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The War at Home



Premiere Date: Sunday, September 11, 2005 (Warner Bros. Television)
Network: FOX
Time: Sundays at 8:30 p.m.
Cast: Starring Michael Rapaport, Anita Barone, Kaylee Defer, Kyle Sullivan, Dean Collins


Once again, FOX, the network that has brought you seemingly billions of sitcoms about dysfunctional families, has yet another sitcom about a dysfunctional family. This time it is "The War at Home," where a dysfunctional family tries to make it through life without one of the kids getting pregnant. Yes, most families have bigger goals, but this family is so messed up that THAT would be quite an accomplishment.

Cast Details:

The show doesn't exactly have an all-star cast. We have Michael Rapaport of "Boston Public" playing the father, Dave, and Anita Barone (who has previous claims to fame from other extremely successful sitcoms like, oh, "Daddio" and "The Jeff Foxworthy Show") as the mother, Vicky. The characters seem to be a little bit like Al and Peggy Bundy from "Married... With Children" in a way. We don't learn too much about them in the first episode though. Everything seems more focused on the children.

For the children we have Kaylee Defer from "Quintuplets" playing Hillary, the only daughter. She is just an average teenager that is just growing up faster than she should be. But then there is the son Larry, played by Kyle Sullivan. He is far from being average, and seems to have certain issues. He seems to enjoy dressing in women's clothing, which isn't really normal for a typical teenager. Then there is the youngest son, Mike, played by Dean Collins. Of course, just like many other sitcoms, we don't know much about the youngest one, and this show is no exception. He probably had one or two lines at most in the first episode.


We have basically two stories going on at once, both involving the two kids that'll probably get all the attention throughout the run of the series. The first story involves the daughter, Hillary, wanting to date a freshman--that is, a COLLEGE freshman, who is two years older than her. Considering that Vicky herself knows what it is like to date older guys, she wants to make sure her daughter doesn't do that as well. And Dave, well, he is the type of person (as he says when his character talks to the camera) that will cause anatomical harm to anybody that messes with his daughter. So what does Hillary do when the parents say no? She brings home somebody her own age--a black guy. Believing it is just a scheme to make them accept the college guy, Vicky and Dave decide to let her play along... but by the end of the episode, will they have made the right decision?

Meanwhile we have Larry, who (despite the fact that Dave thinks he is gay) is desperate to get a girl. So, since he can't legally drive, he decides to steal his mom's car and to go out with his friend (who may actually BE gay) to show girls that he drives so that he can get attention. Of course, he doesn't want anybody in the neighborhood to notice that HE is driving, so what does he do? Get a wig and a blouse so that he looks like his mother. Only problem is, he forgets to take off the blouse when he is out. Then when he returns home, younger brother Mike sees him walking in, in drag, and proceeds to tell Vicky and Dave. Then Larry is faced with the ultimate decision: admit that he was driving the car or just tell his parents he enjoys dressing in drag.


Hmm... not exactly a great show. The plot wasn't really all that great and it was only mildly amusing. There was way too much emphasis in the episode based upon the stereotype what black guys are supposedly like in bed, which is really an old joke, only made worse with the repetition here. And the message about the interracial dating was not really a great one (parents would accept a guy that is over 18 but not a black guy??). Hopefully other episodes won't be based upon stuff as trivial as that. Also, there is way too much cutting in/cutting out from the show to the characters talking to the camera. This works well on some shows, but there comes a point where this just gets annoying. Still, there were some good moments in here, especially the plot involving Larry and his method of getting girls.


To me, this appears to be yet another FOX sitcom that is just waiting to be canceled (just think about the first episode of the fourth season of Family Guy where Peter rattled off a LONG list of Fox shows that had been canceled just in the past few years). I'm not saying it is a horrible show, there certainly are worse sitcoms that FOX has brought out recently. Stacked, The Pitts, Quintuplets, and others come to mind. I'd be shocked if this show lasts a full season. Still, if there is nothing else on, you might want to catch it. It is probably better than anything else in its timeslot.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/12/2005.

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