NBC's new comedy Welcome to the Family may portray a white family often bumping heads with a Latino family, but the cast and creator Mike Sikowitz clarified that the sitcom is not a culture clash.
The series follows a white family (Mike O'Malley and Mary McCormack) and a Latino family (Ricardo Chavira and Justina Machado) who bond when their children (Ella Rae Peck and Joey Haro) fall in love and plan a family.
"While All in the Family was one of favorite shows, it revolved around the fact that it was a real clash of cultures," Sikowitz told reporters Saturday at NBC's Television Critics Association fall TV previews. "Archie Bunker was a lovable bigot, but he was a bigot. This is more just about not a clash of cultures, but of personalities and of family. We're making a real distinction here because I don't think that would fly today."
Welcome to the Family was inspired by Sikowitz's son, who started playing with a Latino child during a trip to the store. Sikowitz got to know the dad during their short play date. Although they also draw inspiration from other familiar sitcoms, like Family Ties, Sikowitz says Welcome feels unique. "There's been so many great families on TV," he said. "I feel like we have a big, fun mixed blended one that feels really fresh and modern Hopefully we'll put our stamp on family comedy in a big fun fresh new way."
The fathers, in particular, come to blows because they have a different parenting style. "When these characters are put in the situation they're put in, it's always going to be two steps forward and five steps back," Sikowitz said. "There's going to have to be a softening in this relationship at time ... but there's always going to be things that come up to put them in conflict with one another."
Page 2 of 2 - "This is a family that loves and dotes on their children and wants to do everything together," O'Malley said of the Latino family. In comparison, the white family are looking forward to their daughter leaving for college, "so we can get back the life we had before she was born."
With these two houses at odds, the children are also a modern Romeo and Juliet, of sorts - at least without all the death. "That's definitely a similarity in a sense of two young kids who are madly in love who bring different families together," Haro said before O'Malley quipped, "And in Episode 4, they kill themselves."
"Romeo and Juliet are much more tortured," Peck added. "I think Molly and Junior are simpler. They love each other and that's it. They're going to make it work."
Welcome to the Family premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.
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