BY DOUGLAS WERNERT
For the Daily
Published September 30, 2002
In the television world, the one story that always seems to generate a laugh is the outrageous behavior of the main characters' parents. From George Costanza's parents on "Seinfeld" to Homer Simpson's dad on "The Simpsons," the antics of the old folks are pure gold. However, too much of one thing can be harmful as well, and that's what happens with "In-Laws," a new NBC comedy. To sum up this new show; if you've seen the movie "Meet the Parents," you've pretty much seen "In-Laws" already.
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The cast isn't the problem. Matt (Elon Gold) does an acceptable job as the son-in-law who tries to stand up for himself, overcome his nervousness and get the dad to like him. It's not easy when his overbearing yet subtly humorous father-in-law (Dennis Farina, "Get Shorty") is coughing up 30 grand so Matt can go to cooking school. In addition, Matt and wife Alex (Bonnie Sommerville) are now living in their house. To make matters worse, "Mom" (Jean Smart) is getting involved in the real estate business and is abandoning her household duties and also her first-person references (she calls herself Marlene).
The problem is in the writing itself. "In-Laws" is the type of show that would be one episode on any other typical American sitcom, but when you try to make a series out of it, recycled ideas aren't too far behind. "Private convo time" where the father (whose name in never revealed, by the way) reprimands Matt for his actions feels like a scene from countless previous television shows. Also, the scene where the father walks in on the newly married couple "consummating their vows" is too clich