Sunday, May 19, 2019

5 Reasons to Binge-Watch Single Parents Before Its Second Season [Contributor: Jenn]


I’m rewatching Happy Endings as I write this post. That’s probably not super relevant to you, but I rewatch the series once a year. It was a cute, delightful ABC comedy that focused on friends who were essentially family. Comedies about “found families” have long been my favorites (New Girl, Friends, Parks and Rec, Community, etc.).

So when Single Parents premiered with a similar premise — and a largely behind-the-scenes staff from New Girl — I knew it would be something that was right up my alley. But the most nervewracking time of year for TV lovers is generally May: Upfronts season. That’s when television networks announce their upcoming shows, as well as renewals and cancellations for their current series. And even though Single Parents was a delightfully written, funny, well-acted show, I was worried that its smaller ratings and lack of buzz would put it in serious danger of cancellation (R.I.P. to Splitting Up Together).

But to my glad surprise, ABC renewed Single Parents for another season! And my challenge to you is to catch up on the series before it returns in the fall. You’ve got plenty of time to kill this summer with most series — besides your favorite reality trainwrecks — on hiatus until September. So let me try to convince you to binge-watch this charming comedy with five reasons to catch up before its second season.

The show’s kids are hilarious and central to plots.

You know how a lot of television series feature kids, but only when it’s convenient to the plot? And sometimes kids in those shows can be presented as one-note, ancillary characters. But Single Parents is, at its core, a show about found family. And the children of the single parents are essential to the show. Each kid is brilliant in his or her own way and holds their own against their adult counterparts.

Marlow Barkley plays Sophie, who’s the smart, ambitious, wise daughter of Will (Taran Killam). The show centers around their relationship quite often and it’s adorable. Marlow plays Sophie with such delightful candor (and intimidates the adults) that it’s endearing. Meanwhile, Graham is played by Tyler Wladis with hilarious little quirks and nerdiness. Graham’s single mother, Angie (Leighton Meester) tries her best to protect him. And though Graham begins the series as an unsure, clingy kid, he meets friends and adults who embrace him as he is and encourage him to try new things!

Poppy (Kimrie Lewis) is mother to a young son named Rory (Devin Trey Campbell), who loves fashion, performing, and in general is incredibly creative. Rory has a fun-loving, big personality and Devin does a great job of filling scenes. He commands attention all on his own, and that’s something pretty incredible for a child to be able to do in scenes with seasoned actors. I can’t wait to get more of him in the fall!

And finally, there are Mia and Ella Allan who play twins, Emma and Amy. Their dad is Douglas (Brad Garrett). Because Douglas is older than the rest of the single parents, he often has unconventional ways of raising the two girls. They’re whip-smart, sassy, and also able to pretty much build anything you could want. What I enjoyed about the first season was that we got an episode devoted to a plotline featuring Emma and Amy butting heads as twins. Mia and Ella got the chance to shine both comedically and emotionally, communicating the kind of unique bond that twins have — and the rough stuff they have to go through as a result.

Seriously, you’ll enjoy the kids on Single Parents just as much (if not more, possibly) than the adults. That’s something to celebrate.

It’s got great guest stars to support its cast and stories.

When Single Parents gets guest stars like Hannah Simone, Adam Brody, Chris Harrison, Vanessa Bayer and more, you know that it deserved a second season. Not only do the guest stars stand on their own, but they balance out the main cast. Saturday Night Live alums Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer get the opportunity to play opposite each other as exes, and Bayer does a fantastic job bringing humor to Will’s ex-wife. And it was fantastic to watch real-life couple Leighton Meester and Adam Brody play opposite each other in the season finale. I won’t spoil the circumstances in which Chris Harrison shows up but... let’s just say that it’s worth watching.

Single Parents deserves all the best guest stars in season two and I hope it gets them!

Single Parents is genuinely heartwarming, endearing, well-meaning, and good.

When you’re a show created by the same people who worked on New Girl, audience members might pick up on some similarities. The show utilizes flashbacks in similar ways as the former FOX comedy, but mostly you might notice some similarities in the way that Single Parents blends heartwarming moments with genuine hilarity. One moment you’ll have a slapstick scene featuring Will (Taran Killam), and the next he’ll be creating a heartwarming gift with Graham for Angie.

