ABC’s New Catholic-Family Comedy ‘The Kids Are Alright’: So Far, So Good

Ever since I first saw the trailer for the new ABC sitcom The Kids Are Alright, about a big Catholic family of all boys, I’ve been dying to see it.

It looked funny, well-done, and most importantly, didn’t really look like it was a Catholic-bashing vehicle. Could it be, I asked myself? Was it possible that someone finally figured out how many unending storylines are inherent in a comedy about a huge Catholic family?

I eagerly gave it a watch (it premiered Tuesday, Oct. 16) to find out (official website here).

The premise of The Kids Are Alright …

Eight boys, a mom and a dad. Set in the ’70s. Catholics. Oldest brother is in the seminary and thinking of leaving. Middle brother has a case of middle-child syndrome. Lots of squabbling, light conflict and shenanigans. A voice-over from the middle brother all grown up, a la The Wonder Years.

That’s about it, and it’s enough.

(Also, forget about the weird title. The show has nothing to do with the ’60s song or that movie from 2010 about a lesbian couple’s family life).

The Kids Are Alright is pretty well-done …

We laughed out loud more than once as we watched the pilot. And it’s mostly so fast-paced that you can miss some of the jokes if you aren’t listening close or don’t have the closed captions on.

Decent acting, good snappy dialogue, and so far the storylines feel fresh enough and pretty fun.

And so far, The Kids Are Alright is fairly clean …

It’s rated PG, though definitely on the harder end of the PG spectrum. For example, we see a guy in bed, with the insinuation that he’d been sleeping with the bathrobed girl nearby; some quick shots of prostitutes and strip clubs in the background when kids end up in the wrong part of town; and a dirty joke told in passing by a priest (which did feel in pretty poor taste …).

As far as portrayal of the Catholic faith, really the only thing in the pilot (other than the priest’s joke) that chafed at all was a rapid-fire delivered statement from the mom about raising money for some mission society that baptizes babies before they die so the babies don’t go to hell (I’m paraphrasing). It was said super-fast and almost in the kind of way a real Catholic might have summarized it for the sake of brevity, but definitely not theologically correct in her word choice. If anyone actually caught it, it would put us in a bit of a bad light, but it was definitely not a huge plot point by any means.

Overall …

We’ll see if they can keep it up. I found myself kind of holding my breath through the whole episode, afraid it would suddenly turn in to a Catholicism-bashing-fest similar to ABC’s last Catholic family sitcom, The Real O’Neals.

But so far, it was mostly just fun and good entertainment.

UPDATE! From Oct. 25: Watched the second episode of The Kids Are Alright on ABC last night, and it was still good! Funny, well-done, and not bashing Catholics.

Episodes air on Tuesdays on ABC at 8:30 pm. ET/PT

Image: Courtesy ABC

Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic mom, blogger and screenwriter.

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