Welcome to Pilot Perception, our 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 Pedigree: The show was written and created by Brian Gallivan (Are You There, Chelsea?), who executive produces with Will Gluck (The Michael J. Fox Show), Mike Sikowitz (Rules of Engagement), and Richard Schwartz (The Michael J. Fox Show). Andy Ackerman (Seinfeld) directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The McCarthys stars Tyler Ritter (Grey’s Anatomy), Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory), Jack McGee (Common Law), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom), and comedian Jimmy Dunn.
The Premise: Unlike the rest of his big, over-involved Bostonian family, Ronny is gay and not into sports. But when he tries to move away (all the way to Providence!) to get some space and maybe meet someone, his basketball coach father convinces him to stay and become his assistant — even though he doesn’t care about basketball.
What Works: I liked this way more than I expected (by which I mean at all, I guess). The cast’s chemistry is good and they already feel like a real family, especially Ronny, his mother, and his sister. I loved the way Ronny’s parents were shown as being completely supportive of him even when they didn’t understand what they were supporting. The McCarthys reminded me of parts of my own family at times, and as someone who lives near Boston, I was extremely amused by how well they did with some of the references, specifically sports and Dunkin’ Donuts.
What Doesn’t: Some of the jokes to do with Ronny’s family’s reaction to his sexuality were borderline offensive — there’s a fine line between portraying (and gently skewering) people with outdated thinking and actually buying into their ideas for “humor,” and it’s not clear yet where this will end up. And some of the family members don’t really have personalities yet, which is fairly standard for a pilot, so we’ll see how that ends up as well.
Our Favorite Line: “So, who’s winning the sports today?” “Just sports. No ‘the.'”
You Might Like This if you like warm family comedies about people who have a lot of differences and do plenty of fighting but love each other fiercely. That aspect of it reminded me of The Goldbergs, though obviously it’s not a period piece and it’s about adults. It also shares some tonal DNA with The Michael J. Fox Show, from some of the same producers.
(Photo courtesy of CBS.)