#2. A 30-Something Has to Live With His Parents!
Do you miss Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, and $#*! My Dad Says? Want to check out a new comedy about an adult who suddenly has to live with his or her parents? How about Family Tools, the ABC comedy about a son who has to move in with his parents and help run his father's business when his dad has a heart attack? Or ABC's How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), which is about what it sounds like? Or Malibu Country, the show about a woman named Reba who moves in with her irascible mother after her husband cheats on her, which can also be seen on AB "Are You Kidding Me?" C?
There's also Dumb F*ck, yet another ABC comedy about an average Joe and his wife who move in with "emotionally stunted family." I bet there will be hijinks. Or, for a change of pace, you can check out ABC's Back in the Game, about a single mother who gets divorced and moves in with her estranged father. CBS, proving despite all odds that you don't have to be ABC to produce one of these shows, has The Unauthorized Greg Garcia Project, a show about a recently divorced man whose parents move in with him. Or the Fox comedy Dads, about two guys whose lives get turned UPSIDE DOWN when "their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them."
Why It Needs to Stop
I'm pretty sure Everybody Loves Raymond is on Netflix. You can just watch that if you're hungry for stories about invasive parents. Peter Boyle's really good in it.
#1. A Complicated Male Antihero Runs Shit
This is a tough premise to come down on, because some of my favorite shows of all time fall into this category. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, and plenty of others have all used the "Show About a Complicated Male Antihero in Charge of Things" format to great effect. We meet a man who is so mysterious and powerful and charismatic that people are naturally drawn to him, we see him rise to power, we see him fall from power, we see him take advantage of the people around him, we see him struggle with possibly leaving his antihero life behind and breaking good, and, if the show's on HBO (which most of them are), we also see some neat boobs and butts along the way.
Unless it's FX, in which case you just see Charlie Hunnam's butt over and over again.
It's hard to argue with that formula.
Why It Needs to Stop
One sign that tells you that a premise might be overstaying its welcome is when the audience sees it coming a mile away. A few years ago when HBO announced that they were coming out with a new show from David Milch set at a horse track (Luck), my first question before knowing anything about the show was "I wonder what tremendous older character actor they're going to hire to play the complicated male antihero." Then they cast Dustin Hoffman and I thought, "He's perfect!" And he was, and the show was good, but HBO cancelled it because they ended up killing too many horses (same reason Andy Richter Controls the Universe got cancelled).
We're just inserting Tony Soprano into Mad Libs and calling it a different show every time (Tony Soprano makes meth, Tony Soprano in the '60s, Tony Soprano in a newsroom, Tony Soprano and a Half Men, etc.). There's a finite amount of times I can watch the rise and fall of a powerful male antihero, and I think we're reaching that tipping point. It's hard to watch Don Draper self-destruct when I know I'll be watching Walter White self-destruct after that and Nucky Thompson self-destruct after that. People might find the sheer amount of characters in Game of Thrones overwhelming, but they'll never run out of stories to tell. I'm not saying every show should be Game of Thrones, but ... yeah, kinda. Can we do that?
New Line Cinema
As long as he still punches Pete and makes Peggy cry, we're on board.