The Millers, which premiered Thursday (8:30/7:30c), features the welcome return of Will Arnett (Arrested Development) and Margo Martindale (Justified). But is the show itself a welcome treat, or did the flatulence-happy sitcom stink?
Much of the early buzz around CBS’ new multi-cam comedy from Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl, Raising Hope) centered on Emmy-winner Martindale and her gassy behavior in the pilot. Martindale plays Carol, the matriarch of the Miller family, whose prodigal son Nathan (Arnett) disrupts the whole family’s flow by revealing that he divorced his wife (to be played in later episodes by Happy Endings‘ Eliza Coupe). In response, Miller patriarch Tom (Beau Bridges, Stargate SG-1) decides to leave his wife, as well, and move in with daughter Debbie (Jayma Mays, Glee), leaving Carol with Nathan.
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The show’s strength lies in its cast. Joining Arnett & Co. are Nelson Franklin (New Girl) as Debbie’s hubby Adam, newcomer Eve Moon as Debbie and Adam’s daughter and J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Nathan’s BFF Ray. The pilot’s script, however, relies on well-trod sitcom tropes: Health food is gross! Cursing kids are funny! Women talk a lot!
Arnett and Martindale, two of TV’s finest, do sometimes manage to get a genuine laugh; for instance, it’s hard not to be charmed by their climactic, Dirty dance to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”. But too often, Carol’s intestinal issues provide the bulk of the punchlines.
The first time Nathan calls his mother out for farting, she tells him to relax: “It’s just a fart – some people think they’re funny!” He explains that they’re only funny when you can hear them. This rule applies to the show at large: The Millers is funny when it’s being loud, letting its talented and hilarious cast be as big as it can be. In its quieter moments, The Millers needs to find its footing; with such a talented cast and creator behind it, we’re confident the show can let ‘er rip.
But enough about what we thought: What was your take on The Millers? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!Follow @mishasolomontv