'Family Tools' Review: Don't Watch This Show
'Family Tools' Review: Don't Watch This Show
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
For some unknown reason, network TV executives are convinced that Kyle Bornheimer is destined to be a huge sitcom star. In 2008 he starred in CBS' Worst Week (cancelled after 16 episodes). In 2010 he starred in ABC's Romantically Challenged (cancelled after four episodes). And in 2011, he starred in NBC's Perfect Couples (cancelled after 11 episodes).

Now he's in ABC's new comedy Family Tools, premiering Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30pm. But surely this time he'll finally break through, right?

No. To start with, the show's title is such an embarrassingly lame joke that, before you even watch a single second, you know you're in for comedy so bad that the punchlines seem to be compiled from the rejects of Two and a Half Men and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And believe it or not, it's actually worse than that.

Bornheimer plays Jack Shea, a painfully optimistic wannabe do-gooder whose boundless enthusiasm and desire to help people is matched only by his ability to screw everything up. He shot himself in the foot at the police academy, shot his lieutenant in the foot in the army and got kicked out of seminary school for suggesting the Bible should be "a little less long and preachy." Spoiler alert: That's the closest the pilot comes to a funny joke.

Jack's dad (J.K. Simmons) has a heart attack, meaning he can no longer work as Mr. Jiffy Fix, the local repair shop he started. Jack's pushy aunt (The King of Queens star Leah Remini) orchestrates a situation where Jack will take over as Mr. Jiffy Fix. Uh oh, a bumbling idiot as a repairman? What a hilarious, wacky set-up for comedy! And you'll NEVER guess what happens when he picks up a nail gun after taking off his shoes and socks!

Or not. Bornheimer isn't a leading man, and I don't know why he keeps getting cast as such. At best he's a quirky supporting actor. After watching the pilot, I had more than enough of him.

But even worse are the supporting characters. Jack's cousin is a creepy 15-year-old who sets off fireworks for no reason. Then there's the repairman's assistant Darren (Edi Gathegi), introduced with this gem of dialogue: "I've been busy boning." In 2013, the character feels like an embarrassing stereotype of a black man. I'm pretty sure a future episode will have a joke about him yelling at the screen in a movie theater.

Finally, Darren's sister works at the local hardware store and the first time we see her she licks her fingers and starts erotically rubbing a "stain" off her breast, only to vow that she's not flirting with Jack. I'm not sure what the opposite of chemistry is, but Family Tools has it.

At this point, I throw my hands up in the air and say "Who gives a crap?" Family Tools is terrible. Really, really terrible. The jokes are painfully bad, the acting is awful and truly talented people like J.K. Simmons are being wasted (he needs to land a recurring guest role on Justified season 5 ASAP).

Don't watch it. Please, don't watch it. ABC's Wednesday night comedies have been solid this year, with The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory, The Neighbors and How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). Family Tools does not belong in that category. It doesn't even belong in the same category as Last Man Standing or Malibu Country. It belongs in the garbage right next to Animal Practice and no amount of repairs can fix it.


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(Image courtesy of ABC)

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