‘Home Economics’ could be ABC’s next big family sitcom

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ABC may have found its next big family comedy – and its secret weapon is a guy best known for a dick graffiti show.

Domestical economy, premiering Wednesday, starts from a simple premise: three siblings, each in a very different income bracket, navigate their complicated financial relationship to stay connected as a family. Topher Grace, echoing his run as the endearing dweeb Eric Forman on That 70s show, anchors this new series as the older brother of wet cover Tom Hayworth. The incredibly likeable Jimmy Tatro, best known for his side turn as Dylan Maxwell in american vandal, plays Tom’s incredibly wealthy little brother, Connor, while Caitlin McGee plays their recently unemployed older sister, Sarah, who struggles the most financially. (You can tell because the apartment she shares with his wife, Denise, is cramped and painted dark green for ultimate comfort; plus, their car has roll-up windows.)

It’s fascinating to see this series premiering on ABC about a decade after the network unveiled its juggernaut Emmys. modern family. Although it debuted during the height of a global financial downturn in 2009, the mockumentary-style sitcom (which was extraordinarily popular with affluent audiences) focused on the Pritchett family put to the test. out of the recession and became a reliable hit with critics and audiences alike for years. . During the ModFamUnder Donald Trump’s reign, the sitcom genre seemed to follow suit, at least in airplay, until Donald Trump’s election in 2016 sparked renewed working-class interest.

Unlike the Pritchetts, Domestical economyThe Hayworths must be thinking about money. As struggling novelist Tom prepares to ask his absurdly wealthy little brother for a loan, Sarah scoffs at the idea of ​​their ultra-wealthy brother being quarantined at his old mansion in Seattle, where his son from swimming pool became a TikTok influencer. The show handles its class tensions with levity and wisely deploys its gender identity to imbue these awkward conversations with humor and humanity. Its early episodes are promising, thanks in large part to the easy chemistry of the actors, who all seem to fully understand their assignments.

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Grace, who serves as both executive producer and star, playing Tom with such lovable and obnoxious ease. (“I won the most promising first novel at the 2009 Nantucket Book Festival, non-fantasy or science fiction,” Tom boasts at one point. “I think I can handle a wedding toast.”) As Eric Forman, Tom is kind-hearted, a bit temperamental, and deeply anxious. His wife, Marina, played by a delightfully sardonic Karla Souza, is a retired lawyer who, despite the family’s financial struggles, mostly spends her time listening to podcasts about the murders and wondering out loud whether she should go back to work. (I mean…probably?!) The two share a daughter, Camila, and a set of toddler twins.

McGee, meanwhile, hits all the right comedic notes as an out-of-work older brother who just wants to prove she still knows best (even when she doesn’t). Writers Michael Colton and John Aboud also know clearly what they have in backing player Sasheer Zamata, who plays Sarah’s wife Denise, a level-headed, astrology-obsessed earth sign who just wants her in-laws relax. Their children, Kelvin and Shamiah, spend most of their time roasting Sarah when her antics spin out of control.

But it’s Tatro who, in each of the three episodes made available for review, reliably gets away with the show. The actor’s charisma ensures that his one-percent persona, who loves nothing more than reminding people that he bought his lavish home from Matt Damon, is just too dumb to hate.

It doesn’t hurt that Connor is also, as we learn early on, going through a divorce, forcing him to reevaluate his life and come to terms with such tedious things as what he calls “police custody” with his daughter Gretchen. Tatro never loses sight of his distraught character’s heart, which makes scenes like one of his characters desperately singing his sadness to the tune of Flo-Rida’s “Low” as eerily charming as they make people cringe. teeth.

The series unfolds in chapters as Tom clandestinely turns his family’s story into a book. Tom’s narration is thankfully sparse, preventing the familiar gimmick from overtaking the series. It’s unclear how long we’ll have to wait before Tom reveals his plans to the family, but given how invested he seems to be in keeping it a secret, it seems inevitable that a settling of scores is on the way. Hopefully, whenever the Greater Clan finds out, Connor isn’t too angry; after all, he just lent Tom a substantial amount of money to keep his family afloat.

It’s unclear how long we’ll have to wait before Tom reveals his plans to the family, but given how invested he seems to be in keeping it a secret, it seems inevitable that a settling of scores is on the way.

Which brings us to perhaps the only weak link in this series: although Souza makes the most of her role, Marina feels underdeveloped. It’s unclear why, given the family’s apparent money troubles, the retired lawyer didn’t seriously consider resuming her practice. The series nods to Souza’s Mexican roots by letting her roast her husband on TV in English and Spanish with their bilingual daughter – and showing her in-laws greeting her in broken Spanish – but we know little about Marina beyond her heritage and apparent drinking problem. (As episodes go by, Marina’s only calling card becomes the endless parade of wine glasses in her hand — a tired trope that quickly wears out.) Hopefully, in future episodes, Souza will have more interesting work to do. make.

Sarah and Denise’s offspring can also come across in a complicated light. Although many of the jokes at their expense seem organic – like Sarah insisting she’s not into astrology while Denise retorts, “That’s a very ‘Capricorn’ thing to say” – others shots, like when their kids ask a cousin what pronouns his dolls use, feel a bit more pointed. Overall, though, the two make the show’s most compelling pairing, and McGee and Zamata bounce off each other with wonderful ease, especially as their characters argue over the cultural value of Say yes to the dress.

Impossible to say, for the moment, if this charming sitcom will reach the notoriety of predecessors like Modern family. But its fuzzy exploration of class seems like fertile ground for a sitcom airing in 2021 — and the slick casting, specific yet flexible premise, and focus on the heart all feel good on the money.

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