Pilot Roundtable: Dads

A new television season is upon us, and with that comes a whole slew of new comedies and dramas to pick apart, complain about, and even sometimes celebrate! But which ones are worth watching? Our Pilot Roundtable series is designed to help you answer that question for yourself! Up next, we’ve got…


Staff Writer Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)
Dads is, without a doubt, the worst show that I’ve ever watched.  I’ve never felt so physically ill after watching television, not even when I had a serious case of the FEELS about something bad happening on one of my favorite shows.  To say that the creators of this show ought to be ashamed of themselves would be an egregious understatement; not only have they written a supposed comedy that is utterly unfunny, but they also managed to do it in such a way as to offend pretty much every group possible.  I don’t even…Asian schoolgirl costume to show off diversity, followed by someone asking where the gay guy was?  Is THAT really something that I saw happen?  And let’s not talk about the laugh tracks that were placed so often that it was like someone, somewhere KNEW there was going to be no real laughter and felt the need to overcompensate.  I managed to laugh three times during Dads:  All of them were in response to Kyle’s live tweet reactions.  I feel like I need a 24 hour Castle marathon and a full bottle of vodka to cleanse my palette after watching Dads.  The worst part?  I stupidly wanted this show to succeed because I adore Seth Green from his Buffy days. As it turns out, I’ll never be able to look at those the same way again, especially since Seth himself looked like he was channelling his werewolf character in this awful, AWFUL show what with the crazy hair and all.  FFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
Verdict:  Thumbs Down  (Mood down.  Desire to give any new shows a try ever again?  DOWN.)

Senior Editor Kyle Trembley (@KyleLovesTV)
Based on the pilot, here is a partial list of what FOX’s ‘Dads’ thinks are the very funniest things in the whole wide world: Accents, killing Hitler, killing Hitler with a Menorah, the word “Orientals”, Asians, “sexy Asian schoolgirls”, racism towards Asians, Asians having “tiny penises”, Shiite Muslims, jokes about women being maids, the phrase “punch the Puerto Rican”, the term “gay guy”, impossibly long runs of jokes (I guess?) about fathers, pantomiming the murder of one’s father, hating one’s father.

‘Dads’ has gotten a lot of negative press for being offensive, so much so that the show has incorporated it into its own horribly misguided, pigheaded marketing campaign. But past that, this pilot was unfunny to a degree that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. And it’s not like this is a highly-experimental premise that went awry, a noble effort turned sour. No, this is an extremely traditional show that just gets EVERY. SINGLE. JOKE. WRONG. I cannot even begin to fathom how a single person involved – actor, writer, producer, network executive – thought this is something worth putting on television, much less leading off a Tuesday night lineup with three smart, modern comedies. It’s inexplicable. It’s unthinkable. I cannot believe that ‘Dads’ exists, and the television world is notably worse because of it.
Verdict: Thumbs Down straight into the depths of Hell.

Guest Contributor Bridget L. (@CoffeeByCaskett)
I must admit I was not excited in the least to watch the Dads pilot based on promos I had seen for the show. So I was coming into it not really giving it a fair shot. I wish I could say that it did something, ANYTHING, to change those preconceived notions, but alas it did not, and that my friends is an understatement. Dads is the worst thing I’ve had to watch on TV in awhile. I’m not sure you could pay me to sit through another episode of it. There’s a horrible laugh track that plays through the entire show and 5 minutes in it made me want to stab my eye out. I don’t care if it’s the funniest show on TV ever, no show is going to have laughs at the frequency this track was playing. How actors such as Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, who I both have immensely enjoyed in previous roles in their careers, read this script and thought it was a good idea is beyond me. Are they really in need of money that bad that they signed up for this? I really hope that this is the first show cancelled as it’s definitely deserving of that title. I can hardly remember when I’ve been so relieved to see the fade to black signaling the end of the episode as I was watching this pilot. Avoid at all costs and don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Verdict: Thumbs WAY WAY Down

Managing Editor David Warren (@FunDavy)
This Fox pilot, (injected with an awful CBS style laugh track) is mind blowing in the fact that any creative team could output – and Fox could broadcast – such a dismal product.   One of the many problems with this pilot is that the older fathers who annoy their sons have the same effect on the audience.  If the premise of ‘Dads’ involved their fathers moving out, then this series might stand a chance.  Wait, who am I kidding, no it wouldn’t.  Enough with the optimism.  The performances by Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi are decent; though it’s hard to judge with the dialogue they are given.   At least I didn’t want them to go away like the way I feel about their dads.
Verdict: Thumbs Down

Staff Writer Jennifer McIntyre (@jenn_mcintyre)
What did I just watch…? Thank god that Dads has a laugh track or else there would be no one to laugh at this horrible show. Seth MacFarlane needs to stick to his animated programs and being controversial at the Oscars because wow… just wow. Save yourself the time and bang your head against your desk for 5 minutes straight, the ensuing pain will have the same effect as spending ten minutes watching this show. The worst thing about Dads, and believe me, it was hard for me to decide what it is, is that it wastes the talent of so many great actors. It reminds me of Horrible Bosses- a horrible movie that squandered such a great cast and crew. DON’T WATCH DADS.

Staff Writer Kate Humphrey (@thekatehumphrey)
I haven’t had high hopes for Seth MacFarlane as of late, simply because his humor has spiraled into a territory I don’t find appealing: mainly that of the standard privileged male variety. Other cultures get to be made fun of, sexual harassment is not problematic at all, and white guys get to deal with all of their self-made problems. This is essentially the first episode of Dads, and I started it hoping for the best. I love Giovanni Ribisi as an actor and Seth Green was really nice to me at Comic-Con once, but their characters are spoiled gamer manchildren.

I feel like the basic premise is a fine, classic sitcom-y story, and it could have been really nice. All of the attempted sweetness between the sons and their dads, however, is totally negated by the disturbing treatment of the secondary, female, racially ambiguous or exotically Asian characters. As the episode went on, my head kept cranking to the side and I couldn’t help but shout “No!” at the screen as truly tasteless jokes were made. It’s not funny when a girl is forced to dress up sexily for potential investors, it’s not funny when said investors send her penis photos, and it’s not “reclaiming her dignity” when she threatens to blackmail him. Workplace harassment, hilarious! Wives just being nags and only being seen in the kitchen, classic! For shame, Dads. For shame.
Verdict: Thumbs Down


Our consensus: ‘Dads’ is an atrocity and a war crime.

Did the public watch? Yeah. 5.5 million total viewers, 2.1 rating in the demo. Let’s just chalk it up to rubbernecking and move on.

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