The full title wouldn’t fit into the headline spot, so here it is: HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE).
And that title is precisely what this show is about. Shocking right? But in addition to being a description it’s kind of a prescription as well, pigeonholing the series. Allow me to explain.
Polly leaves her husband, takes her daughter with her as she moves in with her parents because she has nowhere else to go. Six months later, she’s still living with her parents, working at a smoothie place in a grocery store, yet determined to be the most successful single mother role model for her daughter.
The ex, Julian, won’t seem to leave the family alone, despite Max’s best efforts to shun him and make him feel unwelcomed. He’s an idiot, with terrible credit, and who used rent money to adopt a highway, and failed to keep up with it. Oh, and he uses a brick as a brake for his truck. Yes, you read that correctly.
Polly ends up going on her first date since the divorce, and is reluctant to leave her daughter with her crazy, whacked out parents. They have no filter, thus are flush with inappropriate remarks that should remain out of earshot of young children.
Predictably, the date goes anything but smoothly, and Max and Julian team up to save the evening.Polly realizes that Julian does still care, he just really is that stupid. Her parents love her and their granddaughter, they’re just from different generations where their type of behavior was once a much more acceptable form of parenting. Polly just needs to figure out – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – how to live with her parents for the rest of her life.
The cast is great. Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett play the parents, Elaine and Max, Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke plays Polly, the single mom, and Jon Dore plays Julian, Polly’s ex-husband. Again, great cast, just too many comedians thrown into one pot. When the improv becomes too noticeable and forced, you lose what the show is. That’s what I took away from this. Parents has its moments, but the premise will wear thin in the long run. Though, Two and a Half Men has proved that a similar premise has legs and can win over audiences.
Unless Garrett or Perkins launch a comedy tour across America touting the slogan “Winning!” I’m afraid I just don’t see that happening for Chalke and Parents.
EDITED TO ADD: It’s no longer about whether the premise of this series “will wear thin” but about the fact that it has run thin. HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS was cancelled last Friday, May 10th. So much for trying to stockpile relevant reviews!