Debra Messing is a person who plays quirky characters. Some viewers will never like her. She isn't deadpan, she isn't mean (see: House). She is however good with her timing and a good actress. The show's premiere was a bit weak but still enjoyable but this is typical of pilots/premieres - you have to be introduced to characters. However, over the last two episodes, the characters settled down into their roles and the 3rd episode was wonderful. Critics - as usual - will loathe a show that doesn't fit a specific mold and to be sure, this show doesn't. They hated many other successful shows such as House for Hugh Laurie being "too mean". We all ended up loving him. If this show is given that chance, we will also grow to love the characters. People expect blockbusters for pilots and this is why so many shows fail, but if these shows go for blockbusters, they leave for the show not maintaining that hype or never introducing them.
So my review is to watch the 2nd to 3rd episodes and watch the season progress, it definitely got better after episode 1. Pilots are almost never anyone's favorite shows. Even Friends pilot was panned. Unfortunately, as of right now - with all the critics headlines of "BAD SHOW!" (some of which who admittedly only saw commercials... how do they get those jobs if they aren't watching the shows?), the outlook is a bit bleak.
This show will need lots of social media and fans to overcome those headlines and the iffy pilot.
I suspect frankly that negative reviews are knee jerk reactions and oppositions to featuring a gay couple so prominently. Considering they actually don't even make sense if you've seen the show, it's obvious they are opinions of society rather than on the show. The reality is there are gay couples out there and yes, there are gay couples looking for surrogates. And yes, the reality is there are some people out there just like "Nana".
The question remains however, how many of the Bible thumpers will crusade against this show both openly and veiled (as prior commentary suggests) which will determine the success of the show. It's writing is witty, every show has a stereotype or two thrown in but it's done in a comedic style. If you are easily offended by anything, don't watch this show, it's not for you. Little Bebe Wood as Shania is absolutely adorable (and managed in the second episode to do a SPOT ON Grey Gardens Edie Bouvier is awesome) and I even identify with her (a lot blond, a little quirky, a little poor and thick glasses at that age). In two episodes, I've laughed and my husband - generally hard to please in comedies - has laughed quite a bit. Yes there are reviewers calling this "gay propaganda" but they knew that going in, there would be crazy people who want to decide what others watch.
~~~~~~~~~~SPOILER HERE~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now that we know she's pregnant (revealed at the end of the 2nd epi), and we've set the basis for the characters, I expect we'll move away from the handful of more stereotypical jokes and start getting into their real story. Everyone who's identified with a show knows the first few episodes are merely the basis and not the bulk.