Reviews

Fall Preview: ABC's "Family Tools"

Cast of Family Tools

ABC’s midseason comedies are actually better than their regular show pickups. Here’s hoping they stick around. ‘Family Tools” plotline is cliché. The screw-up, black sheep of the family comes back to try and do something right for once. However, the show has heart.

Cast of Family Tools

ABC’s midseason comedies are actually better than their regular show pickups. Here’s hoping they stick around. Family Tools’ plotline is cliché. The screw-up, black sheep of the family comes back to try and do something right for once. However, the show has heart.

Family Tools

The Cast

Family Tools stars Kyle Bornheimer (Bachelorette, Romantically Challenged) as Jack Shea, J.K. Simmons (The Closer) as Tony Shea, Edi Gathegi (X Men: First Class) as Darren Poynton, Johnny Pemberton (21 Jump Street) as Mason Baumgardner, Danielle Nicolet (X Men TV Series) as Lisa “Stitch” Poynton, and Lean Remini (King of Queens) as Terry Baumgardner.

The Premise

When Jack’s father, Tony, has a heart attack and is forced to hand over the keys to his handyman business, Jack learns that mixing family with business is never easy. With a lackluster career history, Jack’s family waits for him to fail. His job is worsened by his troublemaking assistant, Darren, and Darren’s sister, Liz, who work at the local hardware store. Thankfully Jack gets support from his aunt Terry and cousin, Mason, who are around to help Jack realize the family business may be his true calling.

Initial Reaction

The plotline is cliché. The screw-up, black sheep of the family comes back to try and do something right for once. However, the show has heart. Tony and Jack will struggle in their relationship, as seen in the pilot, but they’ll communicate and make things work. That may not sound that interesting, but given that this show could have easily made Jack the brunt of every jokes (and don’t get me wrong, he’s part of quite a few), they establish that his father loves him and wants him to do well. There won’t be constant kicking of Jack when he’s already down and as a viewer, I appreciate that because it can get old very fast. The dynamic between the family and Darren, who along with his father comes across as extended family, is hilarious to watch. They have great comedic rhythm and timing, and in the end, this show was better than I would have expected from the premise.

Why You Should Watch

You’re a fan of ABC’s usual comedy lineup. This show will fit in perfectly with their usual lineup of The Middle, Modern Family, and Suburgatory.

Leah Remini is back in full force. She’s smart, sassy, and showcases her perfect comedic timing. She’s stepped into the role of the strong woman amid a group of crazy men and fits in nicely. She’s the calm for the craziness, the one to bring them back down when they go too far.

The supporting characters, Mason and Darren, are hilarious. Mason is a pyromaniac. He lives in the basement. He doesn’t wear pants. He wants to start a band. He commentates on Jack’s life. Basically, Mason is amazing. Meanwhile, Darren is equally entertaining, from how he is with his father to Toast the puppy to drinking coffee out of forty ounce bottles, he will have you laughing.

The song breakdown at the end of the pilot is fantastic. It’s silly and ridiculous, much like Mason, and includes a flute solo. What’s not to love?

What surprises me most about this show, especially after previewing ABC’s other fall comedies, is that this is a midseason comedy. It’s better than the others and definitely fits more into their lineup. If viewers take to this, Family Tools could be around for a while.

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About the author

Amber Cunigan

Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.