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Don't need no Baby Daddy

Baby Daddy poster

Written by : published Thursday 21st June 2012

Don't need no Baby Daddy main image

ABC Family tries really hard on its sitcoms. The latest, Baby Daddy, which premiered last night, should be good. After all, it's basically a serialized Three Men and a Baby, which I re-watched recently and am happy to report still holds up. Unfortunately, the writing is nowhere near the level of the classic film, and the acting is (probably purposefully) cheesy, and thus, Baby Daddy falls flat.

In the pilot, Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Kyle XY) is very surprised when an infant girl named Emma is left on his stoop. Viewers may be even more surprised at the timing, considering that the baby wasn't there moments before, and somehow, it worked out just right. Ben assumes the baby is his based on the note left behind, though no DNA test has been run. Being told by his family that he can't possibly raise the child, Ben considers putting her up for adoption. Even stranger, the mother apparently has the same thought, finds a family to adopt Emma, and dropping off the paperwork less than 24 hours after dropping off the baby. So why did she bring Emma to Ben in the first place if an adoption was already set up?

It's this kind of weak plot, with incredibly unrealistic developments that just don't make sense that kills Baby Daddy. Bilodeau is a fine performer, but try as he might, he just can't sell material this bad. It seems the basic plot points of the episode were outlined, and then, the writers not sure how to connect the dots, just did anyway, not worrying about making sense of the transitions. Perhaps after the "Pilot," this will improve. But in the first episode at least, the story is horrible.

Ben will have some help with his child. His big brother, Danny (Derek Theler), just moved in, and Ben is already living with his best friend, Tucker (Tahj Mowry, Kim Possible). It's a small apartment, but none of the guys seem to mind the baby, nor do Danny and Tucker ever weigh in on Ben's decision much, even though it will affect their lives as much as his. In fact, the guys go so far as to rush out the door when a dirty diaper appears, the last one being the one stuck with the baby. It's zany, and not in a good way.
There is also a love interest, of course. Former neighbor and fat girl, Riley (Chelsea Kane, Fish Hooks, Jonas), just happens to reenter the guys' lives at this time. Her involvement is tenuous, at best. But she has long harbored a crush on Ben, so that provides motivation for her to keep coming back, despite her horrible plotted introduction. It looks like Danny might have a thing for Riley, too, setting up a love triangle. It's not any fault of Kane's, but the character seems superfluous at this point, it being much more fun to see the guys try to deal with the child on their own.

As bad as the writing is, the acting is surprisingly acceptable. Yeah, the cast hams it up, as surely they were told to, but they also show some nice moments of sincerity. The best scene is when Danny, Riley, and Tucker hang out in the hall, leaving Ben to realize that he can handle taking care of Emma on his own. This is sweet, and makes perfect sense, the friends hanging out just outside of the apartment in case Ben really does need them. Theler, in particular, really captures the nuance of the moment, and Kane is charming in this and the scene before it. More stuff like this, and Baby Daddy might have something here.

In short, Baby Daddy delivered a pretty terrible "Pilot," but with hints of potential, should the kinks be worked out. While it's hard to be optimistic, other series have bounced back from rocky starts, and now that the basic elements of what the series will be are all in alignment, perhaps it can go somewhere. For the sake of those involved, I certainly hope it works out. We'll see.

Baby Daddy airs Wednesdays at 8:30 PM ET on ABC Family.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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