"Mom, Dad, there's this new show on TV about a family of lions, and it's like a cartoon, only it's computerized, just like Shrek. Can I see it?"
The answer had better be no.
Father of the Pride, on prime-time on NBC, has all the trappings of a kid's show, including cuddly animals. The same people who created the Shrek movies do the animation, so it is bound to attract children. Many parents will assume from the genre that it is innocent. But this TV-14 rated sit-com is for adults only, though it is hard to imagine even adults liking it.
The show centers on Larry the Lion, who works for Siegfried and Roy, the Vegas animal trainers, part of whose schtick is to be flamingly homosexual. Larry has a wife, a teenage daughter with a catnip problem, and a cub. They live in a Vegas suburb with lots of other talking animals, from snails to orangutans.
This sounds more clever than it actually is. Nearly all of the show's dialogue and jokes are about sex: animals in heat, gay sex, interspecies sex, animal/human sex. (Is bestiality going to be the new gay?)
An adult cartoon such as South Park is similarly repugnant, and yet it is at least creative, different, and funny, if only in a sick way. But Father of the Pride is just another bad sit-com-with the worst labored, innuendo-filled, unpleasant, yelling features of the genre-only with stuffed animals.
The premiere episode was about the mating problems of pandas, featuring the voice of Friends' Lisa Kudrow whining about "relationships." Even the voices (John Goodman, Carl Reiner) are sit-com voices.
The scenarios sound funny. They should be funny. But, so far at least, they are not.
As for making children's fare for adults, this illustrates the strange infantilism that plagues the culture. Many adults are refusing to grow up, purposefully clinging to their old childish tastes and ways. But now as adults they can be as naughty as they want to be, in new ways, and nobody has the right to stop them.