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In-Laws aired from September 2002 until January 2003 on NBC.

Victor ( Dennis Farina) was a self-made man , the gruff owner of a security business who now lived in a palatial home in the suburbs. Life was just the way he wanted it-he didn't have to work much, and he even got to use his uniformed guards as golfers. Then his beloved daughter Alex ( Bonnie Somerville) moved back in with her new husband , Matt ( Elon Gold), a nerdy cooking school student, so they could save money while he completed his education. What Matt got was an education in dealing with in-laws. Bossy Victor sniped at him constantly, periodically demanding " private convo time" to straighten out his new son-in-law. Stylish mom-in-law Marlene ( Jean Smart) was pretty much occupied with her own life, which alternated between shopping and starting a new career as a real estate agent. Perky Alex was the chief peacemaker between the two men in the household, playing the " daddy's little girl" card to get Victor to calm down.

Suposedly " based on the comedy of Elon Gold," In-Laws was coproduced by Kelsey Grammer.

Character Guide

Dennis Farina as Victor Pellet

Victor Pellet is overbearing and loving, charming and intimidating and quite accustomed to getting his way.

25 years ago he moved his wife and his infant daughter to Elm Grove Court in Armonk NY, 40 miles north of New York City.

The highly successful owner of an armored car company he believes in treating the 'sneaky bastards' that work for him like family.

Victor Pellet
Annotated Facts

Victor was a highly decorated officer in Vietnam and his father fought in WWII.
In the 3rd Episode, when their bed finally arrives, Matt tells Victor that he's glad he doesn't have to sleep on Victor's old army cot from Vietnam any more and in Episode 7, after doing research in preparation for writing Victor's eulogy, Matt refers to him as 'a highly decorated officer'.
In the 6th Episode, when his snobby friend Charles boasts about a whimsical truffle hunt through the Black Forest, pointing out that the Black Forest is in Germany, Victor responds by saying, "Oh yes I know, my father was there once on a whimsical Nazi hunt."

He is deathly allergic to cumin.
The 1st Episode ends with the family matter of factly rushing Victor to the hospital after Matt reveals that he made his dinner with cumin.
Victor snarls, "That's okay, honey, I've got two hours before my windpipe snaps shut."

Victor loves Dean Martin.
In Episode 4 we get our first look at the oval office where a large picture of Deano hangs prominently. He also hired the Amore 5, a 'Dean Martin sound alike' band, for the wedding.

He has had triple bypass surgery.
A fact Victor mentions twice in Episode 1 and Marlene repeats in Episode 8

A big sports fan, watches Yankee games, football, boxing, etc.
Victor is watching a Yankee game, then later a football game in Episode 2 and orders a pay-per-view De La Hoya fight in Episode 4

He is a betting man.
In Episode 4 he places a $500 bet on De La Hoya and in Episode 10, during one of his frequent trips to the track, he puts $5000 on the last race

He hates movies with subtitles, period costumes, and male nudity.
In Episode 3 Alex tells Victor he would have hated the movie they just saw because it was subtitled. He responds by saying, "Hey, if I wanted to read, I'd listen to a book." and in Episode 11 he mentions that two of his movie deal breakers are period costumes and male nudity.

Jean Smart as Marlene Pellet

Having found herself after her daughter's wedding, Marlene Pellet gets her realtors license and declares her days of cooking are over.

She is used to being pampered and enjoys facials, makeovers, and going to the spa.

Unlike her husband and daughter, Marlene is not terribly competitive.

Random Facts:
She often refers to Marlene in the third person.
She doesn't pretend to be able to keep a secret.
Marlene loves wine.
She is Polish.
Both her parents are alive and living in Chicago.
Her father is a retired fireman.
She has at least 2 sisters.

Elon Gold as Matt Landis

Newlywed Matt Landis has quit his job in market research to pursue his dreams of being a chef.

Taking a $30,000 loan from Victor, his father-in-law, he enrolls in a culinary institute and reluctantly moves in with his in-laws.

Honest and likable he seems destined to forever butt heads with Victor

Matt Landis
Annotated Facts

He knew Alex less than 10 months before they were married.
In the 1st Episode Victor asks Matt the retorical question 'how long have you known my daughter?' and then answers '10 months'. This is after they are already married a few weeks!!

His father is dead.
In Episode 2 Matt refers to his father being dead while telling Victor a heartfelt story about a pocketwatch his mother gave him that once belonged to his father. (Matt lost the watch)

Matt is Jewish. In Episode 12 Alex tells her husband that he decorates a mean Christmas tree for a Jewish boy

He has an uncle Phil and a cousin Robbie.
Alex is going to the mall to return the sno-cone maker that Matt's uncle Phil gave them as a wedding gift in Episode 2. Also, in Episode 4, Alex refers to Phil having done the bunny hop with Marlene backwards at their wedding.
While Matt and Alex are reminiscing about their wedding in Episode 4 Matt says he spent most of the time trying to keep cousin Robbie from doing bong hits with the valets.

Took 4 years of Spanish in high school and can't speak a word of it.
In Episode 11 Matt encourages his cooking partner Danny to speak in her native language which he clearly can't understand and when Alex says "Via con dios" Matt responds by telling her the time.

Bonnie Somerville as Alex Pellet Landis

Newlywed, Alex Landis, has returned home to live with Mommy and Daddy and her new husband, Matt.

The 25 year old nurse loves her husband and her parents and is perfectly at ease living back home.

She seems fairly oblivious to the tension that exists between the two men in her life.

She is intensely competitive and takes great pride in her family, traits she has inherited from her father.

Random Facts:
Alex is a college graduate.
Was called Dumbie by the in-kids in high school.
Lost her first tooth the night of a Leon Spinks fight.
She has an aunt Denise.
Alex has been athletic her whole life.

An Episode Guide

1) September 24, 2002 - Pilot Episode: Newlyweds Matt and Alex Landis (Elon Gold, Bonnie Somerville) ask Alex' father Victor (Dennis Farina) for a sizable loan so that Matt can quit his job in market research and enroll in a culinary institute. Victor agrees but insists that the young couple move in with him and his wife (Jean Smart) to save on expenses. The arrangement is great for Alex but Matt sees trouble when his father-in-law's constant annoyance over petty matters prompts him to gruffly call for one-on-one conversations, which are intended to intimidate the young man. That they do, until Matt decides to have his own private showdown with his new relation at a fancy restaurant.

cs: Brian Noonan (Frank, the security guard), Lamont Thompson (Bobby, the security guard)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Alex & Matt's bedroom, Pellet master bedroom, Mancusos

Notes: The premiere finished 46th in the ratings with a 6.3 and an 11 share *

2) September 24, 2002 - Fleetwood Matt: A trip to the eye doctor turns disastrous for nervous son-in-law Matt, who crashes Victor's beloved Cadillac Fleetwood and struggles between the guilt of the accident and the sheer terror of telling his father-in-law until other covered-up accidents that befell the prized vehicle are revealed.

gs: Frank Roman (Reno)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Victor's Fleetwood, Auto Service Center, Victor's basement bar

Notes: This episode (which appeared immediately after the premiere) finished tied for 32nd with a 7.8 rating and a 12 share*

3) October 1, 2002 - The Mattress Kings: Their squeaky mattress makes Matt self-conscious about their sex-life so the young couple decides to get a new bed. Victor talks them into going to his man, the "Mattress King" -- which leads to a male struggle for dominance as Victor insists they get the top of the line model and Matt objects. Meanwhile, Marlene befriends a co-worker -- a condescending former classmate of Alex', who ridiculed her throughout school.

gs: Reginald Veljohnson (Mattress King), Dorie Barton (Stacy Paulsen)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Alex & Matt's bedroom, Mattress King showroom, Victor's sauna

Notes: Airing a week after the premiere this show finished 56th with a 6.2 rating (8.42 million viewers) and a 10 share*

