Welcome to No Shame November! This week we’re diving into the pop culture we love that society tells us we shouldn’t.
Every once in a while you’ll find yourself rooting for a show’s success before you’ve even watched a single episode. Perhaps you place trust in the creators or writers, or maybe the cast is too enticing to doubt. That’s how I felt in 2018, when I learned that New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether had a new comedy called Single Parents on the way.
Meriwether teamed up with New Girl writer J.J. Philbin and cast a massive ensemble led by Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam, Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, and Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett. The series follows five (wait for it) single parents struggling to raise their kids while pursuing careers, looking for love, and trying to maintain their sense of self. Despite wildly different personalities and parenting styles, the adult protagonists lean on one another for everything from childcare to relationship advice. In time, what started as a pack of strangers who bonded over similar family dynamics becomes a close-knit, albeit unconventional, family.
*Drumroll please* Now presenting: The single parents.
The pilot finds single moms Angie D’Amato (Meester) and Poppy Banks (Kimrie Lewis) joining forces with single dads Douglas Fogerty (Garrett) and Miggy Park (Jake Choi). The four set out to help newcomer Will Cooper (Killam) — an overly-proud room parent and borderline pathetic man who wears zip-off cargo pants and has bean bag chairs in his living room — get back on the dating scene. It’s an episode filled with over-the-top shenanigans, motivational pep talks, and a Moana sing-along. And if that sounds cheesy, it’s because it is.
Single Parents thrives on cheesy moments. They’re part of what makes it a quintessential easy-watch. You don’t turn on Single Parents when you have a hankering for dense drama, heavy emotions, or stressful plot lines. You watch because it provides a much-needed break from all those things and offers a lighthearted, tender escape from reality. It’s comfort TV at its finest, which is why I was gutted when ABC canceled it after Season 2 in 2020 due to poor ratings.
I’m well aware that a show about parenthood is far from groundbreaking. But in addition to showcasing romantically unattached parents, the series sets itself apart by frequently portraying adults as vulnerable and irresponsible and kids as level-headed and conscientious. The first graders on the show have the gift of effortless sarcasm, college-level vocabularies, and the personalities of jaded senior citizens. If you want to see 7-year-olds act like normal kids their age, Single Parents isn’t the show for you. …….