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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