The McCarthys Series Premiere Was Not That Funny
Considering The McCarthys was thrown into CBS’s Thursday night lineup alongside The Big Bang Theory, Mom, and Two and a Half Men, viewers probably had the new sitcom figured out before it even premiered. And based on the series pilot episode, which aired Thursday, the newcomer lived up to the network’s standard of broad and chummy TV.
If the series’ title doesn’t already give it away, The McCarthys follows an Irish family living in South Boston, which of course means all plot lines will involve drinking, sports, and commentary about how large the family is. Included are a delusional mother, a basketball-consumed father, fraternal comic relief twins, a melodramatic sister, and a gay son. The premiere revolved around the family trying to convince Ronny, the gay son, to stay with his family instead of taking a job in Rhode Island, because Rhode Island is so, so far away.
The McCarthys creator Brian Gallivan is a Boston native who is gay and based the show on his family. According to the Globe, Gallivan also seems to think his own family is hilarious, which might be true, but the comedy certainly didn’t translate well into a scripted TV show. And here’s why.
The gay son, Ronny, is supposed to be the good ol’ plot twist that separates The McCarthys from every other family sitcom, but we all know that’s not a riveting curveball for television anymore. Every character on the show falls into sitcom archetypes: the mother is The Matriarch, the father is The Wisecracker, the twins are The Bully and The Goofball, the sister is The Bigmouth, etc. That’s not to say the characters don’t play well off each other, but their jokes are safe, and nothing feels new. It’s all very Roseanne meets Home Improvement meets “My Son Is Gay?”
Joey McIntyre is one of the stars of the show, playing the bossier of the two twins. As a famed Boston lad himself, he is clearly supposed to be the show’s draw. He does an OK job considering what he’s working with, but that’s just about as much credit as he’s going to get.
As for how Bostonians are represented, considering we’ve had our fair share of terrible representatives, let’s acknowledge that The McCarthys isn’t the worst of the worst. In fact, although at times it’s over-acted, the characters mostly conquer Boston stereotypes without being too offensive, obnoxious, or portraying someone as an outlaw…so far, anyway.
One of the best ongoing jokes in the pilot episode, which stays so unbelievably true to Boston natives, is that Providence is “not a real place.” It’s a “foreign land,” one character jokes, and when Ronny finally agrees to stay in Boston, his mother thanks him for not going to that “God forsaken wasteland of a city.”
At its worst, The McCarthys lacks originality, and at its best, it shows just how white Joey McIntyre’s teeth are. It’s not the most awful show on TV right now, but you can definitely skip it.