Home » TV » The Fisters. Ahem, The Fosters…Pilot Episode

Modern (ABC) Family

Modern (ABC) Family

With Mad Men on hiatus for the summer, Bates Motel wrapped for Season 2 and the World’s Next Drag Superstar recently crowned on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’m clambering for some new binge-worthy, Netflixy stimuli (bonus for adolescent angst).  On a recommendation from the #delitwins, I’ve decided to check out Season 1 of The Fosters (ABC Family) for 21 uninterrupted episodes of ADD, SATs and HPV.

A typical one-hour drama is roughly 42 minutes without ads and network promos, but for a pilot, it’s important to allocate extra time to address critical questions like:

  • What have I seen her in before?
  • Do I detect a British accent?
  • Is that Rumer Willis?

As you know, all these questions and much more can be quickly answered with the IMDB app, but an extra padding of time is required, to not only look up the information, but to then text someone with whom you share a similar “useless info” affliction.  I call this the “IMDB Toggle” and it is essential to one’s commitment in the “new show recruitment process,” and ultimately can be used as a forecasting mechanism for any show’s success.  While still anecdotal, the evidence (at my house) clearly reveals a strong connection between Early Toggle-Time (ETT), and the Total Episodes Ordered (TEO) by the studio (ETT x min/sec = TEO).  In layman’s terms, more toggle = longer run. This pilot episode took me about 2.5 hours to watch, which indicates a 4-season run (including one musical episode) with a possible TV movie reunion in 13 years.

Cue the pilot, we have clear skies.

Not since Abe Vigoda’s Barney Miller spinoff Fish, have we seen a cop and his/her wife take in such a bevy of pre-pubescents reminiscent of a United Colors of Benetton ad. And while The Fosters have yet to a acquire an Asian, all TEO results point to an early season 2 South Korean acquisition.  You have to wonder if Fish was also tossed around as an apt title for this modern day, 2-mom, lesbionic power-parent pilot. We may never know.

The series opens with a quick introduction to Callie (Maia Mitchell), a typical troubled San Diego teen throwaway caught in one final scuffle before her release from chick-juvee. She’s a cross between Kelly Osbourne and Lucy Hale (of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars) and yes, that was an Australian accent we detected, and no, she’s not really 16, she’s 21 (ABC Family knows a good recipe when it has one).

Shiv-erly is not dead

Shiv-erly is not dead

Next we meet Brandon (David Lambert, 22 playing 17 playing the 88s), a gifted musician and the birth child of Mom #1, Stef the cop (Teri Polo of Focker fame).  Cut to Mom #2, Lena (Sherri Saum from soaps and lots of CSI and Law & Order work) who not only takes in Callie, but uses her own Rae Dawn Chong-like charm to rule as Vice Principal of The Anchor Beach Charter School.  Yes, The Fosters is set by the ocean (as all good teen dramas are).  And, also yes, Callie goes from prison to the private school à la Ryan in the O.C.

Throw in a pair of fraternal-Latino twins (Jake T. Austin and Cierra Ramirez) and one cross-dressing 10-year old (Hayden Byerly), and we’re ready to put a bow on this new family pack of seven. But wait, pilots are all about character development and learning everyone’s name,  so we’ll need a story of some sort as a filler.  Clichés enter stage left.  We’ll need a prescription pill scandal (the twins), a good cop (Stef), a bad cop (Danny Nucci from Titanic, who for a second, I actually thought [and secretly hoped] was Adrian Zmed), a villain (every other foster and birth parent) and a whole lot of hope (the beautiful San Diego spread with an 8-burner gas stove, and the swank ocean-side charter school).

Now its time for dinner…and breakfast, cause these lesbians cook (another reality stretch?), and every home scene is set around the dining/kitchen table with lots of fresh juices, pancakes, wisdom and patience. A little over-the-top, but who doesn’t like bacon? Oh, and speaking of bacon, Stef’s police badge is way too big for her body and looks like a last-minute Dollar Store find from Audrey in Wardrobe. One more slip and it’s back to Fox for Auds.

If Abe Vigoda was alive today. If Abe Vigoda wheels out the old Zenith and hooks up his rabbit ears, he still can’t watch The Fosters, (cause, you know, it’s on Cable), but if someone were to tell him about it and explain to him what lesbians are, he might actually think this was an okay show.

Jail, pills, a 5-bedroom house, 5 not-so-Anglo angry youth, a hot chick cop with an even hotter vice principal wife,  breakfast meat and a beach side high school?

You had me at pills…and as a result, there’s a very solid chance that tomorrow’s lunch will involve me watching episode 2 in my car.  I’ll only need to add toggle-time if the Korean shows up earlier than expected.


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