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On the Tube: 'Andersons' is a grumpy family sitcom

Friday, September 12, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette Tv Editor

In The WB's "All About the Andersons," Anthony Anderson comes across as an easy-going wannabe actor, a good dad and nice guy. So why, oh why, does he put up with his grumpy and mean father, Joe (John Amos)?

 
 

TV REVIEW: ALL ABOUT THE ANDERSONS'

WHEN: 9:30 tonight on The WB.

   
 

What's purportedly Joe's tough love toward Anthony plays more like plain ol' gruff toughness. Joe puts a penny in a jar every time his son flubs an audition.

"I've been saving up for a fishing pole," Joe says, "but at the rate you're going, I might buy a boat to go with it."

A few jokes at his grown son's expense would be one thing, but in "Andersons," it's almost the only thing. Poor Anthony levels with his son, 8-year-old Tuga (cute but not-so-great actor Damani Roberts), telling him, "That's what family is: Talking to people you don't like."

If the characters dislike this family, what are the odds viewers will like them any better?

The pilot sets up a premise that finds Anthony and Tuga moving in with Joe and wife Flo (Roz Ryan) after Tuga's mom abandons them. Anthony wants to become a professional actor, but Joe wants him to start working at the family barbershop. Arguments ensue.

Pittsburgh native James Widdoes directed the pilot, which originally featured a male actor as a medical school student living with the Andersons as a boarder. Actress Aimee Garcia ("Greetings from Tucson") played a neighbor. In what will air tonight, the guy is gone and Garcia is now playing the live-in med student.

It's not a significant change, but it does show how cookie cutter a sitcom can be when characters and actors are rearranged like so many pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.


Rob Owen can be reached at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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