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Sons & Daughters: Family Finance / Karaoke

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 22nd 2006 12:37AM
Cast of Sons & DaughtersJust like in scripted comedy, episodes of improvised comedy can be hit or miss. Sometimes the hits and misses happen in the space of a single episode. That's what happened tonight's two episodes of Sons & Daughters. Both had their funny moments, but both also dragged in spots, but not because there were overly dramatic moments like there were last week. It's because the funny lines just didn't fly. And I think I can pinpoint the problem: Not enough Carrie.

Just kidding. I really did think, though, that I'd see more of her after the strong showing she had in the first two episodes. She really hasn't had much to do in any of the four that have aired since then, which is unfortunate. In fact, most of the supporting characters get the short shrift in both these episodes, with the possible exceptions of Don and Whitey. This is a problem; as much as I like Cam and Liz, they're probably the least interesting characters in the show. It's the "How I Met Your Mother dilemma": do you stay with the boring leads that you've built the stories around or go off and explore the more interesting people in their universe? Unfortunately, S&D is staying with it's central couple right now, and it's less funny because of it.

The first episode, "Family Finance", deals with the consequences of family lying more than family finance. Cameron borrows money from Sharon, but when Don says no, Sharon turns to Colleen, who uses the opportunity to make Sharon her servant. Sharon in turn makes Cam work the concessions at Don's lousy play. Don's pretty funny here; he's spent the last couple of episodes rehearsing, and we find out that he says one line, falls to the floor, and plays dead for the rest of the play. Well, except for when all hell breaks loose after Cameron blabs (again) during intermission; then he just lies on the stage and mutters at Sharon.

There are other family matters going on: Liz deals with Henry's stress-related "problem" (which she blabs to "Mr. Loose-Lips", who let everyone else know), and Whitey gets and loses a job with Don, which of course makes Jenna upset.

I'm really starting to like Whitey; he means well, but he's just a screw-up. You can see he loves Jenna and his son and wants to be part of the family, which is also a running theme in the second episode, "Karaoke". Whitey always goes to see Jenna sing, then purposely gets shitfaced and falls off the stage doing a Cher song, just to get Jenna to leave date Wylie and take him home (Wylie's a wimp and he knows it, doesn't he?).

There's lots more funny stuff here than there was in the first episode. Cam doesn't believe in Jenna's career and justifies it by saying, "She doesn't have a dream, she has a pipe dream. So I'm not a dream crusher; I'm a pipe dream crusher." Cam and Liz get into a fight over her possible return to grad school; he makes up for it by taking over the karaoke stage and singing whatever song was next: Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". It was actually quite romantic; Liz even threw her bra on the stage (Colleen almost did too, which was subtle but funny). But first, Cam, Don, and Wendal see that Don's son is da man! An older yoga instructor MILF girlfriend! Way to go, Jeff! Don's reaction to that is priceless.

See, that's what I mean; the supporting characters have the best moments in this show. And while Cam is a nervous and neurotic blabbermouth, it seems like that's the only thing he is. So what do you think the solution to this is? Do you think Fred Goss and company have seen this problem and fixed it for the remaining five episodes? Or is this show going to slide down into mediocrity on the backs of it's central characters? You tell me, 'cause I certainly hope not.

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Actually, "How I Met Your Mother" suffers from the "Will & Grace" dilemma. I mean, the boring leads are even the titular characters.

Ok, I admit, I just wanted to say titular.

March 22 2006 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is hilarious!
All the characters are perfect just the way they are!!!

March 22 2006 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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