Network television appears to be pivoting away from the bright lights of the big city and turning to middle America as its next muse.
Leah Remini, formerly of Scientology and Jezebel’s favorite show Kevin Can Wait, has been cast in a family comedy from the creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, set to air on Fox.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Remini will play Jean, who considers herself a patriot that loves her country and firmly believes in everyone’s right to be left alone. Jean in many ways fits the stereotype of a typical conservative. However, she leads a very progressive lifestyle as she is now married to a woman, Betty. Together, they’re raising Jean’s two sons with the help of the boys’ father and Jean’s ex-husband, Richie, who lives in the garage.
While this isn’t the worst idea for a show, it’s also a show that would only be made now, in 2018. Post-Roseanne, networks have realized that capitalizing on this particular cultural moment is lucrative; THR notes that the reboot “overperformed in that region.” They’ve also resurrected Last Man Standing, a multi-camera sitcom about a conservative father of three daughters (played by Tim Allen) who blusters about bemoaning the loss of traditional American values and masculinity, all set to a booming laugh track. His long-suffering wife, played by Nancy Travis (the best part of So I Married an Axe Murderer) puts up with his shit because isn’t it funny when women are forced to contend with their terrible husbands?
Remini’s pilot feels both confusing and slightly hopeful—like a parent serving their small child brownies hiding a secret amount of pureéd kale. Perhaps the thought is that through constant exposure, minds can change. It’s a nice thought—overly optimistic and assuming the best of people—just like America.