Yes, ABC is home to raunchy “cool” comedies like “Happy Endings,” “Apartment 23” and the recently exiled “Cougar Town.” But the network’s biggest hit now (and for the foreseeable future) remains “Modern Family.”
So it’s not surprising that all four of the network’s new comedies have something to do with families. Apparently, ABC believes the most promising of these is aliens in the suburbs oddity “The Neighbors” because they’ve scheduled it right after “Modern Family.”
But the network was still impressed enough by the pilots for “Malibu Country” (with Reba McEntire, Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue), “The Family Tools” (with Kyle Bornheimer, J.K. Simmons and Leah Remini) and “How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life” (with Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett) to greenlight them to series.
Will you be impressed enough to watch?
Here’s what we learned from checking out the promos…
1) Adult children + wacky older parents = Non-stop hilarity! (Right?)
All three of these comedies involve adults reuniting or moving back home with their parents. In “The Family Tools” (premiering Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. in January) Kyle Bornheimer is a recent seminary school drop out who takes over the family handyman business from his stressed out dad (J.K. Simmons) while sassy Aunt Terry (Leah Remini) wisecracks on the sidelines.
In “How to Live…” (premiering Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in January) Sarah Chalke is a divorced single mom forced by economic hardships to move back home with “delightfully” quirky parents (Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett). And in “Malibu Country” (premiering Fridays at 8:30 p.m. in November) Reba McEntire is a wannabe country singer who ditches a cheating husband to move to California with her medical marijuana toking mama (Lily Tomlin). Will the laughs ever stop? (Or start?)
2) Brad Garrett isn’t shy
Among the myriad of “edgy” shenanigans in the “How to Live…” clip: two censored expletives (although it’s pretty obvious one is just the word “penis”), lots of sex talk from Perkins and a nearly full frontal Garrett. At least as full frontal as one can get on ABC at 8 p.m. (thankfully).
3) Hey, Orlando Jones is still around!
Remember when Jones was the 7-Up guy and then very nearly kinda sorta a movie star in the early 2000s before fading away into semi-obscurity and occasional TV guest roles in the last few years? If you do, then maybe you noticed his brief appearance in that “How to Live…” clip. He’s billed as one of the show’s full time regulars.
4) Another TV season, another comedy vehicle for Kyle Bornheimer
Nothing against the perfectly likable Bornheimer, but how is he still getting cast as the lead in comedy pilots? He’s starred in three shows in the past four TV seasons: “Perfect Couples,” “Romantically Challenged” and “Worst Week” and none made it past 16 episodes. Isn’t there a three strikes rule? Maybe “The Family Tools” will turn it all around!
5) Lily Tomlin is ready to commit to a multi-camera comedy again…but why?
From “Laugh-In” to “Murphy Brown” to “West Wing,” Tomlin is no stranger to TV. And recently she’s been delivering very fine guest work in the likes of “Damages” and “Eastbound and Down.” But what is it about Reba McEntire’s broad, old-fashioned sit-com “Malibu Country” that convinced Tomlin to agree to sign on as a full-fledged series regular? Any ideas from the clip?
6) ABC’s definition of comedy is very broad
The new comedies may or may not be to your taste but there’s room in the world for all kinds of humor — and ABC seems determined to cater to several ends of the spectrum. They’re the only network that can find a place on the schedule for “Last Man Standing,” “Happy Endings,” “Suburgatory” and “The Middle” and somehow make it all seem cohesive. So let’s close on a positive note: At least there’s no “Work It”!