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TV Series Review

It’s said that when you marry a girl, you marry her whole family. Tom (Breckin Meyer) thought he was going to be the exception to the rule. After all, he and his new bride, Susan (Kiele Sanchez), lived in New York City. The in-laws were parked somewhere safely in fly-over country. But being Married to the Kellys becomes a daily challenge for Tom when Susan convinces him that they should move to Kansas City.

The Kellys open their arms to Tom, but he isn’t eager to exchange his big-city attitudes for Midwestern manners and corn-fed culture. What results is a comedic push-and-pull saga that’s sometimes unseemly and rude, yet many times sweet and easy to relate to.

Rude material includes drunkenness and references to three-way sex as well as an entire episode devoted to exploring what happens when one of the Kelly daughters brings home her lesbian roommate. In a twisted effort to validate her womanhood, Susan spends the weekend flirting with the young coed, trying to get her to “like” her. Tom and a brother-in-law trade sly jokes about same-sex make-out sessions. And Mom and Dad go overboard pretending everything’s normal and perfectly A-OK.

Other trouble spots include Susan’s wardrobe, which typically reveals lots of cleavage. The idea that some “quaint” families pray before meals is mocked when the Kellys jokingly sing the blessing. Furthermore, the family’s youngest son, who is 21, still lives at home. That’s certainly not a crime, but he sets a rotten example by routinely abusing his generous parents’ reluctance to cut the apron strings.

Kellys’ sweetness arrives in the form of good-natured compromise and a growing camaraderie between Tom and his in-laws. As he gets to know them, he begins to care for them, helping them work through problems and disagreements. Some of his advice is severely misguided, but when he points them in the wrong direction, he’s usually forced to clean up the mess.

I could give Married to the Kellys a much better review if it didn’t interject off-color jokes and gay subplots. As it stands, I fear that any early goodwill it has generated may evaporate once the honeymoon is over.

Episodes Reviewed: Feb. 27, March 5, 12, 19, 26, 2004

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Steven Isaac

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