The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

NBC’s ‘Marlon’: This is an Update to the Classic Family Comedy?

Review of the TV show "Marlon"
(L-R) Marlon Wayans as Marlon, Essence Atkins as Ashley,
Amir O'Neil as Zackery, Boris Kodjoe as Devon, Notlim Taylor as Marley
(Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)


Tonight NBC is airing the pilot episode of Marlon, starring Marlon Wayans, which the network has dubbed as an “update to the classic family comedy.” Say but you will, but Father Knows Best this ain’t. Wayans is a talented comedian and his antics in the show does provide a few chuckles, but the show is a few steps backward for men, fathers and even modern families.

In Marlon, Wayans plays a version of himself as a divorced (or separated – it’s not entirely clear) husband who still wants to have “family time” with his kids and ex-wife at her house, but also date other women on the side. The show wants to present that this is a great arrangement until his ex, Ashley (Essence Atkins), decides to go out on date of her own with Devon (Boris Kodjoe). Marlon admits to Ashley that when he sees her with Devon, he feels scared that he will lose his family and get this, Ashley actually comforts the guy! I get that divorce is a challenging reality for many families, but this isn't a solution I can get behind.

It is explained in the first episode that it was Ashley’s choice to separate from Marlan and it’s not hard to see why. Other than video blogging, it is unclear what Marlon’s occupation is. He thinks it’s cute to use his children to promote non-alcohic liquour, gives his daughter uncensored “advice” on how to handle bullies at school, shows up late for important events, swears sort of like a sailor (he is only allowed to say “hell” and “ass” during this “family” sitcom) and the list goes on. Ashley is the ying to his yang as the long-suffering, yet fully supportive, mother figure. Of course, the worst offense is that the show isn’t all that funny. The show’s only saving grace is that the two kids, Zackery (Amir O’Neil) and Marley (Notlim Taylor), are adorable.

So, bravo NBC for bringing us yet another show where the dad is seen more as a buffoon than a role model and providing us with yet another “family show” that is too inappropriate for families living outside of TV land to watch.

Marlon airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.

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