What I Loved and Hated about Family Tree


What I loved.

  • Monkey.
    • It isn’t often that the star of a show is a stuffed animal, but in Family Tree that was the case.  Not only did Monkey have all the best lines, was the best character but he was also super cute (I want one!).
    • Monkey also had the two best scenes in the entire series; at the wedding and when Bea lost Monkey.
    • Nina Conti, who played Bea and Monkey, is an excellent ventriloquist and was very good in the show.  Obviously Monkey got all the funny lines but Bea was a nice character to bounce off him, and it worked really well.  The way the two characters (are they two characters….I don’t really know) interacted together in situations throughout as if they were two different people was very well done.
    • Weird how Monkey was probably the most normal character in the show, considering he was a puppet.
  • Fred Willard.
    • I love this guy, he seems to show up every now and again and usually does something similar to what he does here (although usually a bit different), and for me it just works.  This time he is the weird over bearing neighbour who turns out to be a homosexual, he does get about.


What I liked.

  • Chris O’Dowd.
    • He’s a nice guy and a pretty good actor, although it does surprise me that he has made it to any degree in America because well…..he isn’t what I’d call a good looking boy.
    • He’s the straight man in this, and to be honest doesn’t really do anything amazing but that wasn’t his role.  His role was to allow the other wackier characters play off of him.
  • American Stereotypes.
    • I would swear that if you watched this you would think it wasn’t made by American’s because their stereotypes of American’s are pretty accurate, to the extent that they were a ‘wooooo’ and a ‘USA USA USA!’ chant away from being pretty spot on.
    • It isn’t that I think that all American’s go on like they do in this show but it is a fairly accurate depiction of how American’s do actually act and how they are seen by people outside of America, so it is unusual to see that kind of thing produced by an American TV show.
    • The whole re-enactment and conspiracy theory thing is very American is very American.


What I disliked.

  • Funny.
    • Ugh, Family Tree just wasn’t very funny.  It tried, but it never really took it past the ok level.  It was a nice enough show but I never found myself laughing out loud or even sniggering.  It just wasn’t a funny show, which is a shame because they had a good cast.
  • Style.
    • It just felt that they were trying too hard to be the Office (the Gervais one).  Obviously it is a documentary style show so it will always be compared to a show such as the Office, but it was also in the way the actors delivered their lines (especially Pete, Tom’s best friend) that made it seem to similar.
  • Coincidental.
    • Everything about Tom’s story was too coincidental; just happened to live upstairs from an antiques dealer, just happened to find loads of relatives in the UK and USA without much bother and got a job interview that just happened to fall a few days after he got back (which isn’t realistic at all because he would probably get at most a week’s notice).  There is other stuff that doesn’t really make sense and just seemed to fall into place to nicely for my liking, but maybe I’m just being too harsh.


What I hated.

  • Too many twists.
    • So first he was white, then he was Chinese, then he was white again, then he was a horse, then he was Native American, then he was white again and then he ended up being Jewish……It was all too much.
    • In comparison if you went back in my history you would just find a lot of Scottish and Irish people who didn’t really do anything special, and there wouldn’t have been a shock Fijian link or something stupid like that, and there certainly wouldn’t have been a whole host of twists in discovering it all.  To do it once is fine, to do it more is pushing it too far.
  • Documentary.
    • Why is there a documentary crew following around some nobody Irish guy?
  • Forced storylines for actors.
    • This for me is a major one because clearly the writers wanted Chris O’Dowd in it but wanted to set it in London, so that leads me to think ‘ah Chris O’Dowd plays a Londoner’, a reasonably fair assumption.  However instead they made up some silly story about him moving back with his mum to Ireland and his sister stayed with the dad in London and blah blah blah.  The whole thing didn’t make sense and was clearly done because they wanted certain actors and it made the show seem pretty silly (in a bad way) straight away, which isn’t good.
  • Money.
    • Did Tom not just lose his job?  So where does he get all his money to go to America, rent a fancy car and do all these crazy things searching his family tree?


Overall I didn’t think Family Tree was a very good show, it had potential because of a good cast but it never really got past that just ok level.  One of the biggest shocks for me was that this was an American produced TV show, because it spent so much time in the UK (about half the season) and I get the feeling that people in America wouldn’t really get it, maybe I’m being harsh.  I really don’t want to see this come back for a second season because not only was it not that good but I just don’t see where they could now go with the story.  Surely the story about his family tree is finished and that therefore means the story is finished also, I hope so.

Apparently Family Tree went down better in America than it did in the UK, which doesn’t really surprise me because in America this would seem pretty edgy and original, but in the UK it’s been done before just not on the same sort of scale (as in broadcasting scale).



So what did you think of Family Tree?  As you can maybe tell, I didn’t think it was that good.  Feel free to leave a comment in defence of the show or in total agreement, either way all comments are welcome.

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