Sometimes you can predict certain aspects of a show before it even premieres. For example, if a new installment of the Bravo Housewives is starting, I can guess that there will be lots of caddy girls and drama. If a new reality show premieres starring Rod Balgojevich and Spencer Pratt, I kind of assume it’s going to be wacky. I don’t mind, it helps me brace myself for what is about to come when I sit down to watch these new shows. So, when I sat down to watch the premiere of “Melissa and Joey” on ABC Family last night, I fully expected it to be cheesy.
I knew going into “Melissa and Joey” that it wasn’t going to be a gritty drama or an OH-MY-GOD-DID-THEY-REALLY-SAY-THAT comedy. First of all, the show is on ABC Family. This network is not known for shows with sex, blood and drugs. Well, there is some sex on “The Secret Life.” And I guess there is some murder on “Pretty Little Liars“. But, still, the casting of Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence just screams TGIF throwback. In other words, anyone that expected to be blown away by how edgy this show is, deserves to not enjoy it.
For everyone else that likes the occasional cheesiness, this is your show. Yes, there are some people who like cheesy shows. Cheesiness doesn’t mean bad. In fact, I have more friends that watched “Full House” growing up than watched “NYPD Blue.” Some people like a happy ending and a corny and predictable punch lines.
The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as Melissa (of course,) a career driven council woman who inherits custody of her niece and nephew when her brother-in-law and sister are sent to jail for being involved in a money scandal. Melissa has a hard time communicating with her new housemates and has never had to discipline them prior to now. She had been the cool aunt for years and suddenly has to assume the mom role. When she begins to look for help with the children, Joe (aka Joey,) shows up at her door. He is looking for a city job since he is a commodities trader, but settles for a job as her nanny (a manny if you will,) since it’s the only one available and he is broke/homeless thanks to her scheming siblings.
The show deals with adjusting to a new family. Melissa is struggling to find the balance between family and work while looking for love herself and Joe (so… is it Joe or Joey?) is learning how to care for two children. If your household has a 7 or 8-year-old in it, it’s a pretty good family show. It’s got the 30 minute resolution that we all grew up loving as well as predictable jokes that really only make a child laugh out loud (although may sometimes warrant a “heh” from an adult.)
There are some holes in this show that an adult would easily spot. For example, the show seems to take place in Ohio (judging by the Ohio shirt worn by Melissa’s nephew) however, Joe and the nephew both seem to have New York accents. In addition, Melissa’s public relations person was clearly brought in as comic relief and has yet to have a funny line. And while I love that the show is taped before a live studio audience, the collective “awwww” appeared after Joey found out his ex girlfriend never loved him, was cringe worthy.
The show has one of those story lines that forces you to wonder when the inevitable will happen and the two of them will get together. I don’t know how many more seasons this show can continue without there being a spark between the two, and when that happens, the whole theme of the show will change. It won’t be like Uncle Jesse marrying Aunt Becky, it will be more like Ned falling for Stacy. Where do you go once that happens?
One thing that seems to help the show is that both of the main actors are veterans to television. Melissa Joan Hart convincingly portrays a stressed out but caring aunt, and Joey Lawrence (or is it Joe?) actually has pretty good comedic timing. Melissa and Joey have a good chemistry together and the most enjoyable scenes are when the two of them are going back and forth. Of course, that could just be because I have a soft spot for both Clarissa and Blossom’s brother.
This isn’t the show to watch if you want to have your mind blown. We have “Dexter” and “True Blood” for that. This isn’t the show to watch if you want to see something sexy, we have “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Nip/Tuck” for that. It’s not even train-wrecky, we have “Jersey Shore” and “the Bad Girls” club for that. It’s just a happy-go-lucky family sitcom that you can watch with your kids. But, you probably predicted that.