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Photograph: Richard ForemanBeau Bridges, Will Arnett and Margo Martindale star in The Millers on CBS

The Millers: TV review

Despite an embarrasment of talent in front of and behind the camera, this new family comedy fails to impress.

Written by
Jessica Johnson

With an incredibly talented cast and a creator who's excelled at family comedy recently, it's surprising that The Millers is such a misfire. The humor that relies mostly on mocking the older members of the family, meaning this sitcom lacks the heart and bizarre tone of writer Greg Garcia's Raising Hope, a far more capable and enjoyable series.

RECOMMENDED: We review this season's new television shows.

Nathan (Will Arnett) has been, with the help of his sister Debbie (Jayma Mays), concealing his recent divorce from his parents. However, when mom Carol (Margo Martindale) and dad Tom (Beau Bridges) show up to his apartment unexpectedly, he is unable to keep up with the lie. Bolstered by his son's new-found freedom, Tom decides to finally separate from his wife and heads out to stay with his daughter while Carol stays with Nathan. While the couple has a home of their own that has temporarily been flooded by Tom's clumsiness, it appears that, for the sake of the comedy, the parents will continue to stay with their chosen offspring for the foreseeable future.

There's something profoundly sad about watching Emmy-winning actress Martindale, who was kicking some serious ass on The Americans earlier this year, being reduced to fart humor. Similarly, Beau Bridges, who has a very compelling character arc on this season's best new drama, Masters of Sex, does little in this opening episode besides fumble with various appliances. There's certainly an interesting and even funny story to be told about an older couple trying to start over without one another, but The Millers doesn't seem concerned with telling it. Rather, it focuses on Nathan and Debbie's frustrations with having to suddenly adjust to life with their parents. Arnett and Mays are charming actors but they can't make these two characters likeable as they snipe and groan.

Unlike Garcia's Hope, this comedy feels cold and crass. There's no love in The Millers, just umbrage.

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