Grounded For Life Deserves a Spot in the Working-Class-Sitcom Canon

In Grounded for Life’s original pilotStaten Island dad Sean Finnerty (Donal Logue) gets a call from a security guard at a New Jersey theme park asking him to come pick up his teenage daughter Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), who was busted with a group of friends drinking Scotch out of shampoo bottles. When Sean arrives, he discovers that the head of security is the same self-serious, hair-plug-sporting guard who, five years earlier, banned Sean and his brother Eddie (Kevin Corrigan) from the park for life after catching them drunk-driving go-karts. Hair Plugs doesn’t believe that Sean is Lily’s dad, accusing him of being her big brother, or else her dealer. Sean responds with the first of what will become his signature rants. “No, because only a dad would get that screwed. Only a dad works all week at his mind-numbing job only to spend his precious Saturday night at a fifth-rate theme park getting the third degree from a cop with a duck on his badge!” Lily’s friends cheer Sean on, and he basks in their praise — until he hears one of them (a pre–The OC Adam Brody) tell Lily, “You were so right, your dad’s the one to call!” — and realizes he has been played.

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