[06/03/09 - 12:04 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Brothers" (FOX)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2009-2010 season. Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. Keep in mind that a lot can change from what's being screened right now - recasting, reshooting, etc. - but we still want to give you a heads up on what you should (and shouldn't) keep on your radar in the coming months. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!

[IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on either a cut screened to us privately or a copy supplied by a third party NOT a screener provided by the network in question. All were received or screened prior to the networks' official mailings that went out in mid-June.]

(Fridays at 8:00/7:00c starting this fall; TRT: 22:44)

The network's description: "Starring Michael Strahan ("FOX NFL Sunday") and Daryl "Chill" Mitchell ("Ed," "Veronica's Closet"), BROTHERS is a new half-hour comedy about a former NFL hot shot who learns that even though you can always go home again, the trip back might be tougher than you think. MIKE TRAINOR (Strahan) seemingly has it all he's a good-looking, wealthy and recently retired NFL player living the high-life in New York City, but he's about to get sidelined. When Mike gets a phone call from his MOM (CCH Pounder, "The Shield") who orders him home to Houston, he quickly realizes the more his life has changed, the more his family has stayed the same. His brother CHILL (Daryl "Chill" Mitchell), whose life was altered drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep his restaurant afloat with the help of his loudmouth associate, ROSCOE (Colton Dunn, "MADtv"). The dynamics between Mike and Chill are the same as when they were kids, and their sibling rivalry hasn't lessened with age. If they can stop their bickering, put aside their differences and learn to be teammates, the brothers might just turn out to be each other's biggest asset. Wedged between Mike and Chill are their parents. Their father, whom everyone refers to as COACH (Carl Weathers, "Rocky"), is the local high school football coach and the conservative, opinionated alpha male of his clan. Coach thinks he runs the show, but really it's Mom who calls the shots. Saucy, stern and a schemer, she is the mastermind of the family. And when she learns that Mike's business manager took off with all his money, she orchestrates a plan to keep Mike in Houston, save Chill's restaurant and bring the family back together under one roof again all without anyone realizing what she's up to. Mom's plan helps Mike realize that his family however dysfunctional they may be is the only family he's got. And although he may not have a penny to his name, as long as he's surrounded by people who love him, he'll always be a rich man."

What did they leave out? Why, CCH Pounder? Why did they do this to you?

The plot in a nutshell: After learning his father Coach (Carl Weathers) had a stroke, former New York NFL legend Mike Trainor (Michael Strahan) took the first flight home to Houston. There he finds things aren't as serious - or are they? - as he thought. It turns out Mom (CCH Pounder) actually just wants to see both her boys under the same roof again. Estranged since an accident left him paralyzed, Mike's brother Chill (Daryl "Chill" Mitchell) still blames him for showing up late on the aforementioned night as the ride he took instead left him a paraplegic. And sure enough, the boys are still at each other's throats all these years later. Whether it be Chill noting, "Growing up I was a better athelete, I was smarter than you plus I'm better lookin' - all my teeth are next to each other," or Mike declaring, "How come every time I turn around you're at my feet like a quarterback?" there's still plenty of bad blood to go around. But as it turns out, Mom wasn't completely lying - Coach really is starting to lose a few of his marbles. Between telling Mike he hopes he never gets attacked by a cheetah, his toy train collection ("It's a limited edition Zephyr! They only made three million of them!") and his generally odd quips ("They should put 50 Cent's face on the dime!"), something is definitely wrong with dear old Dad. Conversely things aren't going so great for the boys either: Mike's manager ran away with all his money while Chill's restaurant - which he runs with Mike superfan Roscoe (Colton Dunn) - is on the verge of collapse. Whether they like it or not they're going to have to work together to weather their respective storms.

What works: Ummm...

What doesn't: ...wow, just wow. Painfully broad and awe-inspiringly unfunny, "Brothers" is hands down the worst of the new comedy crop. From its endless sports metaphors (Mom: "I swear to God I feel less like a mother and more like a referee.") to its obsession with Strahan's gap teeth (Chill: "Mike, You can't say the letter 's' without spitting on people." Mike, while spitting: "Shut up!") to its not one, not two but three references to guys shaving their junk (Coach: "When did men start shaving their wigglydos? I walked in the shower the other day, looked like a bunch of giant five year olds. And that's creepy."), the series hits the trifecta for eye-rolling moments. That coupled with gems like - Mike: "What happened to my Bentley man?" Chill: "I just made a few adjustments." Mike: "Adjustments? This used to be a car now it looks like a cappuccino machine." - or - Mike (to Chill): "Don't roll up on me like that. Put some baseball cards in those spokes so I can hear you coming." - and all its emotional trains get derailed rather quickly (see, I can make limp metaphors too!). CCH Pounder does her mightiest to try and get said moments across - whether it be stabbing Chill in the leg in the hopes of one day he'll actually feel it or giving an impassioned speech about how, despite their old wounds, they all need each other - but boy if they don't fall on deaf ears. As Coach says:

The bottom line: "Enough with the living in the past, I've decided to shave my wigglydo." Enough indeed.

  [june 2009]  


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