After binging on episodes of HBO’s Veep, I came across the new series, Family Tree; sadly, my high expectations for an HBO comedy were not met.
From creator Christopher Guest (The Princess Bride) comes this quirky, British mockumentary that follows the deadbeat Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaids) as he explores his family heritage after his great aunt dies and leaves him a trunk of seemingly useless knickknacks.
I think the source of my dislike for this show is my dislike for Irish actor Chris O’Dowd. His scenes in Bridesmaids seemed forced to me and his short-lived gig on Girls didn’t help his cause, either.
This show also doesn’t seem to have the right audience. From an American creator on an American television network, the show is chalk full of British humor. Take Tom’s troubled sister Bea, for example. Played by well-renowned ventriloquist (or as well-renowned as a ventriloquist can be) Nina Conti, Bea carries her companion Monkey around with her, and nobody seems to question the ridiculousness of her quirk.
Another problem I have with Family Tree is its forced mockumentary format. For shows like The Office and Modern Family, the testimonials have an implied purpose – to take a look at the American workplace and the modern American family, respectively. But for Family Tree, what is the purpose? Unless his family knew that Tom would go on a quest to discover his family’s ancestry, the camera crew seems outlandish and unnecessary.
So far, I’ve only seen the pilot, rightfully dubbed, “The Box,” in which Tom receives his inheritance of a strange assortment of trinkets. However, I do not think I will be returning for the subsequent episodes.