Life in Pieces Series Premiere Recap

Life in Pieces: Did CBS' Ensemble Comedy Make You Feel Like Family?

If there’s a character or storyline in CBS’ Life In Pieces that you don’t love, good news: By the next commercial break, the ensemble comedy will have moved on.

I don’t mean to be flip — the structure of the new series (which debuted Monday night) focuses on the Short siblings and their families, as well as Mom and Dad Short. Each act of the half hour focuses on one of the kids, with everyone coming together at the end.

Colin Hanks (Fargo) and Zoe Lister Jones (New Girl) are Greg Short and Jen, a couple that makes the mistake of ignoring their obstetrician’s advice and peeking at Jen’s southerly region in the days after their first child is born.

Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Dan Bakkedahl (The Mindy Project) are Heather Short and Tim, who briefly consider (and then dismiss) having another baby when their oldest son starts touring colleges.

Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom) is Matt Short, who brings home the lovely Colleen (Enlisted‘s Angelique Cabral) but then must explain to her that he lives with his goofball parents Joan and John (played by In Treatment‘s Dianne Wiest and Castle‘s James Brolin).

We see all of the Shorts unite in the end-of-episode vignette for John’s funeral, which seems like a bold move for the first episode of a primetime comedy… until you realize that the Short patriarch is very much alive and just wants to hear the nice things his friends and family would say about him in the event of his passing, so he throws himself the ultimate going-away party.

The format has its pluses (it’s breezy!) and minuses (there’s not time to learn much about, say, Matt in this first episode, and it’s similar to — though not as polished as — Modern Family), but the Short family seems like an affable bunch. Sitcom quirky, yes, but there’s a lot of talent filling out that gene pool.

 Now we want to hear what you thought of the episode. Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments to expound!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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60 Comments
  1. Eli Edwards says:

    Surprisingly hilarious…

  2. Ryan says:

    I didn’t really find this show laugh out loud funny. It could be because most of the funny scenes were in the promos. I gave it a C but will definitely give it one or two more episodes

  3. Sandy says:

    Didn’t find it funny. .

  4. Dan says:

    total fail gave up during the ice glove section. My wife demanded we watch something else

  5. BrightLight says:

    I didn’t laugh out loud once until I got to the third story. That couch story was hilarious! It’s not to say it wasn’t funny up until then, but I think it really found it’s stride from that story until the end.
    I have to say I saw most of this episode prior to it airing due to the constant promos this summer, so I’ll give it a few more episodes before I give it my complete judgement.

    • Raevin68 says:

      Yes! The first 2 stories had me about ready to change the channel. The 3rd one though was so much better. I will give it a couple more episodes (mainly because I like most of the actors in this show).

  6. R L H says:

    Not funny and some of what was supposed to be humor was just bad taste. For a show airing before 9:00 pm I found a great deal of inappropriate language and sexually oriented references. Good comedy is so much more than juvenile bathroom humor. It is amazing what some actors will do for the almighty dollar.

  7. Elibu says:

    I thought this was an abysmal waste of talent, and the “humor” was cringeworthy.

  8. Steven says:

    Way too many sex and vagina jokes. Then again no more than a regular episode of 2 Broke Girls.

  9. JRS831 says:

    Watched first 10 minutes. I want those 10 minutes back. What a waste of talent. Lazy writing!!

  10. Tom says:

    Didn’t suck. Not as good as The Office clone Modern Family. Doubtful it’ll get season 2

    • Ashleigh says:

      Okay, I’m so confused. How is Modern Family an Office clone? I like both shows, but other than both having the mock-u-mentary style with characters talking to the camera (which The Office carried out more fully, showing the actual camera crew, etc), they seem entirely dissimilar to me. MF is similar to ABC’s other family sit-coms (right down to every single family having 3 children, The Middle, Blackish, Fresh Off the Boat . . . Dan Bakkedahl’s family on this show also has 3 children) while The Office is a workplace comedy, similar to its clone, NBC’s Parks and Rec. This is far more similar to Modern Family. It’s probably not as good, but at least it’s newer.