4) October 1, 2002 - Love Is the Key: Matt and Alex have been looking forward for months to a special dinner that will be everything that their wedding dinner was not, romantic and private, but as the day approaches they realize that Alex has forgotten to tell her parents. To make matters worse, Victor is planning on having a few people over for a pay-per-view boxing match on the same night. Victor handles the news well and graciously cancels his party but he mistakenly believes that he and Marlene are invited. In his indomitable style, Victor goes all out to make the night extra special, by recreating their wedding dinner, including hiring the same band.

gs: Frank Roman (Reno) cs: Anthony Crivello (Bandleader), Tina Gasbarra (the waitress), Jamieson Price (the photographer)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Alex & Matt's bedroom, Victor's office

Notes: This episode concluded the second week in a row of back to back shows, finishing 48th with a 6.8 rating (9.51 million viewers) and a 10 share *

5) October 8, 2002 - Monopoly Report Matt is blamed by Victor for jinxing the longtime Pellet family tradition of apple-picking when sudden rainfall ruins the day. Alex tries to save the outing and her husband's face by suggesting a friendly game of monopoly. Matt is frustrated by the amount of family in-jokes and the Pellet's very unique set of rules but when Alex tries to over compensate on his behalf he realizes that 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em'.

sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Alex & Matt's bedroom

Notes: This episode finished in 61st place with a 5.6 rating (7.66 million viewers) *

6) October 15, 2002 - Crown Vic Victor anxiously awaits the announcement of his rise to the title "King of Kings" at the local men's club when the present incumbent, his nemesis Charles, contemplates retirement. But when Matt inadvertently talks Charles' son Chip out of taking over his father's business, Charles reneges on his retirement plans and Victor's long time dream is shattered.

gs: Alan Rachins (Charles Sands), Justin Doran (Chip Sands)
cs: Andrea Savage (Sarah Sands), B.J. Ward (Barbara Sands), Don Amendolia (Joe)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Mancusos

Notes: This episode finished in 69th place with a 4.9 rating (6.93 million viewers) *

7) October 22, 2002: - Love Thy Neighbor When the Pellets' next-door neighbor suddenly kicks the bucket, Marlene is given her first house to sell as a real estate agent. When none of the buyers seem interested in this unique home, Marlene begins to lose faith in herself. Finally, a seemingly perfect match for the house enters but is rudely chased away by Victor's pretentious attitude and Matt makes it his personal mission to get Victor out of the doghouse.

gs: Ricky Gomez (Ricky Cutler)
cs: Kevin Daniels (Carl, the security guard), Jack Axelrod (Mr. Jenkins), Ian Barford (prospective buyer)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, neighbor's living room, Ricky's apt (inside & out)

Notes: This episode finished 64th for the week with a 5.4 rating (7.73 million viewers) *

8) October 29, 2002: - Halloween: Resurrection Enticed by a clever laughing witch decoration, Matt attempts to put the Pellet house in the Halloween spirit, unwittingly breaking a neighborhood "fright night" truce and forcing Victor to call a meeting of the heads of the five families in the hopes of stopping an all-out decoration war. However, when the meeting goes poorly, the families of Elm Grove Court plunge into a full scale, no-holds-barred battle over the most festive Halloween decorations.

gs: Paul Vogt (Dr. Bruce Sherman), Peter Vogt (Dr. Bryce Sherman), James Greene (Lester Hinman), Jack Laufer (Eddie Fisk)
cs: Bonita Friedericy (Adele Morris), Jessie Vane (little girl #1), Hannah Reisman (little girl #2)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Pellet front door (exterior), Drugstore

Notes: In this Halloween episode Victor dressed as a soldier (Private Convo), Marlene was an old fashioned Saloon girl, Alex was a little girl with an ax through her chest, and Matt was Rocky Balboa
This episode finished 72nd for the week with a 4.8 rating (6.73 million viewers) *

9) November 12, 2002: - Games People Play Victor and Alex prepare for a day of father-daughter racquetball -- but when Alex is called in to work and Matt volunteers to play in her stead, he unexpectedly emerges the winner. Victor cries foul and demands a rematch, and Alex is once again caught in the middle of their rivalry.

sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Alex & Matt's bedroom, Pellet master bedroom, Raquetball court

Notes: This episode finished 64th for the week with a 5.3 rating (7.79 million viewers) *

10) November 19, 2002: - Lucky Charms Victor is hoping to enjoy a family day at the horse races without Matt, but when Matt unexpectedly returns home early from school and joins them, he ends up stealing Victor's racetrack mojo. Also, Marlene, while playing hooky from work, spots her boss and her co-worker, Stacy canoodling a little too close.

gs: Dorie Barton (Stacy Paulsen)
cs: Bobby Block (Kid), Gary Poux (security guard), Frank D'Amico (vendor), Linda Igarashi (Phyllis)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Racetrack grandstand, Racetrack betting windows

Notes: This episode tied for 70th place for the week with a 5.1 rating (7.85 million viewers) *

11) December 3, 2002: - If You Can't Stand The Heat When Matt teams up with a talented cooking partner, Danny, Alex has little reason to be concerned, until she meets the culinary beauty "Danielle" - a.k.a. partner Danny.

gs: Roslyn Sanchez (Danny), Sally Kellerman (Sabrina)
sets: Pellet kitchen, Pellet living room, Alex & Matt's bedroom, Danny's apt

Notes: This episode finished in a 3-way tie for 66th place with a 5.1 rating (7.44 million viewers) *

12) December 3, 2002: - Married Christmas When Marlene's father, Howard, pays a visit to the Pellet household for some Christmas cheer, the heartwarming holiday turns into a battle of the father-in-laws. Matt realizes that Howard abused Victor and that's the reason he's so tough on him! In an effort to break the cycle, Matt suggests Victor to tell Howard how he feels, but the two come to heads and it takes Matt to bring them back together again.

sgs: Michael Constantine (Howard)
sets: Pellet living room, Pellet kitchen, Victor's basement bar, Parkway Lanes bowling alley

Notes: In a glaring continuity error, the camera cuts from Alex exiting the kitchen carrying a big white platter to her entering the dining room holding a large green bowl.
This episode, which aired after Frasier, finished in a 3-way tie for 42nd place with a 6.5 rating (9.57 million viewers) *

13) January 7, 2003: - Matt Goes Into Labor When cash-strapped Matt persuades a reluctant Victor to let him fill in for his vacationing assistant, he is puzzled when his father-in-law makes him assume a fake name and pretend they don't know each other. Discovering that Victor has told everyone his daughter actually married a man with the accomplishments of her last boyfriend, he can't resist going to meet the man to see what the fuss is all about. Meanwhile, Marlene becomes a reluctant babysitter for Victor's assistant's pet, the cat from hell.

gs: Dan Cortese, Richard F. Whiten (Daryl), Guy Stevenson (Rod)

14) January 14, 2003: - Two Rooms Arriving in South Carolina to attend a Pellet family wedding, Matt discovers why Victor and Marlene have treated him coldly for the entire nine-hour drive -- Alex told her mother about a fight they'd had the night before, when her excessive packing caused Matt to accuse her of being spoiled. When Matt tells her how upset he is that she involved her parents in their private business, Alex retreats to her parent's hotel room for support -- but to her surprise Victor sides with Matt...and Matt winds up with a reluctant roomie. Meanwhile, Alex and Marlene whoop it up in the hotel bar with Civil War reenactors.

cs: Asante Jones (Bartender) Kevin Kirkpatrick (Bellhop), Ray Porter (Jeff), Ken Magee (Mike)
sets: Pellet kitchen, Pellet living room, hotel lobby, Alex & Matt's hotel room, Victor & Marlene's hotel room, hotel bar

Notes: This episode finished in 67th place for the week with a 4.6 rating *

15) Not Aired: - Mother's Nature Matt's outspoken mother, an environmental activist battles Victor over his plans to build on protected wetlands.

gs: Patti LuPone (Matt's Mom) Theresa Hayes (Mayor Betsy)

Here are the lyrics to The Theme song of the In'Laws

Theme Song:

Preformed By: Michael Bubble
Music By: Bruce Miller
Written By: Jeff Sobule, Adam Schlesinger, Steven M. Gold

Make yourself at home
Don't mind me
My house is your house
Your house is my house
We're all family

Tie up my phone
Sit in my chair
Make lots of noise
Get in my hair

Make yourself at home
Don't mind me.

