TV Critics Really, Really, Really Hate ‘Dads’

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Fox’s new sitcom Dads has come under a lot of fire for its crude racial stereotypes, but a lot of critics are more upset by just how unfunny the Seth MacFarlane-produced show is. The consensus seems to be that, while the cast are all talented actors, their characters would be better suited to the animated world that MacFarlane’s creations generally inhabit. The A.V. Club suggests this is partly due to the studio audience, since “the protective remove of animation is absent in a multi-camera sitcom, where the audience becomes an additional character. Worse, in the second episode, it sounds like that audience consists of about 35 drunks who’ve been coached to hoot and holler loudly at everything said […] Underlining a gag intended as ironic racism with boisterous live laughter just turns it into actual racism.” The show is currently scoring a 15/100 on Metacritic. Below are a few of the most brutal reviews of this debacle:

While The Hollywood Reporter called Dads ” insipid, pandering, racist and unfunny,” Time went with “dated, cheaply provocative, and laboriously unfunny.” According to The Boston Herald, “This sitcom has something to offend everyone: Christians, Jews, gays, Asians, Latinos, women and anyone with an IQ over 70.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s reviewer promised that if I could find a joke anywhere in either of the [first] two episodes, I’d transcribe it to demonstrate how unfunny the show is.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post calls Dads “an embarrassingly anachronistic attempt to have its way with the multi-camera, studio-audience sitcom format,” saying that “the poor actors look like they’re serving mandatory sentences for the creators’ crimes of laziness.” USA Today sees it as one of those once-in-a-decade debacles that all involved come to regret and struggle to excuse for the rest of their careers.” And Vulture says it’s “as if it had been time-warped in from the early nineties, when it was still possible for a sitcom jam-packed with bigoted or otherwise offensive jokes, populated by types rather than full-fledged characters, and conceived as an utterly unremarkable, brightly lit three-camera sitcom with a laugh track to make it onto a major network’s fall schedule and be hyped along with shows that don’t stink.”