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Working the Engels

Drama . Comedy
 

In this family comedy created by Katie Ford and Jane Cooper Ford, a family of ne'er-do-wells must band together to keep their heads above water when their father and breadwinner passes away, leaving them a mountain of debt.The Engels must all go to work running Dad's storefront law firm, with one minor problem: daughter Jenna Engel is the only one who is qualified to practice law. Unfortunately for Jenna, this also means taking on her eccentric relatives as co-workers. Ceil, the self-absorbed and overly dramatic but fiercely protective mother works as the firm's paralegal; Sandy, a former pill-popper who has never worked a day in her life, is the receptionist and first line of defense at the firm; and Jimmy, a petty criminal and bad boy who is utterly devoted to his family, is the firm's investigator. Jenna, the youngest sibling and "the good one," becomes the unlikely family patriarch, running the law firm and keeping her crazy family together.It's not pretty, but it's family.

 
Status: Ended
TV Channel: Global
  • Matt Roush

    Nothing about Engels works: the tired premise, the strained performances, the empty abyss of silence into which the groaning jokes dissipate.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The show has a few moments, but it simply tries too hard overall. It is unforgivably guilty of wasting Martin's comedic gifts.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Think of this as a very, very poor woman’s “Arrested Development,” and as thematically tired as a half-hour comedy can get.

    Variety Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    The family dynamic is not unlike the one on “Arrested Development,” only Working the Engels leaves out the humor, inventiveness and sophistication. “Zany” is a word that mostly applies to antic comedy that isn’t funny, and that includes Working the Engels.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Watching the cast rather heroically work their way through a series of jokes and "developments" as nondescript and rickety as the storefront law office they come to occupy, it was difficult not to despair: NBC took "Harry's Law" off the air, then gave us this?

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    Though the series may have some passing connection to Arrested Development in terms of setup, it isn't able to capture the depth or tone or charm that elevates a comedy out of just being mediocre to being something really great. That requires more work.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    In the end, this Canadian import would be okay for a summer evening if there was more to like in the characters. There just isn’t.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Kyle Anderson

    Aggressively forgettable summer fodder with a scary absence of originality or voice. [11 Jul 2014, p.64]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    The show never allows itself to stand down from ill-fated, continuous attempts at heightened hilarity.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Bruce Miller

    The fish-out-of-water aspect intrigues but it also frustrates.

    Sioux City Journal Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The show’s humor is more often graceless and crass.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    There’s a hint of “Arrested Development” in the air, but Working the Engels is ultimately a much more common kind of dysfunctional family sitcom.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    Neither ["Welcome to Sweden" or Working the Engels] is awful, neither will make you cancel other plans.... A few bright ideas enliven the half-hour. But how many meddling mother jokes can they pile on before we’re weary?

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Lori Rackl

    Working the Engels is a decent little sitcom made more appealing by its likeable cast.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Starr

    The show moves along at a nice clip, the cast is pleasant, given the predictability of their sitcom-y characters, and they mesh nicely as an ensemble.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    There’s a bit of a free-form Arrested Development vibe in play, but not enough to elevate Working the Engels to anywhere near that level.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Erik Adams

    On their own, Arthur’s lunkheaded Jimmy and Skye’s bubbly Sandy are sketched a little thin—but due to Working The Engels’ compact ensemble, they usually wind up paired with Rohl or Martin, salvaging some potentially dire storylines like “Jimmy gives grandma’s ring to a stripper” or “Sandy wants to win a mother-daughter dance contest.”

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    It's no "Arrested Development," but Martin's still a hoot, and it's good to see Rohl in something a bit less dark.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Diane Werts

    [The Canadian comedy all-stars] give it good vibes. But the scripts, despite mad moments of whimsy, can't keep pace with the cast's comic timing and tone.

    Newsday Full Review
Episode Guide For Show: Working the Engels