Sun, May 27, 2018 08:53 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-12-12 life & times
Wayans comedy adding real-life situations
Cletus Turner

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If you had asked me, while I watched Damon Wayans on In Living Color on FOX, all those years ago if he would be a break out star, my answer would have to have been yes, after seeing Damon's skits like Homey the clown, Handiman and, of course, Men on Film. The latter was my favorite of his characters on the show. Wayans also received two Emmy nominations for his work. When Wayans left television for the movies, the medium was poorer for its loss. Wayans made us laugh in Major Payne and was the straight man in Bulletproof.

Then, suddenly, Wayans was back on television with his new series My Wife and Kids. On the show, Wayans plays Michael Kyle, a family man who uses his sense of humor to teach life lessons to his family.

Now, Wayans is into his fourth season as Michael. Michael and his wife Jay, played by Tisha Campbell-Martin, have discovered their son Junior, played by George Gore, is going to be a father. The announcement, of course, was not a happy one for Junior's parents. Who wants to be a grandparent when they are still in their 30's? The show has certainly focused on this story, with Michael and Jay trying to show Junior that raising a child isn't easy. On one episode, Junior was forced to carry a sack of flour dressed like a child around. He was given a particular schedule to uphold. When Junior wanted to go out with his friends, he was reminded that the "baby" needed to come first and that he would have to get a "babysitter." By the episode's end, Junior had a better understanding of how much the baby was going to change his life. Vanessa, played by Brooklyn Sudano, is Junior's girlfriend and soon to be the mother of his child. She doesn't want to get married, but wants Junior in the baby's life.

Michael and Jay also have two daughters named Kady, played by Parker McKenna Posey, and Claire, played by Jennifer Freeman. The girls have been as much of a problem as their son, and Michael and Jay keep a watchful eye on Claire's relationship with her boyfriend Tony, played by Andrew McFarlane.

The best thing about this series is that it isn't afraid to take chances. When Rachel became pregnant on Friends, no one was worried about how she would take care of the child. They only wanted to know who the father was. On Wife, Vanessa's teenage pregnancy takes on a whole different meaning. First, who will take care of the child? Junior has stated he wants to be a father, but Michael is currently trying to show him that fatherhood is more than just creating the child. He and Jay are constantly reminding Junior of the big responsibility he wants to tackle. They show him how immature he is and how that will have to change. The pregnancy isn't just effecting Junior. It is effecting the whole family. Junior and Vanessa's challenge is effecting the way Michael and Jay react to the rest of the family. By watching Claire more closely, a plot twist affects everyone. When Kady gets to the age of having a boyfriend, I don't think the lessons learned from this situation will have faded. Claire, naturally, doesn't think it is fair that she be watched so closely, but isn't that the way it happens in every family?

The series is showing a teen relationship that begins to dabble in sex and the result of a pregnancy from that relationship. This type of story hasn't been shown in prime time very often and is groundbreaking. It lets us see a situation that has played out in real families and makes the series, which wasn't very personable in the first couple of seasons, have a personality all its own.

Making all this possible is the actors. Gore has breathed into Junior a real teenager. You can see him believing "it won't happen to me" and the aftermath of that mistake. Wayans is the perfect father, with all the imperfection that brings. His character loves his children, and he makes mistakes. That is what a real father does.

Overall, My Wife and Kids is becoming the perfect situation comedy as it brings real life into the forefront and allows us to see warts and all. The comedy in the show is based on the actual events and not physical comedy that so many shows rely on all to often.

4 suns

Notes from the couch:

Battlestar Gallactica debuted this week on the SciFi channel. Amazingly, it had more viewers than the WB and UPN and equaled Angels in America on HBO for total number of viewers. While this isn't the biggest audience SciFi has had, it is the third largest behind Taken and Dune. The difference of having a female Starbuck, which has been the source of many conversations on the night shift down in Louisa, didn't seem to cause anyone to tune out. Battlestar won both nights it aired on the cable network.

Katie Holmes has signed on to be the new love interest in the new Batman movie. Holmes, who most will remember as Joey on Dawson's Creek, will play Rachel to be opposite of Christian Bale, the new Batman. Michael Caine has been chosen to be the new Alfred. That's three characters and, so far, no story. Isn't that getting the cart before the horse?

It is rumored that Natalie Portman, Senator Amadala from Star Wars will be the new Lois Lane in the new Superman movie. Now, who will be the new superman? We have heard that Brendan Fraser of The Mummy and George of the Jungle is the front runner.

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