Happy Family (2003–2004)

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 60 users  
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A couple has three twentysomething children who refuse to move out of their home.

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Title: Happy Family (2003–2004)

Happy Family (2003–2004) on IMDb 7.4/10

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2004   2003  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Peter Brennan (22 episodes, 2003-2004)
...
 Annie Brennan (22 episodes, 2003-2004)
...
 Todd Brennan (22 episodes, 2003-2004)
Melanie Paxson ...
 Sara Brennan (22 episodes, 2003-2004)
...
 Tim Brennan (22 episodes, 2003-2004)
Susan Gibney ...
 Maggie Harris (21 episodes, 2003-2004)
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Storyline

A couple has three twentysomething children who refuse to move out of their home.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Their kids are grown. But not gone. See more »

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Comedy

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Release Date:

9 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Onnellinen perhe  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Peter Brennan: I put my foot down!
Tim Brennan: But Dad...
Annie Brennan: Your father has put his foot down... there's nothing any of us can do about it now!
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User Reviews

Squeezing the talent out of a talented cast
4 July 2004 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: NBC; Genre: Family Sitcom; Content Rating: TV-PG; Classification: Contemporary (Star range: 1 - 4)

Season Reviewed: Complete series (1 season)

Just the prospect of seeing John Larroquette and Christine Baranski working side-by-side in a series is enough to move me nearly to the edge of my seat, salivating at the comic possibilities, in anticipation. Baranski is probably best known for her breakout performance on 'Cybill'. And Larroquette has been all over town from 'Night Court' to 'The Practice' and his own self-titled sitcom (a cult favorite) in between. So you can only imagine my profound disappointment with the final product of 'Happy Family', a show with two Emmy-award winning, arguably brilliant comic actors at the top of its billing that doesn't get the slightest bit of inspiration from them.

I don't know what I was expecting. Surely not the 2nd coming of 'Seinfeld', but at least a few chuckles. Instead of putting Larroquette and Baranski in the role of the take-charge parents and letting the unhinged hilarity ensue, this generically titled series has them tied down in a standard mother/father role. They are more like tortured victims under the thumb of their sad sack children who refuse to leave the nest. Baranski halfway tries (the show high points are in the few moments when we see her old Maryann act shining through) and Larroquette just looks old and tired. Their hearts aren't into it.

The two almost take a backseat to the show's overwhelming focus on the kids. Tim (Tyler Andrews, 'Boston Public') is the dunderhead who leaves the house for the first time only to get in an Oedipus Rex relationship with the next door neighbor (Susan Gibney, 'Crossing Jordon'). Todd (Jeff Bryan Davis, 'The Downer Channel'), the favorite child, has got problems choosing two women despite being engaged to one (can't we all relate?). Lastly, Sara (Melanie Deanne Moore), the ignored child, is, well, ignored. Laughing yet? A character that is usually limited to 1-liners in a background role, Sara is the most interesting of the lot and Deanne Moore is the most engaging in the cast (TV aficionados may find it interesting to know that she was a support group member in ABC's 'Cupid' - one of the best TV shows to ever grace the small screen). She's got a future. The high point of the series is that it never sells out and gives Sara a love interest. Had this show gone on it might - might - have been interesting to see how well the writers could hold this out.

Creators Moses Port and David Guarascio (both from the seemingly endless writers-for-hire staff of 'Just Shoot Me!' now getting their own shows) want this to be an edgier, more original family sitcom and while they don't really succeed the effort is palpable as identifiable twists are made in a standard sitcom storyline. It's certainly better than 'Shoot' but not by much. These twists might evoke a knowing nod but little else, certainly not the knee-slapping hysterics Port and Guarascio are probably going for. I've got no sympathy for them. They stray away from the truly trite but they never really plant themselves into original ground of their own. So the show just kind of floats around tediously. It's to marginally different for those that want another familiar sitcom and to mediocre for those, like myself, that want to see something different. It only doesn't look bad because so many other shows are noticeably so much worse. Director Pamela Fryman's credit list reads like a what's what of inconsequential (or "hack", if you will) NBC sitcoms and she does her best to keep this show as indistinguishable from those and towing the network line as much as possible.

* ½


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