Thursday, October 3, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Millers' Assembles an Amazing Cast but Fart Jokes Destroy Most of Its Potential

CBS' The Millers - Episode 1.01 Pilot

Nathan and Debbie are upset when their parents announce they're divorcing after 43 years of marriage. However, that's nothing compared to the panic they feel when Carol, their intrusive mother, announces she's moving in with Nathan, while Tom, their easily distracted father, is moving in with Debbie.

The Millers has probably assembled my favorite cast of any new comedy this fall. I love Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges, Jayma Mays and J.B. Smoove. And yet, it also feels like no one is being used well or to their fullest potential. The pilot works very hard to set up the new living situation for this family of characters. And then in the series main comedic moments, it instead offers up lots of yelling and multiple fart and masturbation jokes. The pilot climaxes with Margo Martindale and Will Arnett's mother and son during the final dance from Dirty Dancing. As Nathan's friend Ray (JB Smoove) correctly points out, it is entirely creepy. Thusly the ending doesn't quite sit well.

Elsewhere, Beau Bridge's father Tom is hanging around Debbie (Jayma Mays) and Adam's (Nelson Franklin) house confused by technology. And yes, I know lots of elderly people that act exactly like that. But does that mean I want to see Beau Bridge's acting like that? Not really. He is simply acting very broad while Mays and Franklin get to offer some snarky commentary. This show will benefit hugely by learning how to be more subtle - and to not use fart jokes in the near future.

Some more thoughts:
  • I'm expecting huge ratings for this show. As The Crazy Ones showed last week, The Big Bang Theory lead-in is huge! It should prop up this show very well so maybe in the future it can figure how to write for its cast.
  • Eve Moon also stars on the show as Debbie and Adam's daughter. She was pleasant but I really don't know. She was seen only very briefly.
  • I like Arnett in a very human role but I hope the character doesn't just boil down to the straight man role in comparison to Martindale and Bridges.