Are We There Yet? Premiering On TBS On June 2
by Laura Tucker
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There’s nothing wrong with following a formula for success, but sometimes you can follow it too much to where it just becomes old hat. The new series Are We There Yet? on TBS is following two past modes for success, the movie by the same name that the series is based on, along with the Tyler Perry comedies on TBS, House of Payne and Meet the Browns. The problem is that in the process of doing so, it really brings us nothing new.
Ice Cube was the star and executive producer of the film Are We There Yet? and now brings the story to TBS, executive producing as well. He gives up starring in the show in favor of a less frequent semi-regular role of the brother-in-law. The starring duties go to Terry Crews, a former NFL star who also stars in the reality series The Family Crews, and appeared on Everybody Hates Chris, among other series and feature films. Nick, his role in this current series, is as a man who gets married to a woman with two kids, and gives up owning his own sports memorabilia store to work in IT.
Nick’s new wife, Suzanne, is a professional party planner. Essence Atkins takes over the role for Nia Long who played the character in the film. Essence has a number of series under her belt, including the series Half & Half, as well as a number of films. Her kids, LIndsey and Kevin are played by Teala Dunn and Coy Stewart, and sitcom veteran Telma Hokins plays Nick’s disapproving mother. Suzanne’s best friend is played by Keesha Sharp, seen previously on the series Girlfriends and appearing in Tyler Perry’s film Why Did I Get Married? Christian Finnegan, a standup comedian known for his work as a panelist on Best Week Ever, plays Nick’s buddy.
Looking at the characters laid out here, this is exactly what you get in the series. It’s as formulaic as it sounds, the father/husband who never gets his way, the mother/wife who knows everything, the smartass kids, disapproving mother-in-law, brother-in-law who shows up to shake things up occasionally, sexpot best friend, and dim-witted buddy. The humor is somewhat canned, but it does get some good ones in occasionally, like Nick telling Suzanne that he wants her to do more with herself when she comes to bed, as she looks like Halle Berry during the day and Tyler Perry at night.
Formulaic sitcoms are a dime a dozen these days, and don’t last unless they have big names starring in them that give an audience a reason to keep tuning in. An exception is ABC’s Modern Family, and the difference there is well-developed characters and plotlines that while you can figure out how it will end up, you have no idea how it will get there. That’s what Are We There Yet? needs, characters that are more well-developed and writing that takes us beyond where we’ve already been.
Are We There Yet? premieres Wednesday, June 2, on TBS.
Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.
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