“Baby Daddy” doesn't waste anytime getting straight to its story. In the first episode, we meet Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), a bartender/slacker who lives with Tucker (Tahj Mowry), his wisecracking best friend. Ben's brother Danny (Derek Theler), a professional hockey player, enters the action as their new roommate. Moments later Ben opens the door to find a baby in a car seat on his doormat. After a lot of exaggerated facial expressions and “A baby? What's a baby?” type exclamations, Ben figures out from a note that the baby is his daughter Emma, the product of a brief relationship.

“Baby Daddy” doesn't waste anytime getting straight to its story. In the first episode, we meet Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), a bartender/slacker who lives with Tucker (Tahj Mowry), his wisecracking best friend. Ben's brother Danny (Derek Theler), a professional hockey player, enters the action as their new roommate. Moments later Ben opens the door to find a baby in a car seat on his doormat. After a lot of exaggerated facial expressions and “A baby? What's a baby?” type exclamations, Ben figures out from a note that the baby is his daughter Emma, the product of a brief relationship.


Danny thinks it's a good idea to tell their childhood friend Riley (Chelsea Kane) about the baby because she's in law school and will obviously know all the legalities of what to do when an infant appears on your doorstep. Her legal advice is “get a paternity test,” but later she says Emma is obviously related to Ben because she has his ears and the same sparkling yellow speck of his irises. Riley, then, is the love interest, but Ben still thinks of her as the girl they called “fat pants” back in the day. Not that Riley is fat anymore. She is blonde and thin and awkwardly unsure of how to reveal her feelings for Ben. She's also one of two females on the show (the other is Ben and Danny's mother) who helps the clueless men by showing them how to care for Emma. In one scene, Riley explains the art of diaper changing while cooing to the baby that boys are dumb.


I would have to agree with Riley. The men on this stale sitcom are kind of dumb. So is the tired comedy about toxic diapers interrupted by cute baby shots that are supposed to make us forget about the tired comedy. Even if I get past the odd idea that a professional hockey player would be splitting rent three ways and that the transformed fat to thin girl would have a crush on a guy who called her “fat pants” and who she hasn't seen in years. ... Forget it, I can't get past these things. Everything about this sitcom is so expected it's hard to find something good to say about it. From the adorable baby to the duct tape used to hold diapers to Ben's realization that he loves his daughter and will care for her with the help of his friends, “Baby Daddy” is a junkyard of used comedy scenarios.


What's even more sad about the show is that the premise has possibilities. ABC Family is basically taking the idea from the film “Three Men and a Baby” and reinventing it for a younger demographic. Not a bad plan, but I would imagine even this target audience would recognize that one joke (let alone more than one) about duct taping a diaper is one too many.


Melissa Crawley credits her love of all things small screen to her parents, who never used the line, "Or no TV!" as a punishment. Her book, “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's 'The West Wing,’” was published in 2006. She has a PhD in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned2011@hotmail.com or follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCrawley.