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Good Afternoon

'How to Live with Your Parents' review: A promising start

Sarah Chalke stars in "How To Live With

Sarah Chalke stars in "How To Live With Your Parents" on ABC. Credit: ABC

THE SHOW "How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)"

WHEN | WHERE Wednesday night at 9:30 on ABC/7

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Recently divorced Polly (Sarah Chalke) needs to move back home with her mom Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and stepfather Max (Brad Garrett), because of financial pressures. Both parents are, ummm, unconventional -- somewhat wanton, somewhat unrestrained -- which is a style Polly thinks doesn't exactly mesh around her young daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), who's also moving in with gram and gramps. That can be a problem with baby-sitting but -- Polly shrugs pragmatically -- "What's the point of living with your parents if you're not using them as unpaid help?"

MY SAY Someone somewhere -- obviously someone somewhere inside ABC Entertainment headquarters -- is armed and loaded with research saying lots of young adults have moved back in with their parents because they are broke. And obviously there's a sitcom to be made out of this, and has been -- though with a slight twist. The "adult" in this relationship is mostly Polly, while the parents tend to be the "kids" -- or at least their development was arrested way back in the '70s.

But funny? Surprisingly, yeah, for the most part. No great surprise because ABC does a good job with its comedy development. The shows mostly look good, are well-made and don't offend too much. They're (mostly) quirky, observational and ironic enough without pounding a bat over viewers' heads proclaiming that they are quirky, observational and ironic. At the high end of the scale -- "Modern Family," "Happy Endings," "The Middle," even "The Neighbors" -- they can be very good, while even the lower end of the scale has yielded positive results ("Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23," before it became a single note and was axed).

Where does "How to Live With Your Parents" fit on this scale? Initial impression: It fits. Fans of Chalke ("Roseanne," "Scrubs") will remain fans, and everyone who long ago realized that Elizabeth Perkins was the best thing about "Weeds" will as well. And Garrett -- who's had basically one decent series run in the near-decade since "Everybody Loves Raymond" went off the air (Fox's " 'Til Death") -- looks like he belongs in this cast as well.

BOTTOM LINE Promising start


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