Fox’s ‘Dads’ starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi

September 13, 2013

Dads

(8 p.m. on Fox)

Seth MacFarlane’s camp has coughed up this embarrassingly anachronistic attempt to have its way with the multi-camera,
studio-audience sitcom format, in which Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi star as entrepreneurial game designers who have troubled relationships with their clingy, financially fraught fathers, played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull.

The pilot episode has already been pummeled by some critics, mostly for its relentless attempts at the sort of racially and sexually frank humor that, for mainly intangible reasons, works better in MacFarlane’s animated shows (“Family Guy,” etc.) or his big-screen film “Ted.”

Off-color and offensive humor is not a terrible strategy, as we all know — it worked out just fine for CBS’s “2 Broke Girls.” What’s galling is the utter absence of originality, spirit or even new jokes: When “Dads” wants to make fun of Asians, it dresses a character up as a Harajuku schoolgirl; when it wants to make fun of Latinas, well, here comes the sassy housekeeper; when it’s gays, Mull snaps “You go, girl.” The poor actors look like they’re serving mandatory sentences for the creators’ crimes of laziness. Grade: F

— Hank Stuever

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