Fox's new 'Sons of Tucson' stinks

Review

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Utterly unpleasant and unfunny, Fox's dispiriting "Sons of Tucson" (9:30 tonight, WPGH) may be the worst comedy series of a generally winning 2009-10 TV season.

Three boys travel from their home in New Jersey to their dad's Arizona pad seeking a faux father who can keep them from being put into foster care. Scraggly Tyler Labine ("Reaper") stars as Ron, a loser scam artist who takes the job pretending to be the boys' dad while their real father is in jail for white-collar crime (Mom left the family long ago).

The writers have created kids with three patented personalities: popular, dumb oldest boy Brandon (Matthew Levy); responsible, worrywart middle child Gary (Frank Dolce); and ill-behaved, bratty 8-year-old Robby (Benjamin Stockham), who should be "the cute kid" but is so obnoxious he inspires daydreams of birth control.

What's more, unlike, say, the kids on ABC's far superior "The Middle," the "Tucson" boys do not resemble real kids. Instead, they're like a TV writer's fevered dream of scheming children.

Kittanning native Todd Holland, who grew up in Meadville, directed the "Tucson" pilot and executive produces the series, but the heart he brought to "Malcolm in the Middle" is missing. Instead, there's a lot of screaming as Ron accuses the boys of being annoying and they say the same of him. Let me settle it: With the exception of a few clever scraps of dialogue in upcoming episodes, everything about "Sons of Tucson" is annoying.



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