CBS has been pulling out all the stops with their seemingly endless barrage of new comedies. Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar….these are huge names. And The Millers is no exception to that rule with an amazing cast in its own right: Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges and the incomparable JB Smoove(he could read from the yellow pages and it would still be hysterical), but my maddening applause of the new CBS comedies ends today. The Millers isn’t anything I haven’t seen before.
Overworked, stressed out son is forced to live with his parents. Super original stuff. But the fact that it’s Arnett, Martindale and Bridges should lift it above that premise, right. Nope. Fart jokes. Literal Margo Martindale fart jokes. This is the same woman who magnificently played (and won an Emmy for) Mags Bennett on Justified. She is an amazing actress and I don’t have time for Mags Bennett fart jokes.
The premise of the pilot is that his parents are just coming in for a visit when Arnett reveals that he got a divorce and this is all Bridges needs to say “If he gets to be happy, I get to be happy” and packs his shit and leaves, moving in with his daughter(Jayma Mays). It seems like every family sitcom these days is all about being mean to each other for the sake of being mean, only without the emotional payoffs. It’s a tried and true tradition, but you have to earn those emotional moments, or else you’re just being assholes to each other all the time. All In The Family, Roseanne and Everybody Loves Raymond were pros at this. Some sitcoms can still pull off the emotional punch every now and then(Marshall’s dad dying on How I Met Your Mother crushed me, for instance), but then they go right back to treating each other horribly the next episode. It’s like they’re afraid if you get emotionally invested in the characters too much, you’ll lose that laughs per minute ratio. I’d like to see a happy medium become the norm, because I get tired of laughing at shit that doesn’t matter and never will.
5/10, if only for the potential of the actors involved.