“Dad” is based on a Twitter account where a son was literally tweeting s*** his dad would say in their every day lives. The dad has been brought to life by William Shatner and the son who started the Twitter account is now Jonathan Sadowski. And while the Twitter account was incredibly funny, it does not translate to sitcom form.
For one thing, the Twitter account does not need a plot. Part of the reason the tweets are funny is because they are out-of-context bon mots. When the bon mots are shoved into a script, they suddenly become unfunny because a lot of why they were funny in the first place is gone.
Secondly, as evidenced by the title itself, the tweets have to be edited for network TV. There is a reason why PG-13 “Die Hard 4” was less funny than its rated-R predecessors. Profanity is not always necessary, but we have a sneaking suspicion this comedy would be at least marginally better on cable.
Finally, the actual tweets embedded into the dialogue are heavy-handed and obvious. Shatner might as well turn straight to the camera to parrot the actual quotes from the Twitter account. One can actually pick them straight out of the dialogue.
There was one laugh-out-loud moment in the premiere and that was when son Henry imitated his father and William Shatner’s character remarked that no one can do a good impression of him. Otherwise it was a lot of furrowed-brow staring at the TV when the laugh track roared, wondering what the #*!! they were laughing at.
The best scene of the entire show was when Shatner’s character went to the DMV and had a semi-poignant moment with the man issuing his driving test. Funny how that was the one scene pretty much devoid of the Twitter hook.
However, in the day and age of “Two and a Half Men” getting some of the biggest comedy ratings on television, coupled with the fact that “Dad” gets a strong “Big Bang Theory” lead-in, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the new break-out comedy of the season. And that is unfortunate, especially since “Raising Hope” is a funnier half-hour program and best new drama “Lone Star” is facing cancellation.
Photo credit: CBS