TV Review: “A Million Little Things” (ABC)

Contrary to my expectations, ABC’s A Million Little Things is not about a house infested with ants or some other colonizing type of bug. It’s also not about a sassy woman running an in-home baby daycare service that goes comedically overboard with its enrollment. I wish it was anything other than what it is, which is a drama about a group of adults whose worlds are turned upside down when the friend that brought them all together suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide. As for my first two concepts for shows with the same title, ABC – you have my permission to steal these obvious ratings juggernauts.

A Million Little Things only made me feel one thing: situationally depressed. I don’t know about you, but I look to television to entertain, inspire, and lift me up. This show made me want to grab every blanket in the house, pile them on top of me, and never emerge from my polyester cotton cocoon. Or, at least, not until Amazon Prime delivers the SAD Light Box I ordered in hopes that it will fix me. I paid extra for gift wrap and added a note that says “Hope this helps.”

Jon (Ron Livingston) met his best friends Rome (Romany Malco), Eddie (David Giuntoli), and Gary (James Roday) when they got trapped together in an elevator for hours. They bonded over their shared love of sports and supported each other through difficult times. Eddie is a recovering alcoholic, Gary recovered from breast cancer (which is back, of course), and Rome who seems to have it all together attempted suicide the same day Jon took his life. As you get to know the characters, you learn more depressing facts, like several of their marriages are falling apart and some even have dark secrets they’re keeping.

*Deep breath in*

*Deep breath out*

The entire pilot felt like one of Saturday Night Live‘s “Debbie Downer” sketches expanded into an hour and without Rachel Dratch’s fourth-wall breaking camera looks (“Womp womp”) as she reveals sad things. Rachel Dratch is probably available if ABC wants to shut this down and retool it. It could certainly use a Rachel Dratch-type to lighten things up.

With so many characters (they all have wives or love interests), each with their own secrets, it began to remind me of NBC’s This is Us. Unlike that show, which continues to peel back layers and reveal fascinating twists or inspiring moments, this one ended the way it started: dark and depressing. They try in the last three minutes to give you a hook to come back next week, but I can’t produce endorphins fast enough for this show.

If you value your personal happiness, don’t watch A Million Little Things. I honestly don’t know how this got off the drawing board and ended up in primetime, but it’s sure to be one of the first canceled of the season. Here’s a few better ideas in case ABC needs some help and wants to reuse the title.

  • A Mikrophobe’s worst nightmare comes true when he finds a colony of tiny people. SURPRISE! It’s a series based on Matt Damon’s Downsizing.
  • A theme park made of little bricks (like LEGOLAND) gets vandalized overnight and guests surprisingly like it better this way.
  • A scatologist starts an Etsy business making paperweights out of animal droppings, calling his web store “A Million Little Things.” He says fun things like “Why can’t I keep a girlfriend?” Rachel Dratch co-stars.

I give A Million Little Things 1 out of 5 pill popping spit takes.

And in all seriousness, suicide is not a laughing matter. If you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, please seek help by calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I hope this lighthearted review of a depressing show has added a little bit of light to your day.

A Million Little Things premieres September 26th on ABC.