family fortune”. In the pilot, he single-handedly destroys an already very racist business meeting with some Chinese businessmen by being even more racist. Hurray!
- The Sachs, the not-so-likable ones.
- David Sachs (Peter Riegert) is a deadbeat dad who lost his house and wants to stay with his son “like Warner and his dad”. He’s cheap and, like the rest of the characters, pretty racist. Not much else to say here.
Outside of the Whittemore and the Sach families, the only real character of note we have is Veronica (Brenda Song). Brenda is an assistant to Eli and Warner and gets pretty poor treatment. In the pilot, the two of them make her dress up as a school girl to win over some Chinese businessmen and ogle her when she goes along with it. Fortunately for the guys, she saves the account with the Chinese businessmen by blackmailing the interpreter that sends dick-picks to her. Then, they all have a laugh about it.
Dads was nothing short of a chore, but I’m not all that surprised. I’d like to say there might be a chance this all could be some bias against Seth MacFarlane and his brand of comedy, but I had no idea he was even a part of the team until I started writing this review. Plus, I’m not the only one who didn’t care for the pilot. My problem with this series isn’t the overt racism and sexism — I watch too much Always Sunny to be bothered by any of that — but, that the only laughs had during my watch of the pilot were from the laugh-track. There were no laughs to be found anywhere in this pilot. It was rough, to say the least.
Hopefully Dads is not a sign of what is to come for the rest of the Fall comedy season.
- Rating: “No laughs to be found.”
- Comment: Dads is incredibly offensive — only because of overtly racist and sexist its characters are, but how terribly unfunny it is.
- You might like Dads if you like: Seth McFarlane’s usual shtick, the American Family Cleveland Dad Guy Show, laugh tracks that do all the laughing for you, unenjoyable television
Dads is currently in its first season, with episodes airing on FOX at 8 PM PST on Tuesdays.