Fall TV: A Whole Lot Of Trouble On The Home Front
The fall TV season is just getting started and the crop of new shows features quite a few portrayals of adult children and their parents.
Eric Deggans, TV critic for the Tampa Bay Times (and soon to be a staffer at NPR), tells Steve Inskeep that these parents are "typically crotchety, and very dysfunctional, very self-centered and of course the kids get to complain and moan about their parents who don't understand them."
Deggans talks about some of the comedies premiering this fall, both the disappointing and the exciting.
On Mom, starring Anna Faris and Alison Janney
You feel like these writers in Hollywood are kind of working out their issues with their parents in these sitcoms. ... We have a show called Mom, from Chuck Lorre, that's about a woman that's just out of rehab, and her mother has all the bad habits that's she's trying to get rid of. She's promiscuous; she's also just out of rehab. And then this woman is afraid she's going to pass it down to her daughter. And you see this stuff working out in all these different shows.
On Dads, from executive producer Seth MacFarlane
It's the trifecta: It's a terrible show; it has the stereotypical crotchety parents, played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull; and it also has loads of sexist and stereotypically racially prejudiced stuff about Asian people. It will surprise no one that this is from the writers who came up with "I Saw Your Boobs" on the Oscar telecast, now doing a live-action sitcom. Hopefully, the show will get better as they do future episodes.
On a show he did like, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
It's probably the best new comedy of the fall. ... It features Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, and he's aligned with Homicide: Life on the Street and Men of a Certain Age alum Andre Braugher. ... To see these two types play off of each other — Andy Samberg is kind of silly, Andre Braugher is more serious, but he's also very aware of what Andy Samberg's character is trying to do, and he knows how to get one up on him every time. And it's just great to see these two guys. They have a really unexpected and really funny chemistry together.