Hey TV.com, Should I Watch How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)?

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Apr 02, 2013

A quirky, non-traditional family works together to raise a precocious child with some help from their off-beat friends, including awkward co-workers and non-threatening exes. Sounds a lot like Raising Hope or The New Normal or the late Ben and Kate, all of which have obviously influenced ABC's new midseason comedy How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), right down to the sexual grandmas (and great-grandmas) and the indulgent (usually-in-a-good-way-but-sometimes-in-a-creepy-way) parents.

Single parents navigating the waters of child-rearing with a little backup from their zany families and friendlies aren't anything new to television, but unlike police procedurals and Grey's Anatomy wannabes, I don't think we can necessarily have too many of them because, you know, different strokes and all that. But how will this one measure up? I've seen the pilot and I'm ready to tell you just that.

Obnoxious title aside (we'll get to that in a few), what's HTLWYPFTROYL about? 

Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke plays Polly, an uptight mom who left her lovable loser husband Julian (Jon Dore of The Jon Dore Television Show) to move back in with her free spirit parents, Elaine and Max (Weeds' Elizabeth Perkins Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, respectively). Along for the ride are Polly's scared-of-everything daughter, Natalie (relative newcomer Rachel Eggleston), and Polly's twenty-something co-worker/bestie, Jenn (Friday Night Lights' Stephanie Hunt). Polly wants to be a better mother to Natalie than Elaine was to her, but the debate over what actually makes a good mother is one of those debates that is clearly meant to be a theme of the show.

Who decided that a series with a title that's harder to remember when it's shortened was a good idea?

Claudia Lonow, primarily known as Diana Fairgate on Knots Landing, but who also claims producing credits on Less Than Perfect and Cashmere Mafia, created the series and serves as an executive producer alongside Brian Grazer (Arrested Development, 24, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Francie Calfo (The Playboy Club, Scoundrels).

When does HTLWYPFTROYL air?

Wednesdays at 9:30pm, starting April 3 on ABC.


If you like Raising Hope, you might like How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). It's the latest in a long line of goofy-but-has-a-heart sitcoms about an entire village of oddballs getting together to raise a cute kid. Weeds fans will definitely see flashes of Celia in Perkins' Elaine. Chalke's Polly is basically Elliot with a kid. There are raunchy lines combined with situations to accommodate your saccharine family moments, so it's not a complete cheese-fest. It's just one of those shows that if you like that sort of show, then you'll probably like it. If quirky family sitcoms make you want to scream, I'd spare your vocal chords and steer clear.

What's good about HTLWYPFTROYL?

The casting is solid, boasting a strong ensemble of comedy and dramedy veterans, so chemistry, delivery, and all the other good things that make a cast fun to watch aren't really an issue. The writing (at least in the first episode) is strong. Everybody is pretty lovable, including the supposedly horrific parents Polly moves back in with. The pilot balances funny sitcom stuff with the heavier family themes pretty well. If the show can maintain that balance, I think How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) might eventually overcome its awful, cringey title. Or maybe the title will work in the show's favor; I went in expecting crap and was pleasantly surprised to get something better.

What's bad about HTLWYPFTROYL (other than the title)?

No, actually we need to talk about the title because the mouthful is so ridiculous and cumbersome that I think it could easily repel potential viewers with its impressive ridiculousness. How to Live With Your Parents alone might have sufficed, and honestly, that's what I personally call it when I'm not trying to masochistically sound out something resembling a word when forced to resort to an acronym that looks like it might actually be the name of some sort of new pharmaceutical drug. But even How to Live With Your Parents on it's own doesn't fully convey what the show is about. It's not about a grumpy teenager who rebels against her curfew and cries because Daddy didn't buy her an iPhone 5 as soon as it came out. It's not about twenty-something recent grads forced to bunk in Mom's basement because the job market blows and, in retrospect, majoring in Napoleonic French history with a concentration in poetry and a minor in Sociology probably wasn't the wisest career move.

There are also visual references that pop up throughout the pilot in the form of arrows pointing to new faces, with nifty introductions and explanations of who they are and what they do. Personally, I think they're a cute way to avoid getting bogged down in exposition, but I can see how they might get annoying in the long run (if they last). The shortcut can also be frustrating if you're not the type of viewer who parks it on the sofa and doesn't move for the entire duration of an episode since they kind of require you to, you know, pay attention.

