Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”

Image of the cast of ABC's Home Economics

The cast of ABC’s Home Economics
Photo ABC

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The first episode of ABC sitcom Household economy is barely an extension of his two and a half minutes trailer, which focuses on the bond between the three Hayworth siblings, even though they all belong to a different financial layer. Co-created by Michael Colton and John Aboud, the show clearly seeks to build on the network’s established brand of enjoyable family comedies. The premise is quickly set up (in a voiceover, no less): Tom is a struggling middle-class author, Sarah is broke after losing her job as a counselor to high-risk students, and Connor is a filthy, rich financial man who just bought Matt Damon‘s extravagant house. Household economy focuses on how they overcome this wealth inequality and stay close. The sitcom doesn’t offer much depth or nuance beyond the ethos of family over money, at least not initially – instead, they try to shed light on a well-chosen cast and their chemistry.

Topher Grace, who is also an executive producer, returns to the small screen as Tom Hayworth, also the series’ narrator. Tom secretly uses his extensive family adventures as the basis for a new book after the previous one – which in 1906 was about a prison baseball team and had no women in it – sold five copies. The cast, which also includes Caitlin McGee, Jimmy Tatro, Karla Souza, and Sasheer Zamata, is strong. There is an easygoing atmosphere in all of their interactions, but the writing and storytelling provides them with a rudimentary characterization. The heartwarming humor tries to fill the gap Modern family, which ended in 2020 after 11 seasons, but still offers nothing new to the genre.

The episode begins when Connor returns to San Francisco from Seattle and invites his family to his newly purchased opulent mansion. Both Tom and Sarah are figuring out how to ask their younger, wealthier brother for a loan, with encouragement from their husbands. After exploring the many rooms in his new home, they all get into a fight when Connor reveals he’s taking their parents to Turks and Caicos for Thanksgiving instead of having their usual big deal. This unravels all of their personal troubles when Tom and Sarah reveal they need financial help, and Connor admits he is getting a divorce and has moved so he can be with loved ones again. The siblings make up and then enjoy the fact that they all go through different troubles together, not alone, and the whole family driving down the road in Connor’s mini naps in a neatly tied ending.

If Household economy succeeds, it’s because of the remarkable cast. McGee and Grace are doing well, but it’s Tatro who stands out after his credible performance as a high school student in 2017. American vandal with the distinctly different role of a wealthy single father. The show strives for a more contemporary take on mixed families as seen on ABC, from The Brady Bunch Full House and My wife and children to more recent comedies such as Hot off the press The middle, and Modern family. It features a queer couple in Sarah (McGee) and Denise (Zamata), who seemingly want to see how income inequality leads to real hardship for them as well as Tom and his wife Marina (Souza). They even squeeze in a weird moment when Tom, who takes notes for his book, discusses this inequality, just as he bumps into Connor’s housekeeper, Lupe (Lidia Porto), and gives him a questionable look. It’s a sitcom on ABC, so the scene is covered up and played for laughs while the episode is 20 minutes long.

In its pilot, Household economy focuses more on introducing interpersonal dynamics (like what the siblings’ favorite song is “MMMBop”, or how Denise and Sarah affectionately call each other Lulu) rather than examining the seriousness of their money troubles. While the episode makes it clear what the central premise is, it also mainly uses POC characters to support their white partners; they don’t get any other personality traits, which is especially rough because Zamata and Souza are great performers. The members of the primary trio are put into defining molds: Tom is a line follower, Sarah is a vegan feminist, and Connor is the carefree cool guy. These opposing types make for fun exchanges, but they can also limit character growth and performance as the show goes on. The first episode ends with everyone asking Tom what his upcoming novel is about – he doesn’t tell them, but explains in a voiceover that it’s essentially about how close he feels to his family. We do get a sense of that closeness, but while there is power in the chemistry and in the specificity of some of the jokes, overall the idea is still a bit too general to elicit much anticipation.

Stray observations

  • The show tries to build a very specific image of Matt Damon in our minds by claiming that his home could include a Japanese bath, a covered backyard, and enough closets for Connor to turn one into a home for his pajamas. daughter.
  • On that same comment, do we agree with Sarah when she says the actor didn’t make a good movie after 2011? We bought a zoo The Martian and his cameo in Thor: Ragnarok would like a word.
  • To describe Tom and Connor, Denise says, “I know your brothers are Scorpios, but they’re good people too.” As a Scorpio, yes, that comment sounds good.
  • Souza’s Marina is a former lawyer who casually jokes that Connor killed his wife. It’s a great subtle recall to her previous ABC role in How do you get away with murder?, which also featured Jack Falahee as her law school classmate Connor Walsh.
  • We’ll be checking the Hayworth siblings all the time Household economy season one, so stay tuned.