×

TV Review: ‘Welcome to the Family’

Having tried planned pregnancies, NBC goes the unplanned route - with about the same results

With:

Mike O’Malley, Mary McCormack, Ricardo A. Chavira, Justina Machado, Ella Rae Peck, Joseph Haro, Fabrizio Guido

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Parents are thrilled about their teenage daughter moving out of the house, even if she’s going to a lousy college. And just when they’re about to celebrate being able to have sex whenever they want, faster than you can say, “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am,” they find out the kid is … pregnant! Moreover, the parents of the boy — a Stanford-bound honor’s student — are as flummoxed by this as they are! Sold? If not, probably best to skip “Welcome to the Family,” a sitcom with all the depth of a knock-knock joke.

Granted, NBC tried planned pregnancies in 2011 (“Up All Night”) and ’12 (“The New Normal”), so unplanned was the obvious next step. And the network did lure solid talent to participate in this broadly played half-hour, with Mike O’Malley (fresh off “Glee”) as the father of the girl, Molly (Ella Rae Peck), and “Desperate Housewives’” Ricardo A. Chavira as the dad of her boyfriend, Junior (Joseph Haro).

Having already met not-so-cute — the two spar when O’Malley’s Dan goes to take a free lesson at the gym where Chavira’s Miguel trains people — the fathers are immediately at odds, separated by race and class distinctions, if joined in their mutual disappointment over their offspring. Their wives, meanwhile (Mary McCormack and Justina Machado, respectively), are more level-headed about things. Oh, those middle-aged men and their silly testosterone.

Writer Mike Sikowitz tries not to entirely dismiss teenage pregnancy as a punchline, but given the nature of the material it’s hard not to perceive things that way — trivializing an issue already not helped by MTV creating a cottage industry around reality-based versions “Teen Mom” and “16 & Pregnant.” Nor is there any discussion of terminating the pregnancy, less for political or advertising reasons, seemingly, than because doing so would also abort the show.

Frankly, there’s a pretty good chance that will happen regardless, with “Family” being the most nondescript addition to an NBC Thursday comedy block of questionable strength.

Mismatched in-laws are as old as the hills — although at least the Steinbergs and Fitzgeralds didn’t have to deal with Bernie knocking up Bridget before marrying her — which is why programmers keep returning to the concept. And the performers do deserve some credit for giving the exercise the old college try, even if Junior and Molly probably won’t get the chance.

Even so, “Welcome to the Family” offers precious little reason to roll out the welcome mat.

Popular on Variety

TV Review: 'Welcome to the Family'

(Series; NBC, Thurs. Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Los Angeles by Sony Pictures Television.

Crew:

Executive producers, Mike Sikowitz, Jamie Tarses, Michael Engler; co-executive producers, Vanessa McCarthy, Dylan Morgan, Josh Siegal; producer, Mike O’Malley; director, Engler; writer, Sikowitz; camera, Lowell Peterson; production designer, Cynthia Charette; editors, Richie Candib, Brian Merken; music, Gabriel Mann; casting, Jill Anthony Thomas, Gilllian O’Neill. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Mike O’Malley, Mary McCormack, Ricardo A. Chavira, Justina Machado, Ella Rae Peck, Joseph Haro, Fabrizio Guido

More TV

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content