And finally, I don't know how long Polly's anal-retentive, clingy, helicopter parenting can go on before it turns her into "the annoying one" in the cast. 

Do you recommend watching HTLWYPFTROYL?

I'd give it a shot. I've only seen the pilot, so I can't vouch for long-term enjoyment, but I enjoyed the pilot. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but it's a seems like an enjoyable series if you like types of shows it's descended from.

Where can I sample this hellish acronym action for myself?

There are some clips on Hulu, and here's a trailer: 

What beverages should I have on hand if I decide to tune in to HTLWYPFTROYL?

Elaine suggests a morning tequila and Max claims that the blue pills are the fun ones. I would stick to one or the other unless, you decide halfway through that you don't want to remember what you're watching.

How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) premieres Wednesday, April 3 at 9:30pm on ABC.

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  • pnieuw Apr 13, 2013

    Made it through 10 minutes of the pilot. Worst thing I've seen on TV in a very long time. Just. Not. Funny.

  • JMC31488 Apr 04, 2013

    Not sure why people stay focused on titles so much. "A rose by any other name is still a rose." and "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Titles are slightly important, but the title should not be a decision on whether or not you watch something.

    In my youth I did judge by a title. Back when "Angel" was on I thought it was a religious show. I avoided knowing anything about it until a friend explained to me that it was Angel from Buffy.

    So, while talking about it's long title is giving it extra publicity, just stop thinking of it as a bad thing right off the bat. Give the show some episodes to stretch it's legs (I give about 5 30 min episodes) and then decide if it's worth it. Just tired of reading people not giving the show a chance (first episode was better than other pilot's I've seen) because they don't like that the title is too long.

  • lucasoliveira1 Apr 04, 2013

    I've got to say that I won't be checking out this show. I tried to watch Raising Hope last year, and I couldn't get past episode 7. I love comedy shows, but I'm just too picky when it comes to finding an appealing one.

  • chuuuuck Apr 04, 2013

    Although I'm not keen in the slightest for this I'll watch it anyway purely because I miss Sarah Chalke being on my TV. Golly I miss Scrubs.

  • Whedonrules Apr 03, 2013

    HEY TV.COM - I would rather know about the other new show premiering tonight. Should I watch DirecTV Audience Network's first original scripted drama "Rogue" starring Thandie Newton. Looks a tad better than this fluff.

  • kanniballl Apr 03, 2013

    Granted, the title for "Don't trust the b---- in apartment 23" is a little on the long side to, but it wasn't THAT long. 7 or 8 words, depending on how you count "23"

    I guess the title "How to live with your parents (for the rest of your life)" is worth a chuckle. The bit in the parenthesis is kind of key to the chuck... but that's what puts it into the "too long" range.

    For a novel? Sure. For a film? OK. But for a TV show it's pushing it a bit.

    I'll give it a shot though.

  • meee223 Apr 03, 2013

    Uh oh..Another comedy with no live audience. That usually means it's not funny.

  • chuuuuck Apr 04, 2013

    If a show needs a laughing track to tell you when to laugh then either the show isn't funny or you're a robot.

  • MikeScott25 Apr 03, 2013

    I find it pretty sad when people need a laugh track to tell them when something is funny. I much prefer the ones without.

  • meee223 Apr 04, 2013

    I grew up when ALL tv comedies were filmed in front of a studio audience, and even today, these shows tend to be funnier than those who have no audience. It's got nothing to do with a laugh track. And why on earth would you think by my comment that I need a laugh track to tell me when something's funny? That's a moronic statement. My comment simply means that comedies with no audience, to me, don't tend to be that funny. Just a coincidence?...maybe. Two Broke Girls is my favourite comedy and it is filmed in front of a studio audience. I find it hilarious and chances are if it was done without an audience, I'd still find it hilarious.

  • kanniballl Apr 03, 2013

    On one hand, Sarah Chalke (love her) and Brad Garret (he's hilarious)

    On the other hand, the concept doesn't sound THAT different from other stuff out there.

    So, I don't know. I'll probably give it a chance on the two leads alone.

  • SergioDaz Apr 03, 2013

    I'll watch it because of Sarah Chalke, always loved her ^^

  • docspector Apr 04, 2013

    She's come a long way since "other Becky", hasn't she?

  • marlonjones Apr 03, 2013

    So not a fan of Sarah Chalke (though i loved Scrubs), but i'll tune in just for Brad Garret.

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