On The Tube
You get Mom, I’ll take Dad10/2/2013
Multi-camera laugh-track sitcoms have been in decline, but “The Millers” is one that works (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., CBS). Nate (Will Arnett) and Debbie (Jayma Mays) have always kept their distance from their insufferable parents (Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale), but that becomes impossible when Mom and Dad break up. She moves in with Nate, he moves in with Debbie and madness ensues.
Bridges does one of the best dumb acts ever seen on TV, while Martindale specializes in inappropriate behavior. Their fight about whether he masturbates correctly is one of the fall season’s funniest scenes.
Then comes the scene where Mom crashes a party with Nate’s friends. Nate is horrified at first but finally gives in and dances with her because he knows it will make her happy. “This is either gonna be very sweet or very creepy,” says Nate’s friend Ray (J.B. Smoove), observing the spectacle.
The genius part is: It’s gonna be both.
“Welcome to the Family”
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
The parents of Molly (Ella Rae Peck), an underachieving white girl, are overjoyed at her high school graduation. “She’s Arizona State’s problem now!” her dad exclaims.
Meanwhile, Junior (Joseph Haro), an overachieving Latino, gives his valedictorian’s speech and prepares for a college career at Stanford. As he reads the speech from his laptop, he gets a message from Molly: “I’m pregnant,” beginning an excellent culture-clash sitcom.
“Welcome to the Family” throws two unlikely families together and forces them to get along. Mostly they don’t, and the comedians work wonders with resentment and misunderstanding. Mike O’Malley and Mary McCormack are particularly good as Molly’s parents, trading mordant wisecracks about her limitations.
To everybody’s dismay, Molly and Junior decide to get married. The worse things go, the angrier their parents will get and the funnier “Welcome to the Family” will be.
Thursday, 8 p.m. (CW)
Members of a vampire clan are in the midst of a thousand-year spat that leads them back home to New Orleans for a turf battle with witches and werewolves that may take another thousand years to resolve.
Various immortal beings mope around the French Quarter with solemn expressions, making portentous statements with an emphasis on every single word. “I…will…not…be…manipulated,” promises vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus (Joseph Morgan), the most solemn of the bunch.
Schooled in the supernatural soap opera of “Twilight,” the teenage target audience may enjoy this new drama, but I…will…not…watch…another…episode.
Wednesday, 9 p.m. (NBC)
NBC resurrects the 1960s-’70s series, with Blair Underwood in the Raymond Burr role of a wheelchair-bound detective. Oddly, “Ironside” doesn’t concern itself with the psychological and physical challenges of a disabled cop. The wheelchair seems like an accessory from the prop shop as our hero behaves like many other TV cops: striking steely poses, bedding hot babes, etc.
What really excites the filmmakers here is police brutality. They lionize Ironside and his colleagues for torturing suspects, illegally entering residences, even hanging people from rooftops. Hey, if the goal is catching criminals, no method is too extreme, right? CV
Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.