  11. TaMara says:

    I had to turn it at the 20 minute mark. A waste of some very talented actors. Some chuckles, but it felt old and tired.

  12. Someone You Don't Know says:

    Shoulda been called Pieces of Sh*t instead. Wow what a stinker, not one laugh. It made The Millers and that Laurie Metcalf sitcom look like the funniest shows ever. Too bad Thomas Sadowski can’t say all the crappy things he says in Mamet plays which would apply to this horrible show. Prediction: canceled by December.

  13. Nicole says:

    Didn’t like it. I think in modern family the characters get tied together better and it seemed less forced with be funny. Won’t watch this again

  14. Boiler says:

    Time to bring back 2 Broke Girls. Beth Behrs and Kate Dennings hilarious together.

    • Mr. Tran K says:

      Totally agree 100%. Wouldn’t be great if 2 Broke Girls gets a promising lead-in with Big Bang Theory? That would be a great idea for CBS. BTW, it’s KAT Dennings.

  15. Will says:

    This show had me at Dan Bakkedahl telling his son about what he saw on the tip of his penis. I won’t ruin the surprise but let’s just say they were common items you’d find in a sofa.

  16. Bonnie says:

    This show substitutes crudity and vulgarity for intelligent writing.

  17. Janet says:

    I hated it.

  18. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give it a C. All four stories were terrible in my opinion and I never realize how funny James Brolin can be in a sitcom. This may be one of CBS’ biggest disappointment of the Fall TV season and I hope it won’t last that long but we expect to see if one of the three returning sitcoms (2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly and The Odd Couple) that got benched until mid-season comes back sooner rather than later.

  19. Cindy says:

    Wish I could watch it, but they use the shaky camera method which makes me nauseous. Same reason I can’t watch Modern Family.

  20. dan says:

    Loved it. Great cast.

  21. cuius says:

    The only positive was they didn’t play the LGBT card

  22. Kait says:

    Meh. A Modern Family premise with some well known actors but most of the topics were trying too hard to be funny. It almost seemed like some of the actors, even the more known ones, didn’t even rehearse their lines and were clumsily just reading them through without emotion or nuance or, well, skill. I missed about 5 minutes while my retired nurse grandmother complained about the frozen glove premise and about the extremely unprepared parents, so maybe some good jokes happened then? D+ but only because of some of the actors, maybe a C- because of the youngest of the 3 young grandkids.

  23. dancmh says:

    Does Dianne Wiest owe the IRS a lot of back taxes or something?

  24. herman1959 says:

    It was surprisingly bad; I had to force myself to keep watching until the James Brolin segment. He was very funny, so I’ll give the show one more try based on that.

  25. Mr. Sunshine says:

    I kept thinking this is supposed to be a comedy? To me, it felt more like a drama with some faint bits of comedy interspersed!

  26. Tara17 says:

    This was awful. It’s as though someone made of list of TV sitcom clichés and wrote a script around them.

  27. MyFairLady says:

    Third and fourth stories were funny esp the college trip…I will def be tuning in

  28. Ann says:

    It felt more like a dramady, which is fine…I’ll give this show at least 3 more episodes to see where it’s going…maybe a bit longer since I like the cast, but I hope it gets better.

  29. Cory sexton says:

    We thought this show was to much for 8:30 time slot . The whole show had a lot of sexual topics and it just wasn’t funny . There were some good lines but this show should never be compared to Modern Family .

  30. B says:

    I’m a fan of Zoe Lister Jones, Betsy Brandt and Dan Bakkedahl so i’ll give it a couple more episodes but the pilot was pretty bland

  31. Apey says:

    I had high hopes for this show, as I really like several of the actors, but it turned out to be a tough one to watch. Due to the fact that the pilot episode of any show is often a rough start, I won’t completely rule this show out yet. My big complaint is the too early time slot. I should be able to sit down with my 11-year-old and watch an 8:30 show, without feeling as though I need to cover his eyes and ears!

