Wednesday, September 26, 2018

REVIEW: 'Single Parents' - A Group of Parents Try to Help Will Reclaim His Life as an Adult in 'Pilot'

ABC's Single Parents - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Will has been so focused on raising his daughter, Sophie, he's lost sight of who he is as a man and has headed deep into the parental vortex. When the other single parents - Angie, Douglas, Poppy and Jake - at his daughter's school see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses Will has gone, they band together to get him out in the world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn't mean sacrificing everything about your own identity.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of ABC's Single Parents.

"Pilot" was written by JJ Philbin & Elizabeth Meriwether and directed by Jason Winer

This hasn't exactly been a winning fall season for new shows so far. The pilot for Single Parents isn't really all that funny but it is charming. It's the first real show that I can see developing into something. That doesn't mean it will have the time to do so. Nor does it mean that the creative failures from this recent development cycle won't actually be massive hits for their respective networks. A number of them have already surprised me with how well they have done in the ratings. That proves that marketing still matters for the broadcast networks. A family comedy has the potential of working on ABC because the network has built up a brand of doing these shows extremely well. Moreover, series creators Elizabeth Meriwether and JJ Philbin were previously able to turn a charming pilot into a very funny and successful series in FOX's New Girl. And so, I have faith in this show even though Leighton Meester is really the only performer who genuinely feels well-utilized at the moment. The flashback to her single parenting vortex where she is singing at the UPS delivery guy and then just throws the box over her shoulder is the closest this premiere gets to a laugh. Angie is driving a lot of the story as well. Not as much as Will though. In fact, Taran Killam feels like the lead of the show in this episode. That probably won't be the case moving forward as the creative team centers more stories around the ensemble of new friends. Plus, Killam will probably have to tone things down a little bit. Will is suppose to be this ridiculous character who is way too invested in his daughter's life. He is still holding onto hope that his wife will be coming back to the family. But he's also just a huge emotional mess who demands a lot of nurturing at the moment. The show better presenting him as a man who knows how to function in society will help the character feel more real and less like a construct designed for ridiculous situations. That's more than likely the direction that will be pursued. That's the reason why I'm willing to give Single Parents the opportunity to develop into something great. Additionally, ABC has once again found child actors who fulfill very specific roles and know exactly how to share the screen with some talented performers. The children actually seem to have well defined personalities. That's impressive. However, Brad Garrett doesn't seem all that amused with the material he's being asked to deliver. He can be a lot of fun as an actor. He's an Emmy winner for a reason after all. Right now, he mostly pops up as the older conservative guy who never thought he would have to be taking care of two young girls. He has a lot to learn about the world as well. That's the style and premise of the show though. Even though these adults have nothing really in common with each other, they come to rely on each other in order to handle everything that comes from being a single parent.