Speechless (Pilot)

Starring: Minnie Driver, Micah Fowler, John Ross Bowie, Cedric Yarbrough, Mason Cook, Kyla Kenedy

So Minnie Driver has a sitcom now on ABC. It’s about a family with a special needs kid (Fowler), which has led the mother (Driver) to be a little crazy. ABC has a lot of strong comedies, but I’m not sure Speechless is is going to join the ranks.

I was not a fan of Driver’s Maya after the episode. She was almost too much for me. Her husband, played by Bowie, is bland. The pilot had a hard time establishing all the kids, but at least it tried (unlike Kevin Can Wait). I don’t know the daughter well, but I did like the boys (Cook and Fowler). I couldn’t help but think the role Cedric Yarbrough is playing was written for Craig Robinson. It feels like a Craig Robinson role, and he’s just a fill in.

ABC has made some serious headway with family comedies. Basically, its their entire lineup. They’re all fairly strong, they have found their footing, and I think Speechless has a long time till it finds its footing. I’m not sure I’ll ever warm up to Driver’s character, and that’s a problem, because she’s the lead. It’s basically the same problem that plagues Notorious. If you don’t like the lead, can you still like the show because of the premise or the ensemble? It worked for Grey’s Anatomy, when Meredith wasn’t the most likeable character, but that was really an ensemble show. This isn’t. Minnie Driver is going to have to be more relatable, and less insane for this show to work.

I might give it one more episode.

FINAL GRADE: C+

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