Thursday, May 11th, 2006
ABC’s Sons & Daughters: Catch it While You Can
Update: ABC has killed this fine TV program.
Original post: I’m telling you about a new TV situation comedy-drama on the ABC network you should watch even though it has finished its first season, ABC isn’t airing reruns, and the show might not be picked up for next year. It’s a comedy which assumes you have a brain. Catch episodes on YouTube.com now before ABC’s lawyers attack.
I’m hooked on Sons and Daughters. And by hooked I should explain I only watch The Daily Show, Colbert Report and some David Letterman while I write my blog posts. So it’s a miracle I even encountered the show.
Sons and Daughters Promotional Clip:
It’s a show about an extended family, intended for mature viewers. The main character is Cameron (Fred Goss), who is on his second marriage (to a younger, sexier woman), with a toddler-age daughter. There is a teenage son from his previous marriage who recently moved in. Cameron has two sisters with their own family situations, and the adult siblings have their grandparents (Grampa is Max Gail, "Wojo" from TV’s Barney Miller).
The first episode covers Grampa confiding in his son Cameron that he wants to leave Gramma. By the evening of their 25th anniversary party, everyone knows the secret including a 4-year-old. Meanwhile, Aunt Rae has told her toddler niece she is going to hell because she’s Jewish and a variety of smaller things happen which build upon themselves in later episodes.
Things which make this sitcom great (or reasons ABC may dump the show):
1) There are 16 people in the extended family, about twelve of which are significant for understanding what is being said and not said in the story. You must watch several episodes to remember each character’s relationship. This isn’t the Cosby Show where you see Mom, Dad and kids, only to be introduced to the older daughter and grandparents several seasons later. You see Cameron’s whole family from the get-go.
2) The show doesn’t have tunnel vision on one market demographic. Young, middle age and old characters are thrown together and all act their age.
3) The dialogue is thick with innuendo and subtle humor, without a laugh track to tell you what is funny versus disturbing. The humor is edgy at times which is why my own mother didn’t "get it." You’ll be helped to have someone watching with you the first time so you can glance at each other as if to say, "Oh my God, did Cameron just say that? Is it OK to laugh?"
Update: After a prolific e-mail exchange with my mother, I must report that she believes she does indeed "get it." (Any similarity between her and the grandmother in the TV show is purely coincidental. Oooh, now I’m gonna get it!) OK, to be fair, she sat and watched five entire episodes this afternoon, in addition to the two she saw on broadcast TV. Oh, the joys of retirement.
4) The actors are allowed to improvise, straying from their scripted lines. That gives the comedy a different (and better) feel and flow than cookie cutter sitcoms.
ABC is demonstrating shear stupidity in not reairing the sitcom now that every show is in reruns and people are channel surfing.
So watch the episodes on YouTube.com before ABC yanks them. Each episode is broken into three segments about 7 minutes long. There’s a real diamond in the rough here. (Remember the first season of Seinfeld or The Simpsons? …great stuff which got even better.)
- Sons & Daughters web site (it sucks)
- Fred Goss’ MySpace blog (creator, writer and "Cameron" on the show)
- Fred Goss’ ABC blog (probably doomed since ABC killed the show)
- Fred Goss’ YouTube page (it has a couple videos showing his real kids)
- Petition to save Sons and Daughters (Will it help? It can’t hurt. Please sign.)
Index to Episodes on YouTube.com
- Episode 1: Anniversary Party (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 2: Bowling Night (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 3: Film Festival (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 4: BBQ Therapy (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 5: Family Finance (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 6: Karaoke (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 7: Hospital Visit (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 8: Surprise Party (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 9: House Party (part 1, part 2, part 3)
- Episode 10: The Homecoming (part 1, part 2, part 3)