SITCOM PREMIERE "Baby Daddy"
WHEN|WHERE Wednesday night at 8:30 on ABC Family
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Three men and a baby. Two secret crushes. One funny grandma.
And one adorable baby. She's left in a basket on the doorstep just a minute into this tale of a rootless dude (Jean-Luc Bilodeau, "Kyle XY" brother), his hunky, hockey-playing brother (Derek Theler, "90210") and the seemingly requisite minority-race best friend/ wacky roommate (Tahj Mowry, "Smart Guy," also brother to the sister twins).
What will they do? Turn to the best friend/girl category (Chelsea Kane, "Dancing With the Stars"), who harbors a thing for rootless Ben, even before he becomes Instant Dad. Turns out brother Danny has his own thing for her. And then mom barrels in, in the form of sitcom pro Melissa Peterman ("Reba").
MY SAY They're actually all sitcom pros here. "Baby Daddy" knows the drill, and borrows from the best. The pilot setup echoes "Friends" with the formerly fat jokes (Kane fat, ever?), the funky New York apartment (sittable fire escape!), even the handy cafe meeting place.
Add jokes involving baby spit-up, duct tape, hockey superstitions, a girlfight and, as Yoda would say, a sitcom have you.
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. "Baby Daddy" is predictable, and then not, and sugar sweet, and then more safely sugar-free sweet. It knows when to drop a punch line, when to work the awww factor, and when to get all Sentimental Message Time about characters learning to believe in themselves.