Picks and Pans Review: Grounded for Life
Married...with Children, Malcolm in the Middle, Titus. It's FOX tradition to depict family life in the form of a twisted cartoon (and we're not even counting the network's animated comedies). So the new Grounded for Life comes off as edgy and derivative at the same time.
Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve) stars as Sean Finnerty, a 32-year-old dad out of his depth. Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), at 14 the oldest of his three children, frustrates and intimidates him. In the Jan. 10 premiere he sees her making out with a boy in a parked car. Sean reacts by hurling a bucket of take-out chicken at the windshield and spends the rest of the half hour on the defensive. In an upcoming episode Sean pries into Lily's computer messages, jumps to sexual conclusions and again undermines his own meager authority. "Why don't you just go in the bathroom and flush your face?" Lily says, jutting her jaw in defiance. Sean blithers ineffectually in response.
Ready to throw fried fowl at the screen? Well, give credit to Kevin Corrigan as Eddie, Sean's deadpan younger brother. Bucking the show's trend, Corrigan is funny without raising his voice. And Sean's wife, Claudia (Megyn Price, late of Lateline), brings relative sanity to the table. But you expect that from Mom, just as you know potbellied Grandpa (Richard Riehle) will bark about the need for discipline.
Bottom Line: FOX-model home