I’m a sucker for a comfy sitcom – the kind of comfort food familiarity that used to be WB’s bread and butter. I grew up on WB’s afternoon cartoon block, which was inevitably followed by Family Matters and the sitcom ilk. My Wife & Kids is content to meet similar expectations as a non-threatening, barely edgy comedy clocking in at twenty and change per episode. This is not meant as a criticism, but rather a genuine assessment of what to expect coming in. If you’re looking for an easy sitcom to settle into, My Wife & Kids succeeds with a couple of well-earned belly laughs and a cast that is easy to watch and watch some more.
Damon Wayans continues to lead the cast as househusband Michael Kyle, a smart-mouthed father and husband who never lets an opportunity to school his kids pass him by. George O. Gore II and Parker McKenna Posey return as son Junior and younger daughter Kady, respectively. Season two also introduces Jennifer Freeman, subbing in for Jazz Raycole. Freeman proves in short time she has no trouble keeping up with the rest of the cast, which also includes Tisha Campbell-Martin, returning as Michael’s wife Jay.
The work of the cast is pretty much the main reason the show has remained actively watchable for five seasons and this season is no different. Damon Wayans is well-suited for this type of over-the-top physical comedy and his delivery nails the punchlines (simple as they are, the effort Wayans puts into vocalizing them makes most work). Tisha Campbell-Martin is a lot of fun to watch as the outspoken and animated Jay, and makes her transitions from frantic workhorse parent to attentive and caring mom mid-episode work.
New addition Freeman seems a little uncomfortable at first, either too shrill and seemingly unaware or overly dramatic, but she settles into the groove of the cast’s interactions nicely. Reprising their roles, George O. Gore II and Parker McKenna Posey (I understand why she keeps the middle name) are already pretty used to the back-and-forth and do well as confident-to-no-end Junior and cute and precocious Kady.
The episodes are spread out across four discs in a regular keep case. Disc 1 includes the episodes “Mom’s Away, Part 1 & 2”, “Perfect Dad” ,“No Rules”, “Thru Thick and Thin”, “Michael’s Garden”, “He Heard, She Heard”, and “The Whole World is Watching”. Disc 2 includes “Let Them Eat Pie”, “Jay Gets Fired”, “Letting Go”, “Learning to Earn It”, “Get Out”, “Quality Time”, “Road Trip”, and part of the hour-long special “Table for Too Many”, which features recurring guest star Larry Miller as competing dad Stuart Tyler. Disc 3 finishes the special and includes episodes, “Double Date”, “Papa Said Knock You Out”, “Return of the Wall”, “Working Relationship”, “Jr. Kyle, Boy Genius”, “Back Story”, and “Make Over”. Disc 4 throws another special in the mix, “Anniversary” and rounds out season with “The Bowling Show”, and“Jr. Gets His License”.
Gary Coleman and Shaquille O' Neal make brief cameos among the many others featured on the show, a number of them hailing from the Wayans clan. The second season does have a few misfires, such as the tepid “Let Them Eat Pie”. My personal favorite of the season is “Perfect Dad”, where Michael sits the kids down to hear their visions of him as a perfect father – and then proceeds to twist these visions into something humorously darker and sometimes more realistic. The skits that play the visions out are the highlight of the episode and feature Michael as a rapper, a Barney-esque dinosaur and put-together music manager.
DVD Bonus Features
Unfortunately nothing. I would have appreciated even some talking-head face time with the cast behind the scenes. Each episode does feature a blooper reel during the end credits though.
"My Wife & Kids: Season Two" is on sale May 11, 2010 and is not rated. Children & Family, Comedy, Television. Directed by Andy Cadiff, James Widdoes, John Bowab, Jonathan Schmock, Rob Schiller, Sheldon Epps, Will Mackenzie. Written by Alyson Fouse, Bruce Fine, Dean Lorey, James Vallely, Damon Wayans, Damien Wayans, Craig Wayans, Buddy Johnson, James Vallely, Janis Hirsch, Rodney Barnes, Kim Wayans, Valencia Parker. Starring Damon Wayans, George O Gore II , Jennifer Freeman, Parker McKenna Posey , Tisha Campbell Martin.