“It takes a village,” repeats Will Cooper (SNL’s Taran Killam) in the pilot to ABC’s newest sitcom, Single Parents. Every time he tries to say it, the other parents from his daughter’s class try to stop the phrase that irritates them so much. This series takes very different characters in a similar situation and finds them banding together to support each other through difficult times. It’s hilarious, inspiring, and heartwarming like the classic sitcoms of a bygone era.
Will is an overly enthusiastic room parent in his daughter’s class. In an effort to stop his mandatory volunteer efforts from the other single parents, they unite to try and help this man in desperate need of a break. His new friends are Angie (Leighton Meester), Poppy (Kimrie Lewis), Miggy (Jake Choi), and Douglas (future Disney Legend Brad Garrett from Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Tangled, and Christopher Robin). It’s like Marvel’s The Avengers; you wouldn’t expect these characters to work in an ensemble piece, but they do and it feels fresh.
While the series will surely become an ensemble piece, the pilot is very much anchored by Will’s character. The other parents start by inviting themselves over for a play date and end up trying to Queer Eye his life. From his living room that is nothing but bean bag chairs to his sequined mermaid man bag, they quickly dissect and overhaul his life. But when they set him up on a date, they find that they may be pushing him too far too soon.
One of the biggest laughs in the pilot opens and closes the show, with Will singing “How Far I’ll Go” form Disney’s Moana to his daughter. It’s a nice nod to ABC’s parent company and evidence that this series is made by ABC Studios (and co-produced by Fox Television, but… you know). The reprise is not only funny, but heartwarming and Lin-Manuel Miranda will be so proud.
While the story is centered around the adults, there is plenty of fun to be had with the kids. At times, I was reminded of the humor of Kindergarten Cop. In one scene, Will is tending bar to a boy who’s had a few too many juice boxes. That same kid gets a Love, Actually style subplot with a weird girl he has a crush on that ends up becoming a charming moment in the pilot.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much when I sat down to watch Single Parents. As a fan of Saturday Night Live, I’m always curious to see the cast move on to other projects, but they don’t often work out. This series has a lot of potential and my fingers are crossed that it succeeds. It has a lot of potential and a great cast.
Single Parents premieres Wednesday, September 26th, where it will be the last show in a two-hour comedy block that includes The Goldbergs, American Housewife, and Modern Family. With such strong shows as a lead-in, I hope fans of ABC’s Wednesday night comedy block will give it a chance. In all honesty, it’s going to be the most perfect night on any network this season.
I give Single Parents 4 out of 5 sequined mermaid man bags.