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Commentary: ‘How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)’ a relatable family comedy

Courtesy of MCT

It seems like family-based comedy sitcoms are only gaining momentum.

Ohio State students had the opportunity to attend a pre-premiere showing of upcoming ABC sitcom “How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” Thursday in the Ohio Union.

The show is slated to premiere for all audiences April 3 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

I went to the preview showing of the show’s pilot, expecting to detect the charm buried in the seemingly family-oriented comedy.

Here’s a breakdown of the plot: a divorced mom, Polly (Sarah Chalke), along with her daughter, Natalia (Rachel Eggleston), must move back in with her eccentric parents – her romantic mom, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins), and compliant stepfather Max (Brad Garrett). At the same time, Polly’s ex-husband, Julian (Jon Dore) seems to have all the good intentions in the world but is careless and irresponsible, causing trouble when Polly tries to find a new date.

The intention to create loving conflicts between the different views on parenting within this dysfunctional family is apparent. In some instances, it succeeds.

In one such instance, Polly has to ask her parents to take care of her daughter, and even though Natalia is Elaine and Max’s granddaughter, Polly is worried about the way they might act in front of Natalia. Another instance comes when Max spills the beans to Natalia that there is no Santa.

The show has the potential to resonate with a wide range of audiences and could easily be a family favorite for a light comedy show.

With regards to the cast, 36-year-old “Scrubs” star Sarah Chalke, who more recently appeared on “How I Met Your Mother,” is without a doubt a funny and lovable character. Brad Garrett is another strong asset to the cast, and it is refreshing to see the “Everybody Loves Raymond” star return to a sitcom.

With the help of a narrative storytelling flow of the show, Polly’s relationships with her parents and daughter at times feel heartfelt and real. She is the most “normal” one in the show – she just wants to be a good mother, worker and daughter.

My biggest problem with the show, though, is its fixed characteristics of the family members. Viewers can get a feel for how the personalities of each character play out among the others just by watching 10 minutes of the show, which makes it very easy for audience to predict the characters’ reactions. Along those lines, the same kinds of jokes may appear multiple times.

Overall, I enjoyed the show, because after all, I could see the love flowing around in the family. As long as the show avoids clichés, it’s definitely one to check out.
 

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