'Sons of Tucson' premiere: A homeless man gets the creepiest job ever...and it's kind of funny

Sons-of-TucsonImage Credit: Patrick Wymore/FoxSons of Tucson last night came with few surprises in terms of plot – we all deserve an award for consuming the regurgitated story of a debt-riddled loser protagonist who gets into a bombastic situation. But it’s my pleasure to report that Tucson‘s characters (and actors) might be enough to save the show from getting a plot in the TV graveyard. Allow me to explain.

First the basics: Three parent-less boys (dad’s in prison for a white-collar crime and mom’s been out of the picture for a while) need an adult to get them enrolled in school. After a thorough off-screen search for a suitable candidate, the boys settle on Ron Snuffkin, who really doesn’t have much to him besides being a man of questionable morale fortitude who is in desperate need of money (he owes some shady guy in a parking lot $2,000 for something, but he works as a retail clerk and is living in his car). Snuffkin agrees to the one-time gig. Then, the following day, youngest brother Robby has an explosion incident at school, and the boys realize they might be over their heads. Because the series is based on the premise of a man acting as a pseudo-parent to these three boys, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you they extend their arrangement with Snuffkin by the end of the episode.

Like I said, there is not much by way of plot, but the individual pieces of the show give it promise. As EW critic Ken Tucker said in his take, if you liked Tyler Labine’s laid-back-dude vibe in Reaper, you’ll probably enjoy Sons of Tucson. Labine does a great job at making Snuffkin a lovable buffoon without crossing the line into campy. The pilot also rested on Labine’s ability to portray the undeniably creepy Snuffkin as likable, considering the premise.

Along with Labine, the series’ three boys, all relative newcomers to television, also have a considerable load to carry. Frank Dolce, who plays middle brother Gary, made a name for himself during his run in Billy Elliot on Broadway, and is clearly the standout in terms of acting ability. But in terms of comic relief, the night belonged to the youngest brother, Robby (Benjamin Stockham), and his dry delivery and misleadingly innocent face. I never thought something as simple as a butt-cheek punch could make me laugh so hard.

So what did you think of Sons of Tucson? Share your favorite moments and lines below. And tell me: Do you think it will survive?

Top lines/exchanges:

Brandon: We’re working too hard. Let’s just put an ad out on Craigslist. ‘Wanted: Father to three boys.’ Bam. We’re done.
Gary: Great idea. A footrace between the pervs and child services. Bam. We’re screwed.

Robby: I’m seeing butt crack. Are we this desperate?

Brandon: We made it out here ourselves from Jersey. Robby fought off a rail yard hobo for a can of beans
Robby: Those beans were mine.

Ron: What’s on the schedule for manana?
Gary: Well, we’ll be going to school, and you’ll be eating dashboard bacon.

Comments (19 total) Add your comment
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  • Elizabeth

    Actually Frank Dolce played Billy’s best friend Michael on Broadway, not the part of Billy. He shared the part with another boy who got nominated for a Tony while he for some strange reason did not despite all three Billys sharing the nomination. When I saw Billy Elliot Frank was in as Michael and nearly stole the show.

    • Evan

      The producers had to petition the Tony Award committee to nominate all three boys. They didn’t think the part of Michael was big enough to get nominated so they didn’t bother petitioning. David Bologna performed on the first night so he was the one who got nominated. It didn’t have anything to do with Dolce’s performance.

  • Sara

    Sons of Tucson is on the TiVo – I loved Tyler Labine on Reaper, but was skeptical at the premise for this new show. Glad to hear it’s actually promising!

  • Ben

    Won’t watch it. Liked Labine in Reaper, but wasn’t pleased to read that he was hoping for Reaper to get canceled because he wanted to do this show as the lead.

    • BLM

      Ever have a job you didn’t like? Maybe Labine didn’t like his Reaper job. That’s not a good reason to not watch his new show.

      • Jay

        …or maybe his comment was said tongue-in-cheek? hmmm…

  • edwina

    I enjoyed this show a lot. loved the youngest kid

  • TK

    My kids liked it. We fell in love with Labine in Reaper. The oldest said it’s no Reaper, but he laughed. I’ll try to watch it later this week.

  • Deanna Davis

    Awesome! Great show. I have two boys one 11 and 16 and they thought it was good and very comedic. They can’t wait to see the next episode.

  • The Dude

    It wasn’t a bad show, the premise is just really hard to get over. The three boys had a very “Malcom in the Middle” vibe to them which is a good dynamic for the show. I just hope that the shows don’t get too repetitive.

    Basically this is a show that I’ll watch if I have time but I’m not going to bother setting the DVR or going out of my way to see it.

  • lionel

    MADE me laugh which is rare for Fox live action. KEEP it on FOX…don’t go getting stupid and canceling something funny!

  • catherine

    Watched it and I wouldn’t say I fell in love w/it, but the scene in the grandmother’s house was hilarious. We’ll give it another hsot next week, see if it holds up.

  • Grandma

    I loved the show. Made me laugh out loud. Go, Robby.

  • Joseph Massimino

    There was one line said by his mother who sent me into uncontrollable laughter. I thought that the first show was good enough, and plan to keep Tivo-ing them until I decide differently.
    The youngest boy reminds me of the middle girl on Medium. He is very funny. The middle brother was a good casting call. We liked Reaper as well, but it was more like the chemistry of the cast, more than any one person that kept us watching.

  • JC

    An ok show. Didn’t really laugh and it felt too rushed. Will watch again next week and give it another shot.

  • New Fan

    Loved the show! The grandma is hilarious and I hope we see a lot more of her.

  • Jay

    favorite line: after Frank tells Ron about the explosion at Robbie’s school.
    Ron (adult): Good job.
    Robbie (child): Piss off!
    Ron (adult): You piss off!

  • EP Sato

    I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this show. They take a lot of overused TV archtypes and keep them from becoming stale.

    Of particular note is stand out Sarayu Rao. The Wisconsin native and frequent character actress plays the role of Angela to an enjoyable degree. Her character could easily have become Sarah Silverman’s role in “Saving Silverman”, but she adds enough kitsch and sincerity to make the role a lot of fun.

    While we’re at it. Hey EW: How can I get my hands on a Jimmy Carter collectible plate?

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