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ABC's 'Single Parents' is Two Years Too Late, and Three Dollars Short

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 27, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 27, 2018 |


single-parents-review.jpg

We are three days into official premiere week on the broadcast networks, and there is clearly a trend in their new offerings toward This Is Us style comedies and dramas, shows designed to hit us in our gushy places and maybe help us forget about what’s going on in the outside world.

They’re two years too late. This Is Us debuted about a month before the 2016 Presidential election, and caught fire after it, as viewers sought refuge in a sweet, tearjerking family drama. As a nation, we were in a very fragile state, so we sought solace in a show like This Is Us because it was a safe space away from Trump.

But it’s 2018 now. We’re not feeling fragile anymore; we’re feeling angry and energized, and the last thing we need now is another drama or comedy designed to elicit tears. Hamilton is exactly what we needed in 2017, but in 2018? We need the sitcom equivalent of Rage Against the Machine, not Single Parents, a bush-league Modern Family rip-off designed to unite singe parents of all races, backgrounds, and political affiliations together under the umbrella of “Parenting is hard! It takes a village!”

Screw that. Where are the You’re the Worst rip-offs? Or the next iteration of Happy Endings? What happened to the misanthropic sitcoms of four or five years ago? Where are the sarcastic characters? Or the mean characters? Or the pissed-off women and people of color plotting the demise of America’s entrenched power structures? WHERE ARE THOSE SHOWS?

The absolute last thing we need right now is a hapless single Dad played by Taran Killam being propped up by a white woman (Leighton Meester), a Black woman (Kimrie Lewis), and an Asian dude (Jake Choi), while simultaneously teasing out the softer side of a misogynistic Republican (Brad Garrett). Come on, network television1 Get your sh*t together. I did not like the Roseanne revival at all, and for obvious reasons, but at least it channeled some of the anger the country has, it just channeled it in the wrong direction. We need more topical sitcoms like Black-ish, or comedies like You’re the Worst or Bojack that explore depression, or at least something like Brockmire, where everyone is black-out drunk.

But this show? Talk about the wrong time. In a nutshell: Killam plays Will, a single dad who hasn’t gotten over the fact that his wife left him years ago, and who is channeling all his energy into emotionally suffocating his daughter while whining to his friend-group of single parents. They decide to set him up on a Tinder date, and his date mistakes his neediness for stalking and calls the cops, which results in a climactic finale in which Killam and Brad Garrett’s Republican character sing the Moana song to Will’s daughter on the phone while the cops look on. Awwwwww but also Blergh.

Single Parents is the sitcom equivalent of the clingy date who tries to make out with you while you’re watching Requiem for a Dream. It’s like, “What are you doing? Get out of my face. Stop it. Read the room. This is not the time! Also, please find a mint. Your breath smells terrible.” Please stop trying to hold our hands, network television, and pick up a glove and get in the f—king ring.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.



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