‘Welcome to the Family’ on NBC

Welcome to the Family

Thursday, Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m., NBC

A giant crane (L) that will lift up the sunken 'Sewol' ferry is silhouetted against the sunset in Jindo on April 24, 2014. Furious relatives of missing victims from South Korea's ferry disaster attacked a top coastguard official accusing him of lying about efforts to retrieve bodies still trapped in the submerged vessel. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURINICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

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My nominee for quickest and most punitive cancellation goes to this facile dramedy about two 40-something couples who must learn to get along because their teenage children — a boy who is a Stanford-bound valedictorian and a girl who is an unfortunate iteration of the clueless blonde stereotype — are suddenly expecting a baby and have decided to keep it.

Or perhaps they’re being forced to keep it, because they live in some parallel America in which Roe v. Wade has been fully reversed, thus reducing at least one obvious solution to the dilemma. (Which would, of course, cut the premise off right there; I understand that the point of the show is the pregnancy.) The truth is, these kids do live in a parallel America, the imaginary land of network television, which hasn’t found a way to talk frankly about abortion in the half-hour comedy format since, I don’t know, “Maude”? I’m not at all opposed to the personal choices made by the characters in “Welcome to the Family,” I just wish they’d had the choice to make.

The foregone conclusion in the pilot is galling, especially in the scene where the teenagers’ combative fathers (“Glee’s” Mike O’Malley and “Desperate Housewives’s” Ricardo A. Chavira) are seen chasing after the girl, believing she’s about to get on a rollercoaster. The metaphor is quite blunt: Save the fetus at all costs! (And forget Stanford!)

That’s my editorial carp, but here’s my review: What a limp and unfunny show; it’s just more Thursday-night clutter. Grade: F

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