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!