  32. nadialus says:

    Wasn’t a huge fan of the format, I didn’t think it flowed well.

  33. Mary Ripley says:

    I not only didn’t find it funny, I found it disgusting. The part where the birth occurs and the follow up on how the vagina looks afterwards and the frozen fingers as she bends over the sink and husband inserts it? Really? Having 3 babies…never happened. And the couch story? A sticky penis with a dust ball and nickel on the end is a story that shouldn’t be shared between a father and son. What do people do with young kids watching this…it was on @ 7:30 so certainly a ‘family tv’ time. Not watching it again.

  34. Tracy says:

    A little over the top but funny. I’ll give it a few more eps to see where it goes…

  35. misery chick says:

    Meh. Although I DID LMAO when James Brolin couldn’t work the remote and Dianne Wiest kept yelling “Pause, press pause!” My hubs and I go thru this almost everyday 😆

  36. stacey says:

    I love all the actors but did anyone else feel like they were watching a broadway production? Maybe the characters were supposed to act “extremely animated”? Plus, I love a good poop or sex joke but I did feel like they were leaning on those a bit much on those things for laughs. I thought they kid scenes were laughable but the adult convos…a bit over the top. I see some potential if it eases up a wee bit. If this make any sense.

  37. Really wanted to like it as it has a terrific cast that deserves much better writing. I will hang in there for a few more episodes with the hope that things improve.

  38. Ram510 says:

    I didn’t like it. I felt they were trying to hard to be “edgy”. It felt like a really really bad FX comedy. None of the character were likeable. I won’t be giving this another chance, there’s just too much out there that’s a tailor good to waste my time with this

  39. HAP says:

    It has a really great cast, including some of my favorite actors. But, that said, while watching, I got the feeling that there were too many characters and stories that seemed to muddy the show.

  40. Maryann says:

    The previews were so cringeworthy and not at all funny that there was no way I was going to check this one out.

  41. Naomi Isaacs says:

    It got such glowing reviews that I was excited to watch. THE WORST. So cliche ridden. It’s no Parenthood

  42. Paul Goodman says:

    Excellent and fast paced. Left me wanting more. Good writing always shows itself in sitcoms. No chance to get bored in complex plot.

  43. coneyro says:

    Can anyone say barf bag? Not only is this show not funny, its humor is sick. I am not a prude by any means, but couldn’t the writers come up with anything funnier than a constant barrage of nasty sexual references. The vaginal humor made me physically ill. The funeral skit was, ah…I really have no words. And, of course, the prerequisite interracial romance..waiting for the gay storyline next(not that there is anything wrong with the last two) it’s just so predictable. A rating of “F”.

  44. candice says:

    Loved it, haven’t laughed so hard in ages, superb cast:-) :-) :-)
    Can’t wait for next week!!

    • coneyro says:

      Don’t mean to insult you, but what redeeming quality in icky sex and vaginal based trash do you find appealing? If this uneducated, crude crap gets you excited, you really need to get out more.

  45. Wendy says:

    It was terrible. Worst show ever! Unfunny piece of garbage.

  46. donna says:

    Truly one of the worst. Turned it off after 0 minutes and won’t waste another minute on it. Vulgar and juvenile. Not funny…pathetic

  47. GRaf says:

    Please don’t cancel this show, it is hilarious!

  48. S Evonne Wood says:

    Terrific cast but writing needs to improve. I’m hopeful as it continues it will get better.

  49. animefun says:

    Narcos does a great job of introducing us to the figure of Pablo Escobar… magical realism was born in Colombia: there is no other way to tell this story without having people wonder what’s real and what isn’t.

  50. dragonballgo says:

    Not only do I recommend this series, but I also suggest reading up on the real story of Escobar, because some of the stuff that you’ll read surpasses fiction.