All over, “Melissa and Joey” is an odd return to ABC’s “TGIF” satire specialty of days gone by, but with Melissa Joan Hart (once “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) and Joey Lawrence (“Brotherly Love”) involving the grown-up jobs. Look somewhat nearer, however, and this dismally comfortable satire is bound with some shockingly blue language, making you wonder for whom it’s expected. Grown-ups? Just those whose undemanding vision is accommodatingly blurred by wistfulness. Children? Maybe a couple of more established ones, yet presumably relatively few of their more youthful kin in case guardians are focusing.
A neighborhood councilwoman, the eponymous Melissa has turned into the improbable watchman to her insubordinate high school niece (Taylor Spreitler) and young adult nephew (Nick Robinson), on account of her sister being detained and brother by marriage escaping the country following a badly characterized embarrassment. Encouraged to recruit a caretaker by her impertinent assistant (Elizabeth Ho), she has a meet-charming experience with Joe (Lawrence), a “destitute items dealer” ruined by the family’s offenses.
Normally, Joe winds up applying for the caretaker (or rather, “manny”) work, and rapidly demonstrates his value in managing the children. Simultaneously, the two leads (who co-featured in last year’s ABC Family film “My Fake Fiance”) should continue to demand how drawn in they aren’t to one another.
Up until this point, so “Who’s the Boss?” returned to. The amazement, considering present realities, lives in makers Bob Young and David Kendall’s pilot script, which has Joe allude to “Vagino-Americans,” Melissa blame him for pulling something “out of your butt” and makes reference to the niece throwing a designation at her educator rhyming with “Ms. Lunt.” OK, so our little ABC Family is growing up; yet excepting distress (or absence of creative mind), do the gags need to be really so gruff?
ABC Family has been on something of an imaginative roll on the emotional side, including “Immense,” one of this present summer’s most brilliant lights — in the process acquiring its previous boss, Paul Lee, an advancement to ABC.
“Melissa and Joey,” on the other hand, addresses a chose reel back toward the tasteless past times, getting a handle on at “Tgif’s” apparent specialty while offering priceless little for which to be appreciative.