Thursday, September 22, 2005

Never Judge a show by it's Pilot: The War at Home. (Click PODCAST)

The War at Home: Sunday Night 8:30 PM FOX.

Let me start with the positive notes. The show fits in very nicely between "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy". I like the use of monologues and inner-monologues to show what is really going on inside the character’s heads. We actually have a married couple on TV (Michael Rapaport & Anita Barone) who actually look like they could be married (instead of a smart attractive woman married to a dopey looking fat guy who’s at least ten years her senior). I like that they are trying to be edgy. The daughter (Kaylee DeFer) wants to loose her virginity. The parents think that their oldest son (Kyle Sullivan) is gay or a cross dresser because he dressed as his mom in order to steal her car.

I would not call these next comments negative just critical. The show fits in very nicely between "The Simpsons" and "The Family Guy", but "The Simpsons" and "The Family Guy"(then followed by "American Dad!") are cartoons where it’s still okay to show Dad as a bafoon. A big complaint I hear from men its that they are tired of seeing Dad portrayed as an idiot or seeing the kids smarter than Dad or both of the parents. With the exception of John Ritter in "8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter", how many smart dads have we seen on TV since Bill Cosby in "The Cosby Show"? I said that, "I like that they are trying to be edgy" but I don't think the show is edgy enough. I say have the daughter loose her virginity with possible consequences and have the son actually be gay and comically show the teen gay lifestyle (Although the son’s best friend is gay). Come on this is FOX after all.

But I Never Judge a show by it's Pilot.

I saw the second episode. The Youngest son (Dean Collins) outsmarted and blackmailed his father in to buying him a $200.00 pair of tennis shoes when he catches his dad having cyber sex. The daughter was upset when she gave her (Black) boyfriend "something special" for their one-month anniversary and he gave her nothing. Dad assumes that she was referring to a tangible item. The second episode picked up on a story line from the pilot. The parents still thought that their oldest son was gay until he gets caught on camera running a red light while driving his mother’s stolen car.

In conclusion, I find "The War at Home" a cross between "8 Simple Rules" and "Married... with Children" with a hint of the TV movie "Still the Beaver"*. I saw some improvement in the second episode, but the show still lacks the heart needed in a family sit-com, even if the family is dysfunctional causing me to ask why should we care about these people. Finally I want to point out that every time a long running sit-com goes off the air (last season it was "Everybody Loves Raymond") someone announces, "The sit-com is dead". Trust me the sit-com is not dead. Shows like "The War at Home" just don't help keep it alive.

To quote Dave (Michael Rapaport), "I only have ONE simple rule for dating my daughter. If she sees your penis, I'll cut it off".

By the way, the use of the word "penis" is not edgy.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

*The adult Beaver Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) tries to use his father's child rearing techniques on his own kids only to find that they don't work anymore.
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