I am not sure what I was expecting with Single Parents, a new ABC comedy about training a single dad, but it sure wasn’t what I got. I guess I was expecting a mild comedy, maybe someone like Paul Reiser or Tim Allen, with the comedy going either way. It is more like a cross between Office and Meet the Fockers, with a parenting vibe.
The initial premise is that four single parents of first graders go to the school on the first day to find a horror story as the “class parent” who wants them all to sign up for various committees, etc. They let him know pretty quick that they can’t do any of that, and really, their intent is just to survive the day most of the time. But he too is a single parent and they realize that if they let him continue to embrace his inner geek parent, and never do any adult things, they’ll never have any peace and quiet from him badgering them to do stuff. So they set him up on Tinder and get him a date. But then, because they’re invested in the outcome, they help him prepare for the date. And when it goes south, they show up to help him out with the cops (don’t ask).
I didn’t recognize the lead actor, Taran Killam as single Dad, Wil, but it’s interesting that I felt he was almost doing a SNL skit, and it turns out he was on SNL for six years. Just that kind of over-acting skit vibe. He’s okay, a little too Will Ferrell for my taste, but he’s okay. Leighton Meester plays the alpha single mom, Angie, out to ensure that Wil doesn’t badger them too much and she is quirky and cute enough that I have to assume the long-term plan is some sort of flirty romance between Wil and Angie. The other three parents are a bit quirkier … Jake Choi plays a 20-year-old Dad, Kimrie Lewis is mom to a dance and fashion diva son, and Brad Garrett (Everyone Loves Raymond) is the rich, emotionally-closed businessman dad to two daughters.
As I said, I wasn’t expecting Meet the Fockers as the brand of humour, and I didn’t laugh once in the whole episode. I smiled a couple of times, but that was it. And when I did, it was almost entirely at the adult lines coming out of the kids, all of them written as wise old souls. I wish the show had the same wise old soul, or that they had taken a more serious tone, as Leighton Meester could be quite good in a better “teacher mom” role. Maybe a little too saccharine sweet as written, but could have been fun.
Instead, I’m over-riding my sight unseen prediction of RENEWAL and going to predict CANCELLED.