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TV Review: 'Monster-In-Laws' -- 3 stars

The DiMartinos are among the families getting intervention.

The DiMartinos are among the families getting intervention. Photo Credit: The DiMartinos are among the families getting intervention.

Monster In-Laws
3 stars

“Monster In-Laws” is video Visine, clearing your eyes to recognize how family aggravations escalate — and how to head off the big blowup.

The word “Monster” might make you think in-law-zillas, but A&E’s serious new half-hour series is more like in-law rehab.

Tonight’s first episode puts cameras in the home of the Ciccone family of Western New York, where 30-ish daughter Kim is caught between her husband, Anthony, and her always-there parents, Richie and Pam, with whom he’s opened a restaurant.

Richie rides roughshod over everybody, forever decreeing how things ought to be (his way), while odd, sprightly music underscores the simmering tensions. Kim responds by controlling access to their doted-on granddaughter Nina as a weapon to keep her folks in line.

“Relationship expert” Mel Robbins finally enters the house to straighten things out, but the explosions continue.

There’s a screeching, slamming, very nearly physical skirmish that’s discomfiting to watch on — especially if, like most of us, you’ve been there with your own parents, spouse, in-laws or adult offspring.

The first part of the premiere seems like standard bad-behavior TV for all of us to cluck over. But Robbins means business, calmly prodding family members —
and not just the apparent aggressors — to truly comprehend where the others are coming from.

She calls people on their bull, eliciting not just tears from stress but tears of realization.

The bottom line is that “Monster In-Laws” feels very necessary, indeed.

On TV: “Monster-In-Laws” premieres Monday night at 10 and 10:30 on A&E.


On TV: “Monster-In-Laws” premieres Monday night at 10 and 10:30 on A&E.

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