Eight boys … one crazy family … new sitcom The Kids Are Alright

(image via YouTube (c) ABC)


Set in the 1970s, the ensemble, single-camera comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. The series is inspired by the childhood of writer and executive producer Tim Doyle.

It stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence, Caleb Martin Foote as Eddie, Sawyer Barth as Frank, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey, Jack Gore as Timmy, Andy Walken as William and Santino Barnard as Pat. (synopsis via Variety)

You only have to be on Facebook for about five minutes to see a quiz, a meme or a well-worn, all-knowing comment about the differences between growing up in the early ’70s, which sits squarely in the middle of the formative years of yours truly, and growing up now.

The biggest difference cited, often with copious amount of “Dad joke” guffawing and wink-wink-nudge-nudge “Am I right? Am I right? You know I’m right?” hilarity, is that the freewheeling decade of almost 50 years ago (oh lordy I suddenly feel old) had very few of the helicopter-parenting rules that keep present-day kids well and truly penned in, for better or worse. (To be fair, not being a modern parent or a kid, I can’t comment of which side of the good/bad equation this sits.)




Whether it was good to have such hands-off parenting is a matter for nostalgic child psychologists and would-be PhD aspirants to discuss, but I remember biking all day all over town and only heading back for lunch and the end of the day, playing outside endlessly with my sister and the occasional friend, and having very few structured activities to fill in time.

It was a pretty idyllic existence – the rampant school bullying aside – but it wasn’t without complications as ABC’s new fall show The Kids Are Alright, unveiled at their recent upfronts presentation, makes gloriously and hilariously clear.

The trailer promises a witty, wisely-observant and heartfelt show – a partcular highlight is Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary who gets a slew of sensationally-good lines – that reveals the good and the bad of growing up in the ’70s where life wasn’t always as much carefree fun as our nostalgic rose-tinted glasses might have us believe.

The Kids Are Alright premieres during the 2018/19 season on ABC.

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