Picks and Pans Review: It's All Relative

updated 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)


It's stereotypes on parade, with blaring horns and banging drums, in this dreadful new sitcom.

Bobby O'Neil (Reid Scott) is an Irish Catholic living in Boston, so naturally he works in a bar owned by his portly, bombastic, hidebound father, Mace (Lenny Clarke from The Job). One night Mace informs a couple of his customers that Bobby's fiancée, Harvard student Liz (Maggie Lawson), isn't Catholic. The rest of the drinkers overhear—Mace being a loudmouth—and the place falls deathly silent. Then he reveals a greater outrage: "She was raised by a coupla fruit loops!" It turns out Liz's gay adoptive fathers (John Benjamin Hickey and Christopher Sieber) are in the bar, ludicrously posing as blue-collar macho men. When they take exception to Mace's language, he yells, "I'll kick your butt all the way back to fairyland!"

Clarke labors to establish his character as a Beantown Archie Bunker, while Hickey and Sieber play a couple of effete snobs who demonstrate their parenting skills by bickering with each other when their daughter needs advice. A tip for Bobby and Liz: Elope and don't come back.

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