Welcome to Pilot Perception, our new feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: Sullivan & Son, TBS, Thursdays at 10/9c
The Pedigree: The series is executive produced by actor Vince Vaughn along with Rob Long (Cheers) and Peter Billingsley (Four Christmases). Writers include Long, leading man Steve Byrne, F.J. Pratt (Glory Daze, Sonny with a Chance), and Howard J. Morris (According to Jim).
The Cast & How You Know Them: Sullivan & Son stars Steve Byrne (Couples Retreat, The Middle). His family is played by Dan Lauria (Harry’s Law), Jodi Long (Eli Stone), and Vivian Bang (Better Off Ted). Bar regulars include Christine Ebersole (Royal Pains), Brian Doyle-Murray (The Middle), Valerie Azlynn (Castle), and Owen Benjamin (Pretend Time).
The Premise: When his father decides to sell the family bar, corporate lawyer Steve Sullivan buys it and moves back to Pittsburgh to be the city’s first bartender/lawyer.
What Works: Leading man Steve Byrne is very likeable, and I wish he were in a show I wanted to watch. There are some kernels of interesting relationships between the family members and bar regulars. The pilot had precisely one joke that made me laugh. (It’s quoted below.)
What Doesn’t: Most of this pilot consisted of very lazy, lowest common denominator writing – and worse, most of the jokes were about race or rape. I’m used to most comedies containing a few offensive jokes (unfortunately), but they were so constant in this pilot that they made me not want to watch another episode.
Our Favorite Line: “Just remember: Everybody wants to hear Frank Sinatra. Nobody wants to hear Frank Sinatra, Jr.”
You Might Like This if you enjoy sitcoms set in neighborhood bars, or if you’re looking for some summer entertainment that will let you turn your brain off – as long as you can manage to overlook the barrage of dumb, offensive jokes.
If You’re Interested: You can watch the first two episodes for free on the TBS site, then set your DVR for Thursday at 10.
(Photo courtesy of TBS.)