One Big Happy Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m., NBC.
Perhaps the true sign of equality is that it’s now no big deal for a gay character to anchor a terrible network sitcom. That’s the main takeaway from One Big Happy, the awful new NBC comedy produced by Ellen DeGeneres and starring Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian who decides to have a baby with her straight male best friend (Nick Zano)—just as he meets and impulsively marries the girl of his dreams (Kelly Brook). The mismatched group of people who are forced to live together (but really, deep down, love each other) is right out of Sitcom 101, and making one of them a lesbian turns out to do very little to change the formula. One Big Happy is full of broad, obvious jokes, loud, obnoxious performances and disingenuously uproarious studio-audience laughter.
And for all its efforts at being progressive, it still features a stereotypical sitcom heterosexual married couple in the main character’s killjoy sister and her henpecked husband. Cuthbert displayed impressive comedic skills on Happy Endings, but here her performance is just as strained as her co-stars’, and they’re all saddled with one-dimensional characters. One Big Happy is a generic, low-rent sitcom with only one thing setting it apart—and that one thing, thankfully, is no longer all that remarkable.