"Daddio" (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) is the kind of show you hope will be good -- a comedy about a loving, supportive, functional family.
Which makes it all the more disappointing when it turns out to be nearly unwatchable -- a dreadful rehash of old sitcom jokes that are, at best, lame and, at worst, offensive. And it doesn't help that star Michael Chiklis ("The Commish") isn't up to the task of carrying a TV comedy.Chiklis stars as Chris Woods, a happily married man who quits his job when his wife, Linda (Anita Barone), goes to work as a lawyer. Chris stays home as an enthusiastic Mr. Mom to four kids ranging from an infant to a 13-year-old.
"He's the hippest dad in America," Chiklis claimed in a phone interview with TV critics this week.
Well, "hip" isn't exactly the right word. Try "geeky."
And the writers apparently confuse stupid with funny. We're actually supposed to laugh when, upon learning that his wife has gotten that new job as an attorney, Chris turns to his children and says, "Hey kids, you know what this means? Free legal pads!"
Or how about when Chris meets the new neighbor and starts talking about how he's now a stay-at-home dad. "You want to hear something funny?" the neighbor says. "My wife's dead, too."
Boy, that's hilarious, isn't it?
And Chiklis all but chews the scenery when delivering his lines -- as when he meets with his wife's friends, Barb (Amy Wilson) and Holly (Suzy Nakamura).
"Since there's not just mommies in the mommies group anymore, there's also a daddy," Chris says, "how's about instead of calling ourselves the Mommies Group, we call ourselves the Falcons!"
And while this may at first appear to be something akin to "Full House," there are moments that are clearly inappropriate for younger children (not to mention making adults cringe). Like when Barb tells her pregnant friend, "You are in your sixth month, Holly -- you should be toughening up your nipples now," and then goes on at some length about how she should do that.
The most relatable Chris becomes in Thursday's pilot is when he says, "New rule -- no nipple talk at a Falcons meeting."
New rule -- shows like "Daddio" should just go away. Quickly.
Again, what really makes this show so disappointing is that family comedy has all-but disappeared on network television. (It's gone altogether on NBC.) And even though it's so poorly executed, "Daddio" has its heart in the right place.
Chiklis himself spent several months as a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his second daughter -- having missed much of the first two years of his older daughter's life while working on "The Commish."
"It's the toughest job in the world. . . . And one thing I really love about the show is that it does pay homage to stay-at-home parents," he said.
And maybe, someday somebody will put together a network sitcom about a loving, functional family that's worth tuning in to see.
"Daddio" isn't that show.