Single Parents’ pilot begins with a scheme — Will Cooper is an overeager room parent whose life revolves around his daughter, Sophie. The other single parents realize that they need to help him get a life or risk being strapped to room parent duties the rest of the year. Though the friendship and interest in Will begins as a way to get what they want, the group truly becomes a family. Episodes feature different adult and kid pairings: Will gets to bond with Graham, Douglas has the chance to spend time with Rory, and Miggy (Jake Choi) bonds with a lot of the kids since they pretty much see him as a big kid himself.

What I really love about Single Parents is that it manages to feature all kinds of families and relationships, while bringing genuine heart and love into the interactions. It doesn’t matter that the adults aren’t related — they’re a village; they need each other to help raise these kids. Each adult not only relies on the help of someone else to raise their kids or step in (or just babysit), but they also rely on each other for support when things are weird or rough. They’re a tribe of single parents, and parenting alone most or all of the time brings unique challenges.

What I always love about Elizabeth Meriwether’s comedies is that they bring unexpected, quirky, weird, messy individuals together. These people become bonded by the things they have in common, and begin to love each other — quirks included. A lot of comedies these days can often be sharp, mean-spirited, or dark. And while Single Parents features occasional barbs, the core of the comedy is sweet, gooey, and heartwarming. The parents love each other, even though they drive each other crazy. The kids love each other, even though they don’t always get along.

And it’s delightful.



It’s setting up two romantic pairings that deserve to be explored.

If you know me at all, I’m a sucker for a good romantic pairing on a television show. And with New Girl, I called a pairing from the pilot in Nick and Jess that eventually came to fruition. There was something about the chemistry between the actors that left me wanting more. The same held true for me with the pilot of Single Parents. I began to sense that Taran Killam and Leighton Meester’s natural rapport would eventually lead, possibly, to their characters becoming close — and maybe even romantic. And while Single Parents hasn’t officially pulled the trigger quite yet on this particular pairing, it’s definitely allowing Will and Angie’s relationship to evolve from reluctant friends to people who genuinely, truly care about one another rather deeply. Their chemistry is so wonderful, and the GIF above features a schmoopy look between them with heavy subtext so take that as you will.

But what surprised me more was the relationship between Douglas and Poppy that gets explored. I won’t spoil anything for you guys, but I absolutely love how Brad Garrett and Kimrie Lewis play their characters. They’re about as opposite as can be — she’s a creative, quick-witted feminist and he’s an older, conservative dermatologist. But they have a sort of natural chemistry and balance that really works. It’s surprising, but in all the best ways. Poppy brings out a softer side that Douglas keeps buried because of the things he’s gone through and loss he’s experienced; and Poppy, conversely, opens up and allows Douglas to see some of the vulnerability that she hides. Their connection is really quite special.

Single Parents has done an excellent job playing around with the strengths that each actor brings to their role, including in terms of chemistry. I didn’t think that by the end of the first season we’d have two potential romantic couples, but I’m not mad about it in the slightest. And you need to watch the series so we can talk about how wonderful each pairing is.

There’s so much character development left to explore.

If there’s anything I’m more of a sucker for than romantic pairings it’s character development. By the end of a season of a television show, I should be able to chart some visible progress that each character has made on his or her journey. Good shows provide realistic growth; great shows give you the kind of growth you don’t even realize is happening until you reach the finale and feel a sense of satisfaction.

Single Parents did a great job with its cast, developing not only the adults’ characters, but the kids’ as well! Graham becomes more confident. Sophie continues to be assertive, but Will actually grows and learns to let go (and be his own person). Angie slowly allows other people to help her — and help her open up. Douglas learns, practically, what it looks like to be a father and accept that he has a soft side. Poppy learns how to pick herself up and be decisive and confident. Miggy grows in responsibility. Rory, Emma, and Amy learn how to be teammates with their friends since these three characters are kind of used to going it alone.

I love that there was so much growth in the first season of the show, but there’s so much more left to explore in the second season. I’m just grateful Single Parents gets the chance to shine again in the fall.

Have you checked out Single Parents yet? If so, what did you think of the series? What shows are you adding to a “must binge-watch” list this summer? Hit up the comments below and let me know your thoughts!


Post a Comment