Unconventional families have now become a very conventional premise for TV sitcoms. And while this plot repetitiveness fails to offer that ‘slapstick laugh-out-loud humor’, it does still make us laugh and tickle. ‘Fam’ as highly indicated by its title, is no different of a family sitcom. Although, much unlike the recent sitcoms on CBS including Happy Together and The Neighborhood, it does not all send the polished skill of a seasoned cast down the drain. Starring Vampire Diaries alum Nina Dobrev in a titular role, Fam boasts a mighty ensemble of theater aces.
Fam – A Cobbled Story
For its plot, Fam jerry-builds the synopsis of various other sitcoms and, at times, even sopa operas. The story has a ghost of WB’s ‘What I Like About You’ in it, but its adept assembly gives it a fresh feel. Quickly introducing a newly engaged couple, Clem (Nina Dobrev) and Nick (Tone Bell), the multi camera sitcom makes it motive clear: It’s a story devoid of political edginess, quirky subplots and will only linearly communicate its subject ie. Family. Clem loves her in-laws Walt and Rose (Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sheryl Lee Ralph) as she pictures them as a perfect couple. Clem has been out of contact with her irresponsible father (Gary Cole). In fact, she despises him so much that she his kept his existence a secret from her boyfriend and in-laws. However, her world turns upside down when her out-of-control teenage half-sister Shannon (Odessa Adlon) moves in. And subsequently, so does her father.
There Will Always Be Flaws
The jerky paroxysm in Fam had a great potential of offering humorous gags. Unfortunately; however, the script limits that from happening. The situation or setting, or even the central story rarely has any relevance to the quips on the show. It appears as if the writers have placed the entire responsibility of the humor on the shoulders of their cast. And the ecosystem itself has nothing to do with the fun.
Three Cheers For Nina Dobrev
Nina Dobrev proves to be very versatile for a 30 year old as Clem. Dropping them fangs, and donning the comic-cap, Dobrev does a lot of justice to her new character. She is; however, in a large proportion on the screen. I mean of-course, she is the lead. But her excess presence often ebbs the significance of other actors sharing the frame. Tone Bell is a pleasant sight for sore eyes, his ‘ideal man’ act makes us go absolutely bonkers. It is hard to imagine if Bell actually even only partially departs from his reel-self. Veep’s Gary Cole disrupts the decorum with his uncaring snark, and it is just the right amount of spice we needed to digest all that sugar.
CBS’ Unrealistic Approach Towards Teens
All the good jokes on Fam are primarily reserved for debutante Odessa Adlon’s Shanon. Her zany idiosyncrasies are adorably spontaneous. But, her character is a major screw-up in terms of writing. CBS has never paid good attention to how millennials, especially the spoilt ones, behave. And CBS’ Fam is just another example of this misinformed lunacy. Fam mainstreams its discernment of a messed up teen. Even worse, it then streamlines the entire blame of the mess to bad parenting.
It would be harsh to rank Fam with something less than average. At least, the cast deserves good scores for a masterful show. Fam is a show that is nice, but clearly not different. But being fine is just enough.
Fam airs every Thursday 9.30 pm EST on CBS.