Ever since the days of “Get the Picture” and ‘Guts” on Nickelodeon, Mike O’Malley has been a favorite. The fact that he has managed to become a star thanks to “Yes, Dear” and then a memorable stint on “Glee” was more or less just icing on the cake.
Mike has been trying for years to get a new show on TV, and this is where we now with “Welcome to the Family,” a show that features two very separate families who have to deal with the sudden news that their children are expecting a child together. The dads don’t get along, the kids all have their own ambitions, and there is plenty of physical comedy involved as O’Malley’s character has to adjust now to not getting children out of his life for a while after his daughter’s graduation.
The best way in which to describe “Welcome to the Family” is simple: It is a pleasant show. It’s not horrible, but it’s also not great. Everything in it almost feels like NBC got handed a very basic coloring book, and they are afraid to go ever-so-slightly out of the lines with anything. Goofy dad? Check. Intense dad? Check. Trying to find a way for everyone to get along? Another check. It’s a show that wants so badly to be mainstream that “family” is even in the title.
But perhaps the biggest problem with “Welcome to the Family” is merely that the show is too reliant on the pregnancy storyline from the get-go, since once the baby arrives, things change almost instantly and it becomes a different sort of family comedy. Unless you are doing something crazy or innovative a la “Modern Family,” it’s hard to keep interest with something that is this basic. NBC wanted to become a little more mainstream in order to appeal to a larger audience, but they’ve lost some of the magic that was there during one of their more innovative hits.
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