Pilots 2013: Should I Be Watching Welcome to the Family?

Welcome to the Family (Photo: NBC)

NBC’s latest foray into family sitcoms is the remarkably upsetting Welcome to the Family. How many laughs can you wring out of a recent high school graduate’s surprise pregnancy and the pointless bickering between the soon-to-be grandparents?

Premise

Molly Yoder (Ella Rae Peck) is a kid who barely graduated from high school. Miguel “Junior” Hernandez (Joey Haro) is a Stanford-bound valedictorian at a high school across town. It turns out they are a couple…and she’s pregnant. After spending all of three seconds of family planning (which is obviously three seconds more than they did previously), they decide to make it work. Hilarious so far, right?

Molly’s parents Dan (Mike O’Malley) and Caroline (Mary McCormack) realize they may have to put their post-Molly plans on hold. Before they find out, Dan has a bad experience at a gym with a trainer, who turns out to be Miguel Hernandez, Sr. (Ricardo Chavira). So the concept shifts from Raising Hope to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Should I Be Watching This?

Although this is a family comedy, it’s weird seeing families that appear relatively functional when the members of that family do not seem to have even a passing interest in one another. On the Yoder side, the parents are equally baffled that their daughter may or may not graduate from high school as they are that she was rejected from most schools except Arizona State. Dan later criticizes Miguel’s lack of attention to his kid, which is met with a response about birth control. In essence, it’s the woman’s fault she got pregnant. Adding to the “ick” factor: Molly sees herself as a feminist, but in the pilot it plays out the way Marcia Brady envisioned herself as a feminist. I’m expecting some sort of confrontation getting settled with a potato sack race—or perhaps something less dangerous for a pregnancy.

Oh, which gets me to the bonding moment of the episode. The kids go to Santa Monica Pier and the parents tag along. The moms seem to get along and basically grant “boys will be boys” to their oafish husbands. The guys continue to bicker until they realize their daughter might accidentally go on a roller coaster, despite the ginormous signs warning about riding while preggers. Dan beats Miguel in the footrace to the ride, only to realize she never went on the ride in the first place. Then Molly realizes she lost her cell phone again. Womp womp.

What troubles me about this show is that I can’t think of how they can stretch this out to six episodes, let alone 13, 22, or 100. The initial conflict between the dads is petty and stupid, the overall premise is rather tragic, and the cast chemistry does not exist. NBC’s marketing is not helping matters, making the show seem wacky and outrageous (see the WttF ads) when the actual product is anything but. Do yourself a favor and skip this.

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles

Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it “TV Camp.” After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv