This television season has brought with it an unwelcome trend: family-focused sitcoms featuring self-centered and immature relatives. Like Dads, The Goldbergs and The Millers, Welcome to the Family finds greater interest in watching its characters scream at each other than in trying to get them to operate as a family.
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As Family begins, ditzy Molly Yoder (Ella Rae Peck) and valedictorian Junior Hernandez (Joseph Haro) are graduating from their respective high schools. Molly text him some unfortunate news—she's pregnant. As the two make plans to start their life together, they're forced to introduce their parents to each other. This is where things get complicated.
Junior's father, Miguel (Ricardo A. Chavira), and Molly's dad, Dan (Mike O'Malley), are at each other's throats instantly. Mothers Caroline (Mary McCormack) and Lisette (Justina Machado) don't fare a whole lot better, as they stand by their foolish husbands.
The show is not without its charms—generally found in young leads Peck and Haro, whose warmth and optimism is so unflinching, it's hard to imagine they were raised by these cynical jerks. They're also the only characters that deliver successful humor in the pilot episode. It's a shame then, that the show seems much more interested in the parents squabbling than in their children's romance. So much time is invested in the rivalry between Miguel and Dan, that it seems the show forgets about Molly and Junior altogether.
This isn't helped by an episode-ending reveal that's sure to place more focus on the Yoders household as the show goes forward. O'Malley and McCormack are likeable actors, but their characters here are shallow and repugnant. The indication that they will steal the show away from the far more engaging youth is the nail in Welcome to the Family's coffin.