SULLIVAN & SON
Friendly Rating: Teens and older
Safety Rating: Language, sex talk and all kinds of negative behavior
Quality Rating: Really funny – even the stuff that you “shouldn’t” be laughing at
New series premieres tonight on TBS at 10 p.m.
There’s a scene in this first episode that pretty much sets the tone for this series. Hank (Brian Doyle-Murray), an older White guy, gets up to toast bar owner Jack Sullivan (Dan Lauria). Hank, a confirmed bigot, talks about how as the Philadelphia neighborhood changed, with first Italians, then Colored, then a variety of other folk moving in, Jack reassured him that all these newcomers were okay.
On one hand, Hank’s attitude is beyond deplorable, on the other, his narrow mind has been pried open an inch or two and you have to give him that. The worst of it? It’s a darned funny scene.
Sullivan & Son is actually about Jack’s son Steve (Steve Byrne), a corporate attorney who realizes at his dad’s birthday party that running the bar knocks socks off of checking corporate documents for mistakes. When Jack decides to sell the bar, Steve decides to buy it, negotiating with his Korean mother Ok Cha (Jodi Long) on the price.
There is plenty of questionable content here, so you’ll probably want to monitor this one, if you decide to let your kids watch at all. Barfly Carol (Christine Ebersole) pretty much raised her son Owen (Owen Benjamin) in the bar. Steve’s former sweetheart Melanie (Valerie Azlynn) is knocking back shots before going back to work as an Emergency Medical Tech. And that’s just the tip of the bad behavior iceberg. Plus the sex jokes.
The problem is, it’s actually pretty funny to the point that you kind of feel guilty giggling at the jokes about Korean culture and other less than appropriate nonsense. This is one of those tough call shows that you may want to save for after the kids are in bed. The bottom line is that you can pretty much get away with a lot of nastiness if you make it funny enough – and this show does. In some respects, it pokes fun at narrow-mindedness and cultural stereotypes without the kind of meanness that often makes this kind of humor not at all humorous. But that still doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for young viewers who may not get the subtle distinctions.