Oh Grow Up Review
San Francisco Examiner, September 22, 1999
ABC's 'OH GROW UP' finds itself in an enviable position.
Sitcom could turn into a hit simply by way of default
IT MAY PROVE too much of a task to defend, even trumpet (though not too loudly) a sitcom that has a dog named Mom who talks in subtitles.
Then again, the guy behind Oh Grow Up, Alan Ball, is the same guy behind the new movie American Beauty, which has had many raves. Of course, we've already shown you that the same man responsible for the genius of "Action" is also behind the lameness of "Ladies Man," so that argument alone won't wash.
Nevertheless, Oh Grow Up has the semiprecious distinction of being the second-best sitcom this fall -- behind "Action" -- and primarily because virtually all others are horrible. Still, as much as it would have been easy to trounce yet another show about three men in their 30s trying to find themselves and, hence, grow up, this series did manage a few less-than-predictable turns along the way and engendered many more laughs than expected.
Is it really good? No. But it's good. And it's a perfect lead-out from "The Drew Carey Show." Besides, if you're not watching the superior dramas -- West Wing and Get Real -- on rival networks, well, you're out of choices. So Oh Grow Up may be a hit by default.
But that's not to say it doesn't deserve your attention or won't earn hit status on its own, based on, say, a vastly improved second episode and continued creative growth.
And you may even laugh at the dog's subtitles.
Oh Grow Up revolves around aging lady's man Hunter (Stephen Dunham); Norris, the bitter-but-funny artist (Alan Basche); and Ford (John Ducey), who has just realized he is gay and is starting divorce proceedings from his angry but funny wife (Rena Sofer). They all live together, in various states of adulthood. The twist -- well, one of them -- is that Hunter didn't know he fathered an 18-year-old daughter (Niesha Trout). There is enough here to indicate a possibly funny future. But there also is enough to indicate you won't remember it by next week. Time will tell if the series does indeed grow up -- or keep on living.
-- Tim Goodman
Examiner Television Critic
Reviews | Oh Grow Up