Sullivan & Son has been guilty of cringe comedy and an inability to move the story forward. Jokes that make the audience cringe aren’t always funny as much as they are offensive. Cringe comedy is very hard to execute, which it has for Sullivan & Son. Viewers may be too distracted by the subject matter to laugh. With a lack of movement or action in most of the episodes of Sullivan & Son, there is very little room for distraction. Luckily, on Thursday’s episode, the subject manner and themes were rather pleasant and still funny. The story is still slow, but that is the nature of the show, but yesterday’s episode seemed to take advantage of its limited setting.
The episode opened with Steve’s mother, Ok Cha showing Steve a picture of a Korean woman named Grace Kim online. She then says that she set up an online dating profile for Steve and that the woman wants to meet him. Of course, Steve is upset that his mom took control of his personal life. The dynamic between Steve and his mother can get a little old. Ok Cha likes to think Steve can’t take control of his life when he clearly can. That being said, the measures that Ok Cha took could be construed as so annoying that they are funny. She asserts that she didn’t pretend to be Steve, but she pretended to better than Steve. Steve protests that he does not want to meet Grace, but Grace was coming to the bar anyway.
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.
Charlie Sheen got his shot to return to television and it’s already not working out. Anger Management opened with two episodes on Thursday night and there wasn’t really much chance it would be a huge success. An FX comedy is probably not enough to fix a disgraced career and the type of actor Sheen is just seems unappealing. After two episodes, it’s certain this is going to be a failure. The fact is the show could not have been any worse. There was not one moment worthy of laughter for the entire hour.
Sheen stars as Charlie Goodson, an anger management therapist who has anger issues himself. This should actually be treated as a serious conflict and the fact that it is portrayed comically just makes it seem wrong. Of course, comedy seeming wrong would be okay if it was funny and innovative. This was neither. This was just boring. The laugh track only made it worse.