‘Dads’: Bad show, decent ratings

Breeanna Hare


All of that bad publicity didn’t exactly hurt Fox’s new comedy “Dads.”

The heavily criticized freshman series debuted on Tuesday night to 5.6 million viewers, while Andy Samberg’s highly praised new show, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” performed slightly better with 6 million watching.

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But when it comes to critical response to the two comedies, the difference is night and day.

Whereas Samberg’s half-hour sitcom about a slacker police officer at a Brooklyn precinct and his tough-as-nails boss (played by Andre Braugher) is “easily the fall’s strongest comedy pilot,” “‘Dads’ is the new season at its worst,” says Time magazine’s James Poniewozik.

And everyone (by now famously) seems to agree. Although it’s created by “Family Guy” veterans Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and stars a dream team of Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green as two 30-something video game entrepreneurs with Martin Mull and Peter Riegert as their meddlesome dads, none of that adds up to a funny half-hour, critics say.

“The first sin committed by Fox’s new sitcom Dads is that it’s a comedy that isn’t funny. The second sin is that it’s flat-out terrible,” says Entertainment Weekly’s review. “If the show were even a little bit funny, then this could play like farce. But because almost everything these four (lead characters) say is totally dumb, it plays like tragedy.”

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The only reason to even watch it (if you can even call this a reason) is to be “titillated with the idea that you’re watching something naughty that offends other people,” says says NPR’s Linda Holmes. “The seductive pitch here is that other people are stodgy and lame, but that you, however, are so cool … Honestly, if you don’t think of it as controversial, ‘Dads’ is just recycled from a gazillion other shows about how funny it is when old people walk around naked, use the bathroom, or otherwise act embarrassing.”

E! News couldn’t hide the fact that “‘Dads’ is still the worst new comedy of the fall,” but on the bright side, “it also has the greatest potential for improvement. If you can make it past the blaringly offensive material in the first episode. … ‘Dads’ has nowhere to go but up.”