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Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2011-2012 season, now in its sixth year! Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season (or one that didn't make the cut) 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 the original sales presentation which was screened to us privately or supplied by a third party NOT an informational, not-for-review screener provided by the network in question.]
HOMEGROWN (BUSTED CBS PILOT)
(written by Jackie Filgo & Jeff Filgo; directed by Andy Ackerman; TRT: 21:36)
The network's description: No official description was released.
What did they leave out? Hayes MacArthur ("Perfect Couples") actually plays Jimmy's dad Gabe, not Shane McRae as previously reported.
The plot in a nutshell: "You think I'd be living here in ass-freeze Michigan if I didn't have a house full of refugees and bouncebacks?" crotchety family man Bill (Gerald McRaney) explains to his ever-present clan. "I could be living on a boat right now cruising the Florida Keys. I could become best friends with Jimmy Buffett!" Between daughter Eileen (Becki Newton), who moved back home after getting pregnant with Jimmy (Tanner Buchanan, now 12-years-old) and dropping out of college; and Bill's mother Grammy (apologies as I didn't recognize the actress), who's litany of medical problems required her too to move in ("It's like Liza Minnelli's lunch box over here," she quips about her pill regiment); Bill and wife Barb's (Mimi Kennedy) home has been something of a full house as of late.
Even worse, Bill can't help but insert himself into all aspects of Eileen's life, whether it's her choice in dating companions (Bill: "Ponytail or stupid chin beard?" Eileen, after a beat: "Chin beard.") or parenting techniques (he interrupts her date after suspecting Jimmy is surfing porn on the computer). Eileen can usually roll with the punches but after Bill decides to give Jimmy the birds and the bees talk when Eileen said she and Jimmy's father Gabe (Hayes MacArthur) would do it, it's the last straw. Much to Bill's horror, Eileen says she'll stay at her new beau's for the night but instead ends up crashing at her perfect sister Liz's (Tricia O'Kelley), who's always jealous of the attention Eileen's foibles get. Ultimately, Bill reveals he's so invested because he blames himself for Eileen's teenage pregnancy as he didn't give her "the talk" back then. Eileen in turn realizes she still needs her dad to help raise Jimmy, however terrifying a thought that is.
What works: The show milks a few laughs from Bill's obsession with health insurance (he says Eileen should marry fireman Gabe because his co-pay is just $20: "You could get a heart transplant for the price of a steak dinner! You don't have to love him. Love that.")...
What doesn't: ...but as a whole this is a pretty bumpy ride. Scenes frequently end with a thud (Grammy: "I hope she doesn't get pregnant again. We're running out of rooms in this place and God knows I'm not going anywhere."), rely on nonsense for jokes (Eileen: "It would be one thing if this is the first time you've interfered but this is like the 50-fabilionth time!") or just plain feel tired (Bill, after being told he has to fix things with Eileen: "Or else?" Barb: "Or else you will be living in a house with a very disappointed woman."). Toss in an emotional through line that never quite connects, not to mention some truly eye-rolling moments - Eileen is excited about her big date at Pretty Penne, home of Michigan's biggest breadstick; and later on exclaims Bill "booty-blocked" her by calling her to come home - and...
The bottom line: ...it's best we move along.