Reviews: Find My Family (US)
American critics weren't so moved by the US adaptation of Find My Family, inspired by the success of the Seven series.
Even in the US they are turning on the water works, as the nation feasts its eyes upon their own version of Find my Family.
The reunion series is a Dutch format, but it was the success of Seven’s brand that has led to ABC producing its own version by the makers of the very popular Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
But the critics are not falling for the tears as these reviews attest:
As they do on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the producers of “Find My Family” don’t just tug at the heartstrings; rather, they yank, twist and defibrillate them, all set to cloyingly sentimental music. Unabashedly hokey, the series reunites parents with children they gave up for adoption, literally bringing them together under a “family tree” in a pastoral meadow. If you can get past that level of manipulation, this show will likely connect emotionally — delivering on its promise of “moving moments and tears of joy.”
Washington Post said:
Get out your handkerchiefs, yes, but you probably don’t want to stop there. Better have Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, a few double rolls of Charmin, maybe some gauze, a shirt or blouse with long sleeves and perhaps a few packages of disposable diapers as well. “Find My Family,” a new ABC reality show that arrives Monday night, isn’t just a tearjerker; it’s a tear yanker, a tear popper and a tear squeezer……Anyway, (co-host, Tim) Green, who says he was adopted himself and that “finding my family . . . changed my life forever,” pops in on Sandy and Scotty to say that their daughter has been found. Then look out for the waterworks, as Sandy keeps screaming, “Oh, my God!” while hugging and kissing her long-lost precious angel. In addition to Sandy, Tanya cries, Scotty cries, even Green cries. It’s one big sopping mess, that’s for sure.
Entertainment Weekly said:
The first episode was a repulsive mixture of aggressive agenda-pushing and teary uplift. The show suggests that every adopted person should want to meet his or her biological parents, and every person who gave up a child for adoption is obliged to yearn to meet that child….Find My Family operates a kind of benign blackmail. You can have the FMF team help you locate your long-lost child, but in return, you have to appear on-camera, bare your most intimate feelings, and then go and stand under the show’s jaw-droppingly hokey “family tree” — “a very special place where we bring families together,” says Green. Once there, you must have the first seconds of your reunion filmed.
The possibility that someone might not want to meet a parent or child whom she’s never known is acknowledged, but in the segments made available for review, it’s just a plot device, something to generate a little suspense before the inevitable group hug. “Find My Family” will become more interesting — and more genuinely moving — if it ever allows itself to depict the consequences of rejection. (Of course rejection would mean turning down not only the chance to meet a crucial person in your life but also the chance to appear on television.)
Boston Herald said:
What producers don’t seem to grasp is that this story carries more than enough power to earn viewer sympathy naturally. It doesn’t need to be dressed up….You might wonder about the parents and children who don’t, whose lives might be disrupted by an unscripted show whose intentions might be nonetheless well-meaning. And what happens to these reunited people when the cameras go away?
But over in Milwaukee, they kinda liked it.
And from what we we saw of their meeting — at a somewhat cheesy “family tree” where, apparently all the show’s reunions will take place — it was a happy meeting. A follow-up picnic with the Steinpas clan and Jenny’s family was also warm and upbeat. Real family dramas are far more complex than a half-hour of network television can portray. But Monday’s premiere of “Find My Family” was as emotional a TV show as you’re likely to find, with a truly happy ending. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially in the days before Thanksgiving.