Family Tools, "Pilot": parental acceptance

Quick Take: Family Tools, "Pilot"
The fun of returning home.

family tools

Review: Family Tools, "Pilot"
(S0101) I was actually pleasantly surprised by Family Tools, a new ABC comedy. From the commercials I thought it would be corny and boring, but, decided to tune in while waiting for a new episode of Modern Family to begin and it turned out to be a fast-paced comedy with quick-witted humor. 

The show opens and Tony (JK Simmons) is on the floor experiencing chest pains while his sister-in-law Terry (Leah Remini) is keeping the EMT's at bay outside until he agrees to retire from his business -- Mr. Jiffy Fix. Meanwhile Terry's tool inept but altruistic son Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) is returning home after receiving a text from his dad saying he needs him. Of course it was his Aunt Terry who actually sent him that text. We soon learn that Jack was recently thrown out of seminary school for trying to make the bible shorter and less preachy. Is he serious? He also failed at being in the Army after shooting his lieutenant in the foot and also at the police academy for shooting himself in the foot. Of course he goes for a third time while working on a deck by shooting himself in the foot with a nail gun. 

The best dynamic was between Jack and Darren (Edi Gathegi) -- Terry's longtime right-hand man who Jack would like to fire but Terry says no. Darren doesn't feel like he needs to listen to or respect Jack and what ensues is the two of them trying to out-do the other one with all sorts of quips. Darren actually buys a puppy under the ruse of repairing their strained relationship... Seriously, it was just their first day together. Jack gets his revenge though when he realizes that flirting with Darren's sister Stitch (Danielle Nicolet) - who continuously flirts with him - strikes a chord with him and he milks it for all it's worth. This show definitely has an interesting cast of characters that could either end up sinking or swimming, but, overall they all have a good heart. 

While I did enjoy the show there were a few things that did bother me. While everyone plays their parts extremely well I am finding it hard to believe that Leah Remini is JK Simmons sister-in-law. It just seems a little off-beat too that she would move in to care for her dead sister's husband - maybe a little more to their backstory would have been helpful - and the dynamic between them seems more like husband and wife than brother-in-law and sister-in-law. If it were the former though the dynamics of the show wouldn't work as well I suppose. It's funnier that Jack's aunt is the one sending him texts as his father than it being his mother. That's just too typical. Also, when the episode opens Tony didn't want his son home and especially didn't want him to take over the family business, but, by the end of the episode he is completely accepting of him and redecorating the basement as his bedroom so he can feel comfortable. I guess I would have like the relationship to be repaired over the course of a few episodes as opposed to immediately in the first one. I guess the idea is to build on their repaired relationship throughout the season now. Oh, and the names Tony and Terry as the "matriarch" and "patriarch" is just too cutesy for my taste. 

I doubt this is going to be ABC's next "Modern Family" but I prefer watching this as a lead-in to it than The Neighbors which lasted one episode too long in my opinion. 

By Frances Seda

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