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Sons & Daughters

TITLE: SONS & DAUGHTERS - ABC MID-SEASON 2006


Info:

Premiere Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2006 (NBC Universal)
Network: ABC
Time: Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Cast: Starring Fred Goss, Gillian Vigman, Jerry Lambert, Alison Quinn, Max Gail, Dee Wallace, Amanda Walsh, Desmond Harrington, Greg Pitts, Eden Sher, Randy Wayne, Trevor Einhorn, Lois Hall, Noah Matthews and Lexi Jourden.


Introduction:

Fred Goss (“Significant Others”) stars in this unique hybrid comedy series that offers a mix of improvisational and scripted humor in an unadulterated look at marriage, raising children and living in close proximity to an extended family. Series creators Goss and Nick Holly borrow from their own middle-American, middle-class upbringings to deliver a very real and relatable modern-day family comedy.

Coming this March to ABC is a sitcom that brings the dysfunctional into family. The sitcom Sons & Daughters is a hybrid improv comedy series that has no studio audience or canned laughs. And it's coming to a television near you starting March 7, airing Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00 & 9:30/8:30 central only on ABC!


Cast Details:

Fred Goss as Cameron Walker, Gillian Vigman as Liz Walker, Jerry Lambert as Don Fenton, Alison Quinn as Sharon Fenton, Max Gail as Wendal Halbert, Dee Wallace as Colleen Halbert, Amanda Walsh as Jenna Halbert, Desmond Harrington as Wylie Blake, Greg Pitts as Tommy White, Eden Sher as Carrie Fenton, Randy Wayne as Jeff Fenton, Trevor Einhorn as Henry Walker, Lois Hall as Aunt Rae, Noah Matthews as Ezra Walker and Lexi Jourden as Marni Walker.

At the center of the family dynamic is Cameron (Goss), happily married to his second wife, Liz (Gillian Vigman, "Mad TV"), and the father of three children with her. One of the speed bumps on their road to domestic bliss comes from Cameron's resentful teenaged son from his first marriage, who recently moved in and is not adjusting well to life with his father and new step-family.

Cameron's life is further complicated by his sister, Sharon (Alison Quinn), and her husband, Don (Jerry Lambert), seemingly happily married with two teenaged children -- yet both in deep denial on several issues, including a current years-long sex drought.

Cameron and Sharon's very pretty younger stepsister, Jenna (Amanda Walsh) -- the "it girl" when she was in high school -- had her career plans derailed by becoming a single mom. She continues to be attracted to "bad" boys like Tommy White, AKA Whitey (Greg Pitts), and not to the nice guys -- like Wylie (Desmond Harrington) -- who are attracted to her.

The three siblings' parents, Colleen (Dee Wallace) and Wendal (Max Gail), are extremely devoted to their adult children and their grandchildren but, not surprisingly, have some issues of their own. Colleen, a little uptight and impulsively judgmental, both likes and dislikes the safe and comfortable environment that husband Wendal has provided for 25 years. A good guy, Wendal juggles and struggles with the varied relationships he has with his extended family members.


Pilot Plot:

Cameron throws a 25th anniversary party for his mother, Colleen, and stepfather, Wendal (Wojo from Barney Miller!), which threatens to be a disaster when Wendal confides to Cameron that he's thinking of leaving Colleen. Making matters worse is the fact that Cameron shared this information with his sister, Sharon, in confidence, and the news has spread quickly. Meanwhile, Sharon and her husband, Don, struggle with intimacy issues in their marriage, which their children soon become all too aware of.


Analysis:

I think this is a very unique and funny show. It is very smart and it is what a sitcom should be. I am a big fan of traditional sitcoms, but this sitcom is so unique that everyone who watches, will like it. If you like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, My Name is Earl or The Office, then you will just love this show. The pilot takes time to get used to because of all the characters of this extended Jewish family. There are a few scenes that are just very clever and hilarious--like when Carrie asks her mom if they do it on his bed or hers, when Marni says that they are going to hell because they are Jewish, when Marni uses a marker to make a little moustache, a la Hitler on Aunt Rae while she is sleeping, and when Sharon and Don duke it out on the lawn! The show should be great each week. To get used to all the characters, I suggest you go to www.treeofnuts.com and click on each character to view a clip or read about them.

As for ratings, I think the show will do decent enough. It will follow According to Jim the first few weeks and the only real competition will be Fox's House. I think it will beat NBC's competing comedy Scrubs. The promos for this show have been very good and I think it captures the show very well. The pilot runs just over 23 minutes, at least the version I saw. Hopefully nothing is cut out when it premieres, because every scene is very important.


Conclusion:

"Mommy's all right, daddy's all right, they just seem a little weird! Surrender! Surrender! But don’t give yourself away, away!"
While I am more of a traditional sitcom lover, this show is flat out good. I watched the show first in June '05 when the other 2005-06 pilots arrived, and this show was for "mid-season," so I didn't really pay much attention to it until just now and it hit me that this show is REALLY good. If you love shows like Arrested Development and My Name is Earl, you will flat out love this show. The show is partially improved which makes it more risky and fun, I think. And unlike other improv shows, this show is not about someone famous or anything, it is just about a large family living in Cincinnati. The show is from Lorne Michaels, who of course is the Emmy Award-winning producer of SNL. Can ABC finally get a sitcom hit, which they have not for a few seasons? Will Sons & Daughters mark good numbers in the Nielsens, while other one camera sitcoms (Arrested Development) mostly couldn't? Tune in every Tuesday starting March 7 for back-to-back episodes of this hilarious new style of a sitcom! And after you do, check out Fred Goss' blog: http://blogs.abc.com/outonalimb/


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 03/03/06

Related Links:

Tree of Nuts - Sons & Daughters Family Tree
Out On A Limb (Fred Goss' Blog)
ABC.com Official Site
TV.com
Internet Movie Database
Sitcoms Online Message Board
Sitcoms Online Photo Gallery

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