The Light from the TV Shows: Even executive producer Vince Vaughn can’t liven up “Sullivan & Son”

When the DVD screener arrived for TBS’s new sitcom “Sullivan & Son,” I couldn’t help but notice that the packaging for the disc featured five words placed prominently above the title: “From Executive Producer Vince Vaughn.” For some, this wouldn’t necessarily be that big a selling point. Hell, it’s not even that big a selling point for me, and I consider “Swingers” to be one of my favorite films from the ’90s. It’s not that I don’t think Vince Vaughn’s funny. It’s just that, in addition to the fact that his comedy track record is far from 100%, the simple fact of the matter is that you absolutely cannot tell how funny a sitcom is going to be by its executive producers…and, boy, is “Sullivan & Son” proof of that.

“Sullivan & Son” starts Steve Byrne as Steve Sullivan, an NYC attorney who returns home to Pittsburgh with his new girlfriend, Ashley (Brooke Lyons), in tow in order to help celebrate the 60th birthday of his Irish-American father, Jack (Dan Lauria). The birthday celebration takes place in the bar owned by Jack and his wife / Steve’s mother, Ok Cha (Jodi Long)…and in case the name didn’t give it away, yes, Steve’s mom is Korean. During the evening’s celebration, Steve’s parents reveal that they’ve decided to sell the bar, a newsflash which sends Steve into a tizzy of reflection as he tries to decide if his current path in life is more important than keeping the bar in the family. Unsurprisingly, he decides on the matter, talking his parents into selling the place to him, and although this utterly infuriates Ashley, who’d already worked out a 12-step program to have the perfect married life with Steve, it’s a decision which nicely sets up the premise of the series.

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Bullz-Eye’s 2011 Fall TV Preview: What’s New for CBS


2 Broke Girls

(8:30 – 9 PM, Sept. 26, with special preview on Sept. 19 at 9:30 PM)

The competition: Dancing with the Stars (ABC), The Sing-Off (NBC), Terra Nova (Fox), Gossip Girl (The CW)

Starring: Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs, Garrett Morris, Matthew Moy, Jonathan Kite, Brooke Lyons

Executive producers: Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings

What the network says: “A comedy about two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business – if only they can raise the cash. Sassy, streetwise Max Black works two jobs just to get by, one of which is waiting tables during the night shift at the retro-hip Williamsburg Diner. Sophisticated Caroline Channing is an uptown trust fund princess who’s having a run of bad luck that forces her to reluctantly give waitressing a shot. At first, Max sees Caroline as yet another in a long line of inept servers she must cover for, but she’s surprised to find that Caroline has as much substance as she does style. When Caroline discovers Max’s knack for baking amazing cupcakes, she sees a lucrative future for them, but they first need to raise the start-up money. While they save their tips, they’ll stay at the restaurant, working with Oleg, an overly flirtatious Russian cook; Earl, a 75-year-old kool-kat cashier; and Han Lee, the new, eager-to-please owner of the diner. Working together, these two broke girls living in one expensive city might just find the perfect recipe for their big break.”

What we say: What’s this? A new sitcom in CBS’s Monday night lineup that isn’t a Chuck Lorre production? Will wonders never cease! Better yet, it’s a relatively strong one, though like so many other sitcom entries this season, it’s one where the leads are strong but the ensemble surrounding them is hit or miss…and, unfortunately, that includes Garrett Morris, who deserves so much better than hackneyed one-liners. (There’s a Duke University locker room joke, for God’s sake. Uh, zing?) Dennings, however, is the sarcastic version of Zooey Deschanel, which is to say that she’s cute, funny, and she could take you down a peg without even blinking, and Beth Behr is, for lack of a more elaborate phrase, sweet and pretty. The two of them also have instant chemistry together. If a cast as strong as “Mad Love” couldn’t make it more than a season, we probably shouldn’t pin any major hopes on “2 Broke Girls,” but it’s a certainly a show that we wouldn’t mind seeing succeed.

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