NBC's new comedy "Welcome to the Family" starts with an unfortunate image problem.
The series, which debuts Thursday (8:30 p.m. EDT), is about an aimless California girl from a middle class white family who is impregnated by the valedictorian son of a Latino family, both as they're about to graduate from high school.
In pre-premiere promotions, both of the grandfathers-to-be were depicted as hostile, frankly racist characters. A particularly crass sex joke was shown repeatedly. It was anti-advertising, the type of publicity that screams "stay away!"
During the pilot, it turns out Dan Yoder (played by Mike O'Malley) and Miguel Hernandez (Ricardo A. Chavira) had a past run-in that accounts for their mutual dislike. When Hernandez literally offers an injured Yoder a shoulder to lean on toward the end of the episode, it's the first sign they may become more than one-dimensional characters.
We're not sure about some of the others. Yoder's daughter Molly is essentially a dimwit, yet we're also to believe that she's a strong, committed feminist. Hernandez's smart son is pressed by his dad to be driven and detail-oriented, yet carelessly leaves birth control to chance.