I am a huge fan of Seth MacFarlane. I try to make all of my friends watch his movie, Ted, and I greatly enjoy 90% of his shows. Now though, through “Heckuva Job, Brownie,” I think I’ve found the other 10%.
“Is this an intervention?” “It’s whatever it needs to be to get you back on drugs.”
When I heard that MacFarlane was working on a live action sitcom with his writing team from Ted, I had hope for the show, especially when Seth Green was announced as one of the main actors, but the more I learned about the premise, the less thrilled I was. Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi play the two main characters. Both have their fathers move back in with them which complicate their lives. The fathers are played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull respectively and seem nothing like their offspring. The two sons work for a small game studio and are pressured by their boss, Veronica, who is played by Brenda Song.
The first episode of Dads revolves around some pot brownies, awkward sex, and Seth Green seeking a semblance of approval that his father loved him and his mother. The second half, which consisted of the four major characters having a contest to see who could handle being high better, threatened to put me to sleep and caused a few raised eyebrows. It just doesn’t work. Each of the actors seems to play their part well, but it isn’t gelling. Seth Green is funny and adorable, Ribisi is timid and annoying—though I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be at first—both fathers are problematic and wise in their own respects, but there is no real connection.
The best relationship chemistry in the show is between the two main characters and Brenda Song’s attractive and aggressive personality. The jovial banter between the three is of particular note for the show. Ribisi’s relationship with his on-screen wife is just too heavy handed, and almost clichéd, adding very little to the dynamic other than some jabs at his manhood. Also, I have watched the episode twice now and still cannot figure out what purpose Seth Green’s Latino maid serves except as the religious character and setup for some future race jokes.
That is the other big problem with Dads; the jokes just don’t work together nor do they seem to fit with the premise. Early in the episode Seth Green claims to be Jewish to get out of eating penguin meat and Martin Mull makes a joke about how it should be okay because the meat is free. This is just the beginning of a string of sexual, political, and gay jokes that follow later on. From what I read the jokes get worse in later episodes as they focus more on racial humor. Several are truly groan-worthy.
I am not sure if the idea was to come across as embracing an offensive nature for controversy, or focusing on the forced awkward situations to get noticed, but neither felt like they worked in this episode. I will probably give the next episode a shot, based purely off of MacFarlane and Green alone, but without some serious improvement I can’t see this show lasting, at least not for me when I can have reruns of Family Guy.