Fall TV: A Whole Lot Of Trouble On The Home Front Too many new network sitcoms center on adult children and their crotchety old parents — and even more sitcoms revolve around families. Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times talks to NPR's Steve Inskeep about new fall TV.
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Fall TV: A Whole Lot Of Trouble On The Home Front

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Fall TV: A Whole Lot Of Trouble On The Home Front


The fall TV season is just getting started, which means it's prime time for Eric Deggans, TV critic for the Tampa Bay Times, regular guest here. Hi, Eric.

ERIC DEGGANS: Hey. How's it going, Steve?

INSKEEP: I'm doing OK. So, I gather that there's a trend of somewhat older people in some of these shows. We're talking about adults with crabby, old parents.

DEGGANS: And, unfortunately, they're all stereotypes. They're kind of 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.

INSKEEP: But it is the full range of baby boomers here - from people still stuck in the '60s, all the way back to people still stuck in the '50s. Is that right?

DEGGANS: Oh, yeah. And, you know, it's interesting. You feel like these writers in Hollywood are kind of working out their issues with their parents, in these sitcoms. Because 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 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.

INSKEEP: And there some others here. I could name a few of them: "The Millers," "The Crazy Ones," "Back in the Game." And then there's this series called "Dads."

DEGGANS: Oh yes, "Dads." It's the trifecta. It's a terrible show. (Laughter) 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.


DEGGANS: It will surprise no one that this is from the writers who came up with "I Saw Your Boobs" on the Oscar telecast, now is doing a live-action sitcom. Hopefully, the show will get better as they do future episodes.

INSKEEP: OK. So, you don't seem totally enraptured with the programs you've been talking about so far. Any of the new TV shows any good?

DEGGANS: Oh, yeah. There's this wonderful new comedy on Fox. It's probably the best new comedy of the fall. It's called "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and 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. And I think we might have a great clip from that show, too.


INSKEEP: (Laughter) I think I'm going to start using that phrase here on MORNING EDITION, Eric.

DEGGANS: (Laughter) Now, what you're missing in radio, of course, is this visual of Andre Braugher, who we've seen - you know, with close-cropped hair, but he's back in the '70s, so he has a little bit of an afro. It's really a wonderful look. And to see these two types play off of each other - Andy Samberg's 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.

INSKEEP: Eric Deggans, TV critic of the Tampa Bay Times and soon to be on staff at NPR. Eric, welcome, by the way.

DEGGANS: Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: And remember: Put down the yo-yo, and back away from the girl.


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