A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Your Family or Mine is a sitcom about a young married couple who frequently visits their oddball extended families. Humor is of the obvious, sitcom-y variety -- some jokes are mild, poking fun at the foibles of its characters, but there also are surprisingly rude jokes about sex, body parts, pornography, and infidelity. Language includes plenty of jokes about "boobs" and butts and bodily functions and fluids, plus four-letter words: "damn," "s--t." Gendered coarse language as well, with women called "bitch" and "slut." Though the show is about a complicated but loving extended family, it's undermined by lowbrow, unfunny jokes and an utter lack of chemistry.
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What's the story?
On half-hour sitcom YOUR FAMILY OR MINE, married couple Oliver (Kyle Howard) and Kelli (Kat Foster) are happy when they're home alone with their two girls. The problems start happening when they make one of their frequent visits to their wacky extended families. Kelli's parents Gil (Ed Begley Jr.) and Jan (Cynthia Stevenson) are touchy-feely, middle class, and hyperemotional; Oliver's parents Louis (Richard Dreyfuss) and Ricky (JoBeth Williams) are upper-middle-class and more buttoned-down. To add to all the complications, Kelli has two sisters and Oliver has two brothers, each with his or her own quirks and complications.
Is it any good?
With executive producer Greg Malins (Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Will & Grace) on board, it's clear TBS was hoping for a little throwback sitcom magic. Unfortunately, Your Family or Mine is a throwback in the worst sense of the word, serving up the same stale and expected laughs -- the only surprising thing is just how few jokes land. A central plot point on the show's pilot revolves around pearl-clutching Ricky (JoBeth Williams, doing her game best) mis-reading one of Kelli's daughter's drawings as a cry for help from an abused child; when she brings it up to Kelli, Kelli mistakenly thinks Ricky is referring to her recent return to work. "Sure, they cried the first few times I did it," she says, oblivious to the shocked look on her in-laws' face as only a sitcom character can be. "But I get paid good money to do it!" Ugh. Come on. Sitcom plots that hinged on one character misunderstanding another's actions or motivations were quite the thing -- in the 1950s! The premise is unique, and it's nice to see families choosing to spend time with each other (each week Oliver and Kelli visit a set of in-laws), but the execution is disappointing. Darned shame too, since the cast is choice. Old pros such as Williams, Dreyfuss, and Begley deserve better. So do viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
What do you think of the setup of Your Family or Mine? Is it realistic? What kinds of troubles do new married couples often have with in-laws?
Why do you suppose that one of the families featured has three sisters and the other three brothers?
Exposition in a written work gives background information on characters or a situation. Can you pinpoint lines in Your Family or Mine that are exposition? Are they both exposition and jokes?
For kids who love sitcom-style laughs
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