Monday, March 4, 2024

The Moodys Ditches Holiday Theme but Keeps the Laughs in S2

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The Moodys first aired on Fox in 2019 as a limited holiday series entitled A Moodys Christmas. It was the American version of an Australian sitcom of the same name and was originally intended to end after its six-episode run. The show was unexpectedly renewed for a second season that would follow the lives of the Moody family in their everyday life. Since the show was no longer restricted by the Christmas format, the name was changed to simply The Moodys.

Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins star as Sean Sr. and Ann, the put-upon parents whose carefully laid out plans for the next stage of their lives is disrupted by their three adult children returning home. Well, Sean Jr. (Jay Baruchel) never actually left and waffles between taking over his father’s business and starting one of his own with macho cousin Marco (Josh Segarra).

Bridget (Chelsea Frei) is staying with her parents during the season-long construction of her brownstone and seeks out romance with an old flame after her recent divorce. Finally, Dan (Francois Arnaud) moves back to Chicago to commit to his girlfriend, Cora (Maria Gabriela de Faria), only to end up back in his childhood home after she kicks him out of their new place.

The idea of a sitcom about an average American family in the suburbs is not groundbreaking, but with the The Moodys, it doesn’t have to be. This show revels in the small moments of being a family and mines comedy from its characters’ personalities and quirks. Any wacky situations the family land themselves in is usually their own fault, due to personal shortcomings and misguided ambitions, rather than hokey set-ups dreamed up by sitcom writers.

The Moodys subverts the classic sitcom trope in small and effective ways. For one, the children are all grown, and the odd, yet sweet relationship they have with their parents is the crux of the show. The show understands that adult children still sometimes need their parents, but that