At present, it should come as no surprise that Domestical economy is a lesson in how to make a modern family fun. Currently in its second season, the endlessly delightful ABC sitcom about financially disparate Hayworth kids — wealthy Connor (Jimmy Tatro), struggling Tom (Topher Grace) and poverty-stricken Sarah (Caitlin McGee) — has moved into that sweet spot. where sharp comedy and relatable sibling dynamics mix with subtle social commentary and unapologetic heart.
What is surprising, to us at least, is the show’s decision to pair Tatro’s divorced father, Connor, with JoJo (Tetona Jackson), the influential sister of Sarah’s immensely quotable wife, Denise (Sasheer Zamata). Introduced last Thanksgiving, JoJo could have been a one-time guest star brought in to flesh out Denise’s backstory. The actress’ on-screen connection with not only Zamata but also Tatro has clearly changed her mind.
“We thought it would be fun for Connor to secretly date Denise’s sister,” says Mike Colton, who produces with John Aboud and Grace. “They had so much chemistry that we extended it longer than originally planned.” The characters have recently – finally! – admitted they were seeing each other. And in these exclusive first images, we can confirm that she’ll even be there for the February 2 Valentine’s Day episode…just like the other woman in Connor’s life. And we’re not talking about his daughter, Gretchen (Shiloh Bearman).
“Tetona is such a fun contrast to the rest of the family,” Aboud continues. “So we thought the next iteration to play with would be his meeting Connor’s ex-wife, Emily. [Justine Lupe]. Throwing them together in unexpected ways seems like a fun way to go.
For the couple in question, maybe not that much!
“What happens is Connor has this whole Valentine’s Day plan,” Colton says. “He got a reservation at the hottest restaurant in the Bay Area, and all the other characters are jealous. It’s, like, super expensive, super elite. When JoJo says she was hoping for something more low-key at Instead, Connor passes the rezzie to his brothers and has a casual party at the house with wine and pizza Cue bell.
“Emily shows up because Gretchen forgot her stuffed animal,” he continues, laughing as the new couple resort to their old ways of hiding their relationship. “We’re having a little fun where, as soon as they see Emily on the security footage, JoJo immediately goes, ‘Okay, I’ll be in the pantry.’ And he’s like, ‘Great. There’s peanut butter in there if you’re hungry. It’s just their usual thing.
We won’t spoil how it all turns out, but suffice to say things get awkward fast. Ditto for the rest of the Hayworths, who end up having a messy time at the chichi restaurant, thanks to the complaint of a certain brother who woke up with the misdeeds of Cupid’s big day business. “We’ve established that Sarah hates Valentine’s Day,” Colton offers, not shocking us at all. “She thinks it’s commercial, like ‘Why do I have to spend hundreds of dollars to express my love?’ and ‘Do you know the labor issues in the flower industry?!'”
“It’s the holidays created by Big Candy,” jokes Aboud before hinting that the most pragmatic Hayworth of them all may actually have “a bigger romantic side” than anyone suspected.
Sweet, we can hardly wait!
Domestical economyWednesdays, 9:30 a.m./8:30 p.m., ABC