TV Review: ‘How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)’

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CHICAGO – How do so many talented comedians end up making such an awful sitcom as ABC’s “How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)”? The show is proof that the writer is still the king of television and that even a cast this notable can’t save cliched, poorly-written comedy. Television Rating: 1.5/5.0
Television Rating: 1.5/5.0

“How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)” almost plays like a spoof of a comedy within a smarter show. It’s that cliched. And there should be a law against the number of jokes about a missing testicle as there are in the premiere. With echoes of “Meet the Fockers” and a long-gone era of situation comedy, “How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)” just isn’t funny. And that’s coming from someone who has absolutely adored some of the work done by its three leads in the past. In other words, I’m a fan of these people. I can’t imagine how much you’ll hate it if you’re not.

How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
Photo credit: ABC

Polly (Sarah Chalke) looks cute even when she’s leaving her husband and ends up on her parent’s porch on a rainy day with her daughter (Rachel Eggleston). Polly is finally divorcing Julian (Jon Dore), sleeping on her daughter’s floor for emotional comfort (this is a show where ice cream and a hug can get anyone over real drama), and dealing with her parents’ aversion to wearing clothes. Yes, this is one of those shows where old people doing it is supposed to be inherently funny and the younger people are more mature than their parents.

How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
Photo credit: ABC

Polly’s parents are Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). They’re the hippie types who don’t believe in boundaries of any kind at the dinner table and try to encourage Polly to loosen up. Of course, the opposite worldviews of Polly and her parents will allow plenty of room for comedy and teaching moments. Elaine & Mac will teach Polly to not be so neurotic and Polly will teach them to be a little responsible for their daughter and granddaughter. It will all be so wacky and heartwarming.

Chalke was wildly underrated on “Scrubs” and had a great arc on “How I Met Your Mother.” She’s charming, beautiful, and has great comic timing. Perkins took most of what worked about Showtime’s once-great “Weeds” with her when she left that show. Garrett was fantastic on “Everybody Loves Raymond” for years. This is not a cast looking for talent. They’re great. And they’re given nothing here that works. Jon Fore actually steals the premiere as the wacky ex-husband who can’t get his life together enough to even fix the brakes on his vehicle.

I will say this — writing can be fixed but casting cannot. These characters could be tweaked from the boilerplate cliches they are in the premiere and the ensemble could help elevate a writer’s room in need of a new approach. However, when ABC is looking over their fall options and considering whether or not to keep a show as fresh and entertaining as “Happy Endings,” which is on the chopping block now, or this mess, I hope they make a decision they won’t regret for the rest of their lives.

“How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) stars Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins, Brad Garrett, Jon Dore, Rachel Eggleston, and Stephanie Hunt. It premieres on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:30pm CST on ABC. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

brutony's picture

Youve GOT to be kidding!

Mere words cannot describe how awful this show was! I shut it off at the first commercial break, 9 minutes in, and now will regret never getting that 9 minutes back in my life again!

Man About It's picture

Polly isn't a likable character

She seems too full of her “maturity.” I understand some clashes need to be had with parents (even when they’re clearly doing you a favor letting you live at home), but being a miserable shrew in the process is never a good look.

brutony's picture

The rest of the cast is so bad that...

Yes, thats true-shes the “straight” guy to the wacky, “funny” shenanigans of the ENTIRE cast! I actually have no problem with her role-its just that everyone else is so far out there, that it doesnt become humorous-just an eye-rolling, groeningly putrid attempt at comedy!I guess WRITING comedy is not pretty, either!

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