×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Dads’

Seth MacFarlane-produced comedy merits condemnation mostly for its general badness

With:

Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull, Peter Reigert, Brenda Song, Vanessa Lachey, Tonita Castro

Although it became fashionable during the TV critics tour to be wildly offended by “Dads,” the exaggerated tumult the show engendered shouldn’t eclipse its general badness, in the process squandering the promise of Peter Riegert and Martin Mull in the title roles. The main problem, frankly, is how the series traffics in predictable, played-out gags, from the videogame setting to the crazy-old-coots conceit — think of this as “$#*! Our Dads Say” — that’s become such a popular way of allowing more desirable demos to laugh (hopefully, but not likely) at their elders.

Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi (truly deserving of better) play longtime buddies and partners Eli and Warner — one single, the other married — who run the game business together (their big seller is titled “Kill Hitler”). Each, meanwhile, must deal with the headaches associated with their respective pops: Crawford (Mull), lives with Warner and has a knack for cheerfully saying the wrong thing, while specializing in bizarre get-rich-quick schemes; and the gruff David (Riegert), who parachutes back into Eli’s life and, naturally, will stay for as long as the show endures.

For those who haven’t kept up, much of the controversy regarding this show created by “Ted” and “Family Guy” writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, working with Seth MacFarlane, surrounded low-brow and racially questionable gags, including a bit in which the guys’ co-worker, played by Brenda Song, is prodded to dress in an anime-style schoolgirl outfit to impress foreign investors. That a MacFarlane-produced comedy (seriously, does that guy ever sleep?) would engage in bawdy humor and objectify women would seem to fall under the heading of being shocked, shocked to discover gambling is taking place at Rick’s Cafe, but go ahead, knock yourselves out with righteous anger.

The truth is, “Dads” merits condemnation less for such outrages than because the tone is so broad and slapdash. The only amusing scene in the pilot has Mull and Riegert’s characters sharing lunch together, with both being so cheap that each goes to inordinate lengths to steer the check back in the other’s direction. And even that (which actually evoked chuckles in a cut-down version at last spring’s upfront presentation) drags on until it’s stale.

The second episode, where Mull and Riegert’s characters eat special brownies intended to get a creatively blocked Eli working, does yield a few stoner giggles, but would only approach “good” for those either grading on a curve or similarly medicated.

Fox has scheduled the series to lead off its Tuesday sitcom block, joining a lineup that barely got by ratings-wise last season. Certainly, there are some ingredients here that ought to provoke attention, but if the juvenile nature of “Dads” seems unlikely to grow up, barring an unexpected wellspring of interest in the auspices, it also looks like a serious long shot to grow old as well.

Popular on Variety

TV Review: 'Dads'

(Series; Fox, Tues. Sept. 17, 8 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Los Angeles by Fuzzy Door Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

Crew:

Executive producers, Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild, Mike Scully; producer, Randy Cordray; director, Mark Cendrowski; writers, Sulkin, Wild; camera, Donald A. Morgan; production designer, Steve Olson; editor, Kirk Benson; music, The Ryan Brothers; casting, Nikki Valko, Ken Miller, Lori Gottlieb. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull, Peter Reigert, Brenda Song, Vanessa Lachey, Tonita Castro

More TV

  • Disney Fans Lineup to Subscribe to

    Fans Line Up to Subscribe to Disney Plus at D23

    Disney fans lined up to be among the first to subscribe to the company’s forthcoming streaming service. The D23 Expo convention hall, filled with giant Marvel exhibits and cos-players also featured a kiosk to sign up for Disney Plus. The incentive? An offer to save $23 per year on a three-year subscription to the service. [...]

  • Cine-y-Series

    Chilean TV Grapples With Globalization

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Globalization was the key word in a TV panel held during Sanfic where Mega TV’s International Content chief Juan Ignacio Vicente, CNTV development head Ignacio Villalabeitia and DirecTV programming director Rossy Hernandez debated the myriad challenges Chile’s television industry faces today. Like its counterparts worldwide, Chilean TV is dealing with the spectre [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • PHINEAS AND FERB - "The Fast

    'Phineas and Ferb' Disney Plus Movie Details, Including Title, Revealed at D23

    Five years after summer ended for “Phineas and Ferb,” the show returns with a new movie on Disney Plus in 2020, new details of which were revealed on Friday at the D23 fan convention. In “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” currently in production for the new streaming service, stepbrothers Phineas and [...]

  • Brews Brothers Netflix

    Netflix Orders Comedy Series 'Brews Brothers' from Schaffer Brothers

    Netflix has put in an eight-episode order of “Brews Brothers,” a comedy series from creative sibling team Greg Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer. The show follows estranged brothers Wilhelm and Adam Rodman, who wind up running a brewery together. According to Netflix, each is a “beer genius … but they couldn’t be more different in their [...]

  • Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas.

    Jonas Brothers Shine a Light on New Jersey Via VMAs Asbury Park Performance

    The Jonas Brothers will pay homage to their New Jersey roots at the MTV Video Music Awards this Monday (Aug. 26) with a performance on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. The brothers — Nick, Joe and Kevin — were raised in Wyckoff, NJ. With the awards ceremony being held for the first time at the Prudential [...]

  • Sinclair

    Sinclair Closes Purchase of Fox Regional Sports Networks From Disney

    Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Walt Disney Company have closed their $9.6 billion deal for Sinclair to buy 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports. The deal was announced in May after Disney bought the networks as part of its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. The portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is described [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content