Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family
In defining the dichotomy between the Yoder and Hernandez families, Welcome to the Family opens with deliberately contrary parallels that establish their distinctions in the broadest of terms without consideration of comedy. The world of this sitcom is defined by stereotypes and overly simplistic characters that are too busy adhering to their cliché to have logical reactions to any given scenario. They merely exist to adhere to a formula that hasn't worked since the mid-'80s.

The Yoders—Dan (Mike O'Malley) and Caroline (Mary McCormack)—are less traditional parents, having a casual, borderline white trash, approach to things, ignoring their daughter Molly's (Ella Rae Peck), exceedingly unrealistic ignorance (she says "parochial" when she means "patriarchal") and utilizing sarcasm as a quotidian coping mechanism. Contrarily, the Hernandez family—Chuey (Ricardo Chavira) and Lisette (Justina Machado)—are extremely well put together. Their son Junior (Joseph Haro) is the Valedictorian of his graduating class and has a bright future ahead of him, having been accepting to some generically esteemed program at an elitist college.

Both families react differently to their impending empty nest; the Yoders fornicate, discussing Dan's impending weight loss, which he plans to lose at a boxing gym owned by Chuey. The Hernandez family is more distressed by the loss of their exceptionally dull son, cheering him on tearfully as he takes his next step in life.

This is all established within moments of the show opening, as is the intense conflict between Dan and Chuey when Dan's visit to Chuey's gym results in a bickering match about the white middle class lack of commitment. Shortly thereafter, Junior gets a text during his Valedictorian address—something he inexplicably receives and checks mid-sentence—saying that Molly is pregnant. He flees leaving his parents, and the audience, confused, but the setup of this overly strained, embarrassingly unfunny series is established: the Yoder's and the Hernandez's will have to get along despite their differences now that their kids have decided to ruin their lives.

Beyond the issue that Peck and Haro have no comic timing (Haro, in particular), the biggest problem in this forgettable, soon to be cancelled, sitcom is that the friction between Dan and Chuey isn't clever at all. Their passive-aggressive insults are rote and the actors have little chemistry to play off. And since this overly heteronormative world is so outdated and traditionalist, the stronger actors—McCormack and Machado—have nothing to do but support their poorly sketched, stereotypical husbands.

Eventually, the writers might figure this out; that is if this series makes it past the three-episode mark, which is unlikely.

Welcome to the Family premieres on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 at 8:30pm on Global TV. (Sony)