Parents' Guide to

The Goodwin Games

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Flawed but family-oriented comedy pushes a positive message.

TV Fox Comedy 2013
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Sprung from the minds of How I Met Your Mother's Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, The Goodwin Games has a playful premise that defies you to take it seriously: Three siblings who haven't seen each other in years find out that their late father -- who they thought was an underpaid math professor -- has left them $23 million. Add to that the fact that they're now "contestants" in a high-stakes competition for the cash that was masterminded by their dad before he died, and you've got a recipe for a family comedy that's inventive ... and admittedly far-fetched.

But the fact that the plot's more or less preposterous isn't what makes these Games feel like they're destined for cancelation. (After all, the famously dysfunctional Bluths of the critically acclaimed Arrested Development are some of the most hilariously far-fetched characters ever written.) The problem lies in the show's clumsy tone, which never quite makes it to the requisite madcap and teeters somewhere between silly and sincere. Because if we're really meant to root for the Goodwins, we have to first believe they're worthy of our applause.

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