CBS, Thursdays 8:30/7:30 Central
Oct 03, 2013
Divorced newscaster Nathan Miller (Will Arnett) and former teenage mom Debbie (Jayma Mays) are siblings. Their parents, Carol and Tom (Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges), are forced to leave their home after Tom floods their basement. They first try to move in with Debbie, who rents their former home, but since "she painted the purple room green," they decamp to Nathan's home. Nathan has been hiding his divorce from them, but once they find out—shocked, because how could a wedding whose dance was the one from Dirty Dancing fall apart?—Tom decides he wants to divorce Carol and moves in with Debbie and her family.
Tom, like most men who have been looked after by women, doesn't know how to do anything: not how to work the remote, not how to work the microwave, not how to avoid getting his bathrobe belt flushed down the toilet, not how to pick up a phone without hitting the redial button. For all these, either he or Debbie is on the phone with Carol or Nathan constantly.
Meanwhile, at a party at Nathan's house, his mother, loopy on sleeping pills, walks the treadmill while mainlining ice cream, crying because no one wanted to dance with her—despite her overly forward opening line: "I'm newly single and I can't get pregnant." The famed Dirty Dancing dance resurfaces when Nathan performs it with his mother in front of all his guests. This moment sets the tone for Will and his mother's living arrangement, which quickly degenerates from mother-and-son to a husband-and-wife status.
Arnett, Martindale, Bridges, and J.B. Smoove as Nathan's cameraman and best friend, Ray, are strong, making the weak dialogue snap. But really, how many conversations about flatulence can you have with your mother and still make it funny? It is interesting to watch Arnett play a straight comic character rather than the eccentric ones he has been known to play on Arrested Development and 30 Rock. Also interesting is watching Martindale, who put her dramatic stamp on Justified and The Americans, handily tackle comedy. Their experience and timing makes the writing work better than it is written, but they are working overtime to get that to happen. They're going to have to work even harder to meet the comedy standard their lead-in show, the sizzling Big Bang Theory, has set. (www.cbs.com/shows/the-millers)
Author rating: 4/10