This low-budget but spirited family sitcom looks at a father trying to adapt to life after his wife's passing, with the help -- or hindrance -- of his eccentric relatives and neighbors.
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“Daddy’s Divas” is sort of a throwback to 1970s or ‘80s sitcoms, the kind of thing the whole family could sit down and enjoy. These often featured ad-hoc families or ones beset by divorce, death or other tragedy, using comedy to leaven the circumstances and create offbeat scenarios.
It’s very much a low-budget affair. Created by David Torre and David Tittone, who also stars as the dad, Michael Hill, most of it seems to be shot in or around a typical cul-de-sac suburban neighborhood, in this case Kansas City.
Michael’s next-door neighbors are his sister, Tiffany (Christie Courville), who’s a bit of a fussbudget and drama queen; her odd duck of a husband, Bradley (Jeffrey Staab), who likes to sing and decorate fancy cakes; and their holy terror of a son, Lucas (Jack Klinginsmith), who strikes fear into everyone, including the local biker gang and the cops who occasionally get called out, despite being about age 5.
Michael’s kids are fraternal twins Brooklyn (Kaitlyn Klinginsmith) and Jocelyn (Madelyn Klinginsmith), who are about 9 and fancy themselves to be budding YouTube stars, and baby girl, Adalyn (Kylie Klinginsmith).
You may have noticed a lot of sharing of surnames there, and rest assured that “Daddy’s Divas” is very much a family affair type of production.
Dawn Linneman plays Michael and Tiffany’s mom, Carol, who dotes on her granddaughters and happens to be dating their school principal, Mr. Henderson (Sonny Gaitan). Michael McQuary turns up in multiple roles that make use of his quirky facial expressions, from a bawling priest at the funeral of Michael’s wife to the angel of death himself.
As near as I can tell, Michael’s occupation is being a personal trainer, which he carries pit in a little gym inside his house. He sort of resembles Mr. Clean from those cleaning product bottles, bald and burly. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of clients, but as with most sitcoms they show just enough of the adults’ occupations to let us know what they’re up to when they’re not involved in family zaniness.
Except for Uncle Bradley — I have no idea what that guy does. Staab is a standout in the cast for his sense of comedic timing and taking his characterization just close enough to the edge of weirdness without slipping into the creep zone.
“Daddy’s Divas” isn’t going to be confused with high-end TV comedy. The episodes tend to each be centered around a central event, like a family Nerf-gun fight or the sisters taking dancing lessons. There’s also an ongoing theme of Michael’s mom trying to set him up on dates, despite it having only been three months since his wife passed.
Kim Palmer plays Ms. Carly, Brookly and Joceyln’s teacher, a favorite target of their various pranks, which they record for their YouTube channel. After an initial blow-up, she and Michael begin an awkward but heartfelt dance that feels like it’s going to wind up in a romantic adventure. At least, that’s what I can garner from the first few of the 10-episode first season.
If I have a gripe with the show, it’s that it doesn’t focus enough on the title characters. The sisters make for an interesting mix of little devils and sugary sweetness, but keep getting pushed aside for the latest contretemps by the grownups. I wanted to see more of their misadventures and how their mom’s absence may be fueling their japery.
“Daddy’s Divas” is available for rental on Amazon Prime Video.