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Taking a dump with Fox's Dads


Young and old are constantly at odds in Dads. Fox photo

Premiering: Tuesday, Sept. 17th at 7 p.m. (central) on Fox
Starring: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Muller, Peter Riegert, Vanessa Lachey, Brenda Song, Tonita Castro
Produced by: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild

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Elderly, befuddled, pain-in-the-rectum pops are all over the new fall TV landscape.

Fox’s Dads houses not one, but two of them in the season’s most gratuitously tasteless freshman sitcom. Affixed with a howling laugh track, it’s produced by the effortlessly offensive Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show and the big-screen’s Ted), who most recently hosted the Oscars and wasn’t invited back after pissing a lot of people off.

MacFarlane’s oft-officious brand of humor can also be laugh-out-loud funny. But in Dads’ case, it’s by and large repulsive if not toxic. Racial/racist jokes abound in Tuesday’s premiere episode while the show’s father figures are the equivalent of constantly having to rub excrement off a shoe sole. As their offspring demonstrate by playing a game of oneupmanship as to who has the worst person in the world for a dad. It’s a photo finish.

The sons, Eli and Warner, respectively are played by Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi. Peter Riegert and Martin Mull are the Neanderthals, David and Crawford.

“Stay out of the bathroom between 3 and 4. That’s my go time,” says Riegert’s David. Meaning a.m. hours.

“Well, now that you’ve seen it, I won’t be needing a towel from here on out,” Mull’s Crawford happily informs Warner’s Filipina wife, Camila (Vanessa Lachey), after accidentally dropping mast in the couple’s kitchen. Later, at a birthday party for his son at Warner’s abode, David chimes in with, “Thanks to your beautiful maid for making all this food.”

Eli and Warner run Ghost Child Games, whose inventions include the likes of “Kill Hitler” and the sequel they’re trying to sell. Hoping to impress a group of Chinese businessman, they order Asian assistant Veronica (Brenda Song) to dress up in a naughty schoolgirl costume and giggle brainlessly at the “appropriate” moments.

The other cast regular is Eli’s house maid, Edna (Tonita Castro), who cleans up after him 24/7 judging from Tuesday’s premiere and a second episode sent for review titled “Heckuva Job, Brownie.”

Shockingly, that title is not a reference to the maid or Warner’s wife, but to some pot-laced treats. They succeed in transforming David from a dyspeptic old crank into a congenial sort who suddenly endorses gay marriage because “Hey, love is where you find it. Even if it’s at the top of Brokeback Mountain.”

Meanwhile, Mull’s Crawford pops into the workplace to ask Warner, “What if I told you I could corner the entire market on penguin meat?”

Both Warner and Eli decline a bite of the old man’s penguin sandwich, with Eli saying, “I’m Jewish.”

“It’s free,” Crawford fires back. Thunka thunka thud.

Episode 2 eventually gets around to a “Pot Off” to determine who can withstand the most weed-laced brownies. This episode actually is a marginal improvement over the first, but that’s akin to saying burning at the stake is a better execution choice than being boiled in oil.

Among the principal cast members, Green retains a comedic flair that would be far better served in just about anything other than this. Dads is just a senseless pounding of sensibilities, a beat-down without any saving graces. This is a brand of “comedy” that ends its first episode with a series of riffs on the clandestinely photographed “tiny penis” of one of those aforementioned Chinese businessmen.

“It looks like something you pick out of a salad,” in the view of Riegert’s David.

Dads looks like something you’d pick out of an infected cyst.

GRADE: D-minus

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