Sullivan & Son

Sullivan & Son

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For a show awash with more stereotypes and clichés than beer, this one based in a Pittsburgh bar is surprisingly entertaining. Steve Sullivan is the titular son of Sullivan & Son, with an American father of Irish descent and a Korean mother. I should warn you that this show isn’t shy about employing racial slurs and cultural epithets, so if you are the type to take offense easily you might want to steer clear. Even though Sullivan & Son is live action, the script and characters feel more like effigies than believable people, which makes the whole thing pure escapist pleasure. All the characters are exaggerated sketches, although in all fairness they do seem to represent a wide cross-section of people. You do kind of wonder if the people who seem to spend all their time in a bar actually have any sort of lives, but if they did there wouldn’t be much of a show. The plots are alternately sweet or pure acid, with the latter usually spewing from the mouth of Korean matriarch Ok Cha Sullivan. The writers have drawn her as pure Asian stereotype, a rather cold maternal figure obsessed with money and success who seems entirely incapable of expressing affection for anything but a healthy bank balance. I’ll admit it is often very funny, but it does get a bit gratuitous and unnecessarily mean-spirited. Characters are skewered based on race, gender, orientation, social class, religion, level of intelligence, profession, lack of morals, or just the idiosyncrasies of the individual: Black, white, Asian, Arabic, Jewish, Yuppie, it’s all fair game here. This entire show is straight-up fluff entertainment, something you can watch while never having to engage your brain. But it is also worth nothing stereotypes become stereotypes for the simple reason that they’re accurate more often than not. So it might be a fluff comedy but on occasion it might surprise you by illustrating some great truth seemingly by accident. The next round is on me, folks. – BETHANY

Man-eating Mom, Carol Walsh (Christine Ebersole)

                             Steve, Ok Cha and Susan Sullivan

Jack and Ok Cha Sullivan

              Roy, Steve, Ahmed and Owen

Photos courtesy of Wild West Picture Show Productions, Warner Horizon Television and TBS


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