Sullivan & Son Teaches an Unfortunate Lesson

Sullivan & Son can showcase enjoyable and respectable humor, but it is inconsistent. It can be high quality television one week and a disappointment the week after.  Thursday’s episode was a disappointment. The episode attempted to make light out of a depressing situation.  It is a common approach for the show, but it just didn’t work this time. Like most episodes, the story moved very slowly, which was especially noticeable in an episode devoid of humor.

The show opened with Steve’s Aunt Jo showing up at the bar after not having seen the family for a long time. From the beginning, Jack makes it clear that he does not trust her. Jo has had a tendency to scam the family due to a gambling addiction. Being his usual idealistic self, Steve wants to give her a chance to rejoin the family to see if she has turned her life around. Of course, Steve’s family warns him not to accept her.

Jo does a very good job winning over Steve’s customers. However, it also turns the show into a big argument between Steve and his parents. He believes that she has become more loyal to the family, but his parents do not. It’s simplistic and uninteresting. Jo talks about her career as an odds maker in Vegas, where she got the patrons interested in betting on a football game. Jo urges the customers to bet on Arizona, who had been on a losing streak. To keep the customers from losing their money, Steve forbids them to place bets in the bar. As it turns out, Arizona won the game. Everyone is mad at Steve except for Doug, the one guy in the bar who took Jo’s advice.

Doug is portrayed as a socially-inept man with a lack of confidence. It can get a little monotonous, especially when it comes to his unrequited affections for Carol. The affections were finally reciprocated when Jo took an interest in Doug, but it is clear that Carol was only attracted to Doug due to jealousy. At this point, Doug, who is not used to any attention, is getting an excessive amount of it from two women. This becomes taxing on Doug. His uncomfortable reaction to the attention is supposed to be funny, but it is just annoying.

In another story line, Steve’s sister, Susan is once again fed up with Ok Cha’s constant criticism of her. Ok Cha’s personal insults have become commonplace to the point where they become boring. Ok Cha’s cold and unforgiving demeanor does not stay funny because her insults are very predictable at this point. She is a one-dimensional character, who needs to grow or receive less time on the show.

Later in the episode, Steve agrees to let his customers bet on the next football game. This was a cheap excuse to move the plot forward. Someone as stubborn as Steve would should not have compromised his principles so easily. When the patrons win their bet, Jo leaves the bar to collect the money, but never returns. At this point, Steve finally realizes that his father was right. Jo could not be trusted. Steve catches Jo at the airport after he correctly suspected that she was going to leave for Las Vegas with the winnings. He pleads for her to realize that family is more important than money, but she leaves to go on her plane anyway.

At the end of the episode, Steve comes back into the bar and reveals that he  kept the winnings by switching Jo’s purse with Carol’s identical one. Jo deserved to get betrayed, but the episode conveys a really depressing message: sometimes family cannot be trusted. While that is certainly true in some cases, Jo’s actions were not enjoyable to watch and neither was Steve’s behavior. Overall, this episode was more sad than funny.

Posted on September 11, 2012, in Cable, Comedy, TBS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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