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On the Tube: 'Married to the Kellys' committed to sweetness

Friday, October 03, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette Tv Editor

The fish-out-of-water story of a New Yorker who moves to Kansas City so his wife can be closer to her family is no comedy classic. But in this season of ill-tempered characters and uncivil conversations in sitcoms turned slamcoms, the relative innocence of "Married to the Kellys" is at least refreshing.

 
 

TV REVIEW

'MARRIED TO THE KELLYS'

WHEN: 8:30 tonight on ABC.

   
 

Breckin Meyer, always likable even in past flops such as "Inside Schwartz," stars as Tom, the Manhattanite who's put off by the mysterious ways of wacky Midwesterners.

Wife Susan (Kiele Sanchez) dutifully explains that what Tom knows as "soda" is called "pop" in Kansas, something a pop culture-savvy New Yorker like Tom should probably know.

Tom also seems bowled over by how friendly the Kellys are, greeting one another at every opportunity, dining together and gathering for game night.

The family is populated by eccentrics, including Susan's competitive sister Mary (well-cast Emily Rutherford) and bug-collecting brother Lewis (Derek Waters). Susan's parents, played by Nancy Lenehan and Sam Anderson, are chronically nice people, if a little naive.

In an upcoming episode, the male Kellys compete to see who can eat the most tacos, and the guy who eats the fewest -- Tom, of course -- is somehow deemed less manly than the others.

The supporting cast members are all suited to their roles, but as Susan, Sanchez is a cardboard cutout. The writing is partly to blame, but she's also not as sweet as Meredith Monroe, who played the character in the original pilot, only to be recast when ABC suits deemed her not funny enough. (Duh! The character is designed to be a straight man.)

There's nothing distinguished enough about "Married to the Kellys" to make viewers want to commit to watching it every week, but it is comparatively harmless and occasionally amusing.


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

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