First Watch: Welcome to the Family – “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)

While I originally had a good-size review planned for Welcome to the Family, it was canceled last week. In lieu of the normal, plot-heavy review, I’ll just strip it down to why this got canceled.

In short, I’m not sure why it got tossed. I enjoyed it. At the very least, it seems to deserve an additional episode order more than Sean Saves the World does. Welcome to the Family can be honest, beautiful, and its comedy has surprising depth to it. The characters might be based on stereotypes, but they blossom into people — who become very extreme versions of themselves for the sake of a joke. The dialog can be quick, although not quite snappy. Even the acting, starring Mike O’Malley (a sitcom veteran), has been more than solid.

Then why did it fail? Unlike most of today’s sitcoms, Welcome to the Family actually uses situational humor, while Chuck Lorre and company rely on a thick, unyielding stream of one-liners. Ten years ago, shows like Malcom in the Middle were in their prime, painting vivid and unique characters and letting these people create circumstances that could fill an hour long episode with hilarity. The next generation is here, though, only able to look up from their phones long enough to laugh at a five second pun, requiring no more setup then the generic line uttered beforehand.

I can’t ask you to watch this show, as it was not allowed to hit its stride; the first few episodes were funny, but building toward a perfect mixture of comedy and heart. Welcome to the Family deserves a second chance — something a seemingly generic sitcom will never garner. I can only hope, one day justice will be served, and something as courageous as this series will replace Sean Saves the World.

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