ABC (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET)
TV perennial Ed Asner (Lou Grant, et al) is a former stock car driver who now runs an Indiana garage. Then his divorced daughter (Diane Venora) and her three noisy young kids move in with him above the shop. “They need a positive male role model,” Venora tells Ed. “Who better than you?” Oh, I don’t know…Axl Rose? If Asner’s grumpy, belittling, skirt-chasing 65-year-old bully is a template for masculinity, our society is in worse shape than I thought.
The show is supposed to contrast generational child-rearing techniques: the traditional authoritarian method vs. the more nurturing ’90s approach. In fact, it’s not much more than a half hour of kiddie giddiness and senior stridency. The formula is presented with professional briskness, but it’s still thin, hackneyed and badly played.