Saturday, May 12, 2007

Season 2
Episode 2

Written by Brent Hanley; directed by John Landis

Harold Thompson (Cheers’ George Wendt, who is reportedly appearing as the Vice President of the United States in the upcoming House of Re-Animator*) has some new neighbors. But what David (The Last Days of Disco’s Matt Keeslar) and Celia (Dawson’s Creek’s Meredith Monroe) apparently don’t know is that George has a terrible secret, one that could prove fatal for them all.
Landis (perhaps best known for his landmark horror film, An American Werewolf in London) handles this story very well, showing us some interesting parallels regarding George: just as the bland suburban façade of his home hides a gruesome truth, so is there a psychotic insanity that lurks behind his apparently harmless exterior.
That theme is then expanded upon with a third, initially undisclosed truth which only surfaces in the film’s final act.

But, despite “Family” being one of the better episodes of the second season (certainly better than the season opener, “The Damned Thing”), it does have its share of hiccups, among them, a number of scenes which border on pure audience misdirection, scenes which may seem a bit illogical, in light of the third act revelation. They aren’t blatantly manipulative, mind you, but they do skirt a questionable area.
Given that though, the episode is still bolstered by Wendt’s creepy Harold, and Monroe gets to spout some choice lines she would never have uttered on the Creek.
It’s also written by Brent Hanley, who penned the script for the excellent American Gothic horror film (and Bill Paxton’s directorial debut), Frailty.

* William H. Macy’s the President!

(Family DVD cover art courtesy of

(Originally posted 031107.)

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