Thursday’s episode of Sullivan & Son was enjoyable at times, but very little actually happened. Since the bar seems to be the only major setting, there is hardly any action. Instead, the characters are free to have very stressful conversations. While this leaves possibilities for the characters to have revelations, there is very little effort to move the story forward. Episodes that are full of dialogue can be funny at times, but they can also get boring. Despite the potential for Sullivan & Son to be humorous as well as deeply thematic, exclusively relying on slow moving episodes that are full of stress can be a bad idea.
It is the 50th anniversary of Sullivan & Son and things are getting complicated for Steve and his childhood friend Melanie, known as Mel. It is revealed that Mel’s grandfather originally owned the bar and lost it in a poker game against Steve’s grandfather, Jack. Despite this having nothing to do with Steve, Mel holds a grudge for some reason. Of course this is illogical and Steve had nothing to do with the loss of the bar. Mel acknowledges this and is still mad at Steve. Mel’s acknowledgement of her own hypocrisy is supposed to be funny but it is actually very annoying, There is absolutely no reason for this to be a story. In fact, neither of them were aware of it until Jack brought it to their attention. The fact that it was a plot line shows the drawbacks of relying on one location for an entire episode.
The promos for TBS’s new sitcom, Sullivan & Son seemed crass, stereotypical, and at times cringe worthy. There was very little context, so I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like this or be offended by it. There is a lot of shock value in the show. It is crass, stereotypical, and cringe worthy. It just also happens to be pretty funny. The series opened with two episodes last night that both showed potential.
Steve Sullivan is the son. He is a workaholic corporate attorney on Wall Street who is visiting his family in Pittsburgh for his father’s birthday party. The party is being held at Sullivan & Son, a bar that the Sullivan family has owned for generations. Steve is bringing his girlfriend of 8 months to the party. It is his first time back home since they started dating and she is obviously more serious than he is about the relationship. This type of dynamic seems to really establish Sullivan’s character from the get-go. Steve is portrayed by showrunner and comic Steve Byrne. He is a man who is simply going through the motions of life. He has a “big and important” job (which he has to describe several times throughout the show) and a girlfriend who assumes they are going to move in together. He is following a safe and conventional path, but that isn’t what he wants. In this sense, Steve’s character seems very real as he struggles to grow.