An Article on The In-Laws

Comic Finds TV 'Gold' With 'In-Laws'
Elon Gold Uses Own Life To Inspire New Sitcom

September 23, 2002

For stand-up comic and television actor Elon Gold, there's got to be an easier approach to his new sitcom than method acting.

That's because the star and co-creator of the new NBC sitcom "In-Laws" really does live with his in-laws when he goes home to New York -- the primary residence for he, his wife Sancha, and their child for the last two years. Of course, living with the in-laws have been known to be a bit troublesome from time to time.

We'll find out how it has affected Gold's life Tuesday night, when the show premieres at 8 p.m. EST with back-to-back episodes. Or, maybe we know already.

"Why do you think I'm nervous this week?" Gold asked me Monday in a interview. "Wednesday morning, those ratings better be good, so I can get out of that house."

Of course, Gold doesn't really despise living with his in-laws. In fact, it inspires his role of Matt, a cooking student who's forced along with his new wife Alex (Bonnie Somerville) to take up residence with her parents Victor and Marlene (Dennis Farina and Jean Smart) in order to save money.

But Matt soon discovers that his and Victor's ingredients don't exactly mix. Victor, a security firm owner, is gruff and overprotective of his little girl -- and such words like "convo time" strike fear in the hearts of men.

You have to remember, Farina is the same guy who tore up the screen with his deadpanning tough guys in such comic gems as "Get Shorty" and "Midnight Run."

"Playing intimidated opposite Dennis is one of the easiest things a guy can do," Gold said, laughing. "But deep down he's the sweetest guy."

It's already clear from the "In-Laws" promo spots that Gold and Farina have a terrific Yin-and-Yang type of chemistry. Gold says that playful atmosphere even continues after the cameras stop rolling.

"It's non-stop," Gold gushed. "Bonnie and Jean are getting a little annoyed already, and are like, 'You guys are just like children.' Dennis and I rag on each other all day. Literally all day, he'll say stuff like 'I just got off the phone with my agent, and you're being replaced tomorrow.'

"Then there was the other day, when he told me 'Last night I fell asleep watching TV,' and I said, 'Oh, there must have been one of your movies on.' All day long we get each other. But it's all out of love. I think that shows on screen."

The Real 'In-Laws'

While "In-Laws" isn't the latest foray into reality television, Gold would be remiss not to point out that much of what you see is based on real-life experiences.

"It's much more fun to play the guy who lives with his in-laws than to be the guy," Gold explained. "But the truth is, this is me, so it's not a big acting gig. I've been playing this role all my life. I met my wife when I was 15, and two years later my father-in-law kicked me out of the house just for being there past 10 p.m."

For the record, Gold wants you to know that's he's not trying to gleam off the success of the hit movie comedy "Meet the Parents," where a fumbling Ben Stiller tries dreads his first encounter with his paranoid future father-in-law (Robert De Niro) -- an ex-CIA operative.

"This is me -- in fact, 'Meet the Parents' is ripping me off," Gold said, laughing. "The truth is, when my father-in-law saw 'Meet the Parents' he came up to me and said, 'You know, Elon, you could have been playing that Ben Stiller role,' and I'm like, 'Oh, believe me I do, every day of my life."

He's Gonna Make It After All

"In-Laws" is no doubt Gold's best opportunity to date, and it is well-deserved considering the time he's spent in the business paying his dues. Now 29, Gold has been doing stand-up comedy gigs since he was 17. Apart from that, he's shot pilot shows for every network, appeared on sitcoms on ABC and the WB, and did impeccable voice impressions of the claymation version of Howard Stern on the hit MTV series "Celebrity Deathmatch."

But it was his time working alongside television luminary Mary Tyler Moore that provided, for the lack of better words, a golden opportunity for Gold. In 2000's "Mary Tyler Moore Show" reunion movie, "Mary & Rhoda," Gold played Mary Richards' new boss.

"I would joke around saying, 'I'm the Lou Grant of the new millennium' and 'I'm the Ed Asner without the back hair,'" Gold mused. "There was talk of a series, but it never turned into anything more than a fun movie with a television legend."

But while a new show didn't materialize, a bond between Gold and Moore did. He was thrilled that she accepted the role of his mom in a television pilot a few months later, but again, an opportunity to do the show never came to pass.

But that's hardly going to deter Gold from trying and trying again. And even a short conversation with him -- hearing the excitement and enthusiasm in his voice just one day prior to the biggest debut of his life -- was enough to convince me that, like his friend Mary, he's really going to make it after all.

That's because he embraces rejection and learns from it, rather than letting it tear him down. After all, it got him to the point where he is now.

"If I had success when I started when I was 17, I'd be a different person -- I'd be total idiot because I wouldn't be appreciative," Gold observed. "I've grown as a stand-up comedian and as an actor. Some people are as good as it gets from the get-go, like Eddie Murphy, who at 19 was brilliant out of the gate.

"As for me, I was cute. I was OK. But I needed the time and some of those setbacks and failures because it made me stronger, more grateful and better at my craft."

Sure, the rejections have also been tough on Gold's finances, but he's not ashamed to admit that that's why he lives with his in-laws. But in the end, he knows that doing what you love doing is what brings it all home. And one of these days, that will be a home his family can call their own.

"I really hope this show goes well -- not to just get out of my in-laws' house -- but because it's really a great time," Gold enthused. "All day long it's fun. Anybody that's on a sitcom is just a lucky, lucky guy."

A Review from The New York Daily News

Talents stranded in sitcoms
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

IN-LAWS. Tonight at 8, NBC. 1 1/2 Stars.

HIDDEN HILLS. Tonight at 9:30, NBC. 1 1/2 Stars.

NBC launches two new comedies tonight, and they're both disappointing.

"In-Laws," starring Dennis Farina and Jean Smart, wastes both actors, and "Hidden Hills," with equal disregard for originality, wastes Paula Marshall.

"In-Laws" (at 8, with a second episode in a special time slot at 8:30) is the bigger disappointment, and the bigger crime, because Farina and Smart are perfectly cast opposite one another. He's grumpy and feisty, she's brassy and feisty, and each of them commands interest when on screen. When they share a scene, the energy level is palpable.

Unfortunately, the scripts are laughable - but in the pathetic, not humorous, sense. And the situations and punch lines are so retro, they make "I Love Lucy" seem cutting-edge.

Pick any spot in the show, listen to any line of dialogue from any character, and I'll bet you can fill in the next line without difficulty. And the line after that, and the line after that.

Adding to the lameness is the casting of the younger generation. Even with a predictable script, "In-Laws" might have been tolerable if Bonnie Somerville and Elon Gold - as the young newlyweds who move into her parents' home - were played by actors who are able to stand up to Smart and Farina, or at least hold their own comedically.

In this "Meet the Parents" variation, though, all the weight is with the parents, and the scripts make even that a lightweight proposition.

"Hidden Hills" (at 9:30), which is obviously intended to be a fast-paced, whirlwind look at crazy suburbia, instead turns out to be a lesson in how a sitcom can use fast-paced visuals, snappy music, antic editing and sexy fantasy sequences and still look tired.

Justin Lewis and Paula Marshall are the stars of this one, playing a couple married long enough that their lives are directed more by their kid's needs than their own. Dondre T. Whitfield and Tamara Taylor play their best friends, and Kristin Bauer, completing the TV template of wacky suburban life, plays a soccer mom who's single, friendly and happens to run an adult Web site.

The alleged originality in this show runs to slow-motion fantasy sequences aping "Flashdance" and slow-motion reality sequences involving a man getting hit by a baseball in his most sensitive area.


The only successful aspect of "Hidden Hills" is Marshall's character, who listens to every line of her husband's as if she's heard it all before, or can't quite believe what she's hearing this time.

Viewers will have a similar reaction - but Marshall in this sitcom, just like Farina and Smart in "In-Laws," deserves much better.

A Review of The In-Laws


Those who can't get enough of Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller's disturbing antics in "Meet the Parents" will love "In-Laws," the new NBC sitcom highlighting the woes of family life.

The saga and humiliation continues after the newlyweds move in with the wife's parents. Only this time, the son-in-law does not spray paint the cat, transform the backyard into a swamp of sewage and set the gazebo on fire. He does, however, manage to wreck the father-in-law's beloved Fleetwood, earning the nickname "Fleetwood Matt," probably the lamest nickname since American Pie's "the Sherminator." Matt, the son-in-law portrayed by Elon Gold, and Victor, the father-in-law portrayed by Dennis Farina, clash horns like two rams in spring, only no dominant male emerges from the confusion. Unfortunately, Farina can't decide between the cynical Italian gangster and the hurt daddy look, lacking Tony Soprano's suaveness to reconcile the two. Half the time, he summons Matt for "private convo time," which sounds as brutal as a cavity search, but moments later, he weeps about his daughter no longer being a "precious bundle of joy" he fed at night "when Marlene's boobs conked out." Gold, in turn, sets himself up for each situation that might potentially result in a put-down with the alacrity of a practiced masochist. The battle between Matt and Victor begins when at a family dinner, Alex (Bonnie Sommerville, otherwise known as the much-suffering Mona from "Friends") decides that Matt and she should move in with her folks to save on rent and shorten the daily commute to work. Ironically, of all reasons, the self-inflicted pain of living with the in-laws boils down to convenience. Diligently portraying the daughter whom no guy deserves, Alex appears in the show in various shades of pink and calls Victor "daddy."

Meanwhile, Matt has got the whole world going against him. The second worst thing to being a male nurse, Matt pursues the career of a chef, borrowing the money for his education from, of all people, his father-in-law. Why? Nobody knows. Throughout the show, the actors snap predictable punch lines of which, only a couple surpass the ones in "Meet the Parents." Only Jean Smart, who portrays Marlene, the mother-in-law, has mastered the art of sarcasm enough to sound funny at times. A newly converted real-estate agent, this classic suburban mom is so proud of her career change that she refers to her old self in the third person, which sounds as spooky as Gollum's "my precious" from "The Lord of The Rings."

To redeem its vices, the show has its moments. After Matt crashes the Fleetwood, Victor asks the car mechanic in a hushed voice, choking back tears, "She's lost a lot of transmission fluid; is there any structural damage?" But the show quickly runs out of steam. It seems that "In-Laws" and its viewers are in for a long ride before NBC finds a show that will not feed on jokes that better actors have already cracked at a faster pace in funnier situations.

--Inna Golovatch, MUSE Staff

Here is Dennis Farina's Obituary from the Hollywood Reporter

Actor Dennis Farina Dies at 69

10:21 AM PDT 7/22/2013 by Erin Carlson , Duane Byrge

UPDATE: The former Chicago police officer played good guys and bad on such series as "Law & Order" and "Police Story" and in such films as "Midnight Run" and "Get Shorty."

Dennis Farina, the actor and former Chicago police officer who played coiled, hot-tempered characters in movies and on television, died Monday in Scottsdale, Ariz., from a blood clot in his lung, his publicist said. He was 69.

Farina, who starred as characters on both sides of the law, was perhaps most memorable as short-fused Miami gangster Ray “Bones” Barboni in Barry Sonnenfeld’s sharp comedy crime thriller Get Shorty (1995).

He won an American Comedy Award for the role and shared a SAG nomination for outstanding performance by a cast with John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, et al.

Farina also appeared as Det. Joe Fontana in 46 episodes of NBC’s Law & Order, added to the cast following the death of Jerry Orbach. That made him the only performer on the Dick Wolf series with an actual background in law enforcement. He left in 2006 to pursue film projects.

“I was stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis’ unexpected passing this morning,” Wolf said in a statement. “The Law & Order family extends sympathy and condolences to his family. He was a great guy.”

Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2013

Farina's other small-screen credits include Michael Mann’s late 1980s NBC crime drama Crime Story; the private detective title character on his own 1998 CBS series, Buddy Faro, which only lasted eight episodes; hosting Unsolved Mysteries starting in 2008 after the death of original host Robert Stack; and, more recently, a stint as Dustin Hoffman’s right-hand man, Gus, in David Milch’s short-lived HBO horse-racing series Luck.

Farina also famously starred as a Chicago mob boss swindled by accountant Charles Grodin in Martin Brest’s Midnight Run (1988); an army colonel in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998); the retired lawman father of Jennifer Lopez’s character in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight (1998); and a Jewish diamond merchant in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. (2000).

His other credits include Another Stakeout (1993), Striking Distance (1993), Little Big League (1994), That Old Feeling (1997), The Mod Squad (1999), Reindeer Games (2000), Sidewalks of New York (2001) and Big Trouble (2002).

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great actor and a wonderful man,” his publicist, Lori De Waal, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Dennis Farina was always warm-hearted and professional, with a great sense of humor and passion for his profession. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues. We hope that he finds a new life where great roles are plentiful and the Cubs are always winning the pennant.”

A 10-year veteran of the Chicago police force, Farina was discovered by director Mann during the filming of Thief (1981). Farina had served as Mann’s tour guide. Impressed by his street savvy, the director cast him in the film. Farina parlayed that performance into a number of TV guest-star appearances on such NBC crime series as Hunter and Miami Vice, executive produced by Mann.

He also appeared in Mann’s Manhunter (1986), one of Thomas Harris’ novels featuring Hannibal Lecter. Farina played dogged FBI pursuer Jack Crawford, a role later limned by Scott Glenn in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs.

His intense swagger also cut smartly in comedy: Farina played in HBO's Golden Globe-winning telefilm Empire Falls (2005) and starred in the NBC sitcom In-Laws in the early 2000s.

More recently, he acted in such movie fare as You Kill Me (2007), What Happens in Vegas (2008), Bottle Shock (2008) and The Last Rights of Joe May (2011), which he also produced. He has roles in two films yet to be released: Authors Anonymous and Lucky Stiff, now filming, according to

Farina was born a leap-year baby to Sicilian-American parents on Feb. 29, 1944, in Chicago. He was the fourth son and youngest of seven children. After graduating from high school, he served three years in the Army and then entered law enforcement. He was a Chicago cop during the 1968 riots sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and contended the force got a “bum rap” from the media. Reportedly, he was such a bad shot that his fellow officers nicknamed him “The Great Wounder.” He was a cop for 18 years.

After being discovered by Mann, he took a year’s leave of absence from the force. After a year in Los Angeles, he decided to concentrate on acting full-time and made his foray into television with the 1984 American Playhouse production of The Killing Floor and the 1986 telefilm Triplecross.

“I left that life a long time ago,” he told his hometown Chicago Tribune in 2005. “I was a good cop, a good detective, and I’ve still got some good friends on the force. No, I don't offer any inside information to the Law & Order writers. I’m an actor now."

Farina also guest-starred on such TV series as China Beach and Tales From the Crypt and this season appeared in two episodes as the dilettante father of Nick (Jake Johnson) on Fox’s New Girl.

A veteran of the Chicago theater, Farina starred in such plays as Joe Mantegna’s Bleacher Bums; A Prayer for My Daughter, directed by John Malkovich; and Tracers, a Joseph Jefferson Award winner for best ensemble directed by Gary Sinise.

Survivors include sons Dennis, Michael and Joseph and six grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The 100 Club of Chicago, which provides for the families of police officers, firefighters and paramedics who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Funeral services are pending.

Mike Barnes contributed to this report.

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Date: Tue May 13, 2008 � Filesize: 39.1kb � Dimensions: 594 x 398 �
Keywords: In-Laws: Cast Photo


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