Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Sullivan & Son' Son Walks into a Pittsburgh Bar

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Sullivan & Son' Son Walks into a Pittsburgh Bar

Article excerpt

The humor in TBS's Pittsburgh-set barroom sitcom "Sullivan & Son" alternates between broad-as-a-barn stereotypes and politically incorrect specific. That's an odd mix. But with a diverse cast of characters that includes several scene-stealing sitcom veterans, "Sullivan" is certainly more watchable than TBS's earlier summer effort, the desultory "Men at Work."

Debuting at 10 p.m. Thursday, "Sullivan & Son" begins as Steve Sullivan (former Pittsburgher Steve Byrne) returns home to Pittsburgh from New York, where he works as a corporate attorney. His girlfriend of eight months is in tow -- literally and figuratively. Ashley is a snobby caricature who can't open her mouth without insulting Steve's hometown. She complains there's no Starbucks in his old neighborhood and complains again when her coffee costs only $1.

"Coffee's supposed to cost $4. That's how you know it's good," she reasons. Clearly Ashley is smothering Steve with talk of marriage and his career prospects. But that's not enough to signal she's wrong for him so the premiere episode, written by Mr. Byrne and executive producer Rob Long ("Cheers"), goes for the same joke over and over.

"I want to be around people who are sophisticated, who are plugged in, who eat Ethiopian food but aren't Ethiopian," she says. Taken on their own, each bit of Ashley-is-a-snob evidence is funny, but slathered one on top of each other, it's a bit much. We get it, she's not a Yinzer!

Of course, some Pittsburgh viewers might complain none of the show's supposed Pittsburghers are true Yinzers either. None of the characters speak with a Pittsburgh accent (there's no talk of going "dahntahn") but the show's politically incorrect tone and blue collar vibe make up for this deficiency.

The pilot works its way up to the proposition that Steve will move back home and take over Sullivan & Son, the family bar run by his father, Jack (Dan Lauria, "The Wonder Years"), who is ready to retire and sell the bar to fund his retirement with Steve's mom, Ok Cha (Jodi Long, "All-American Girl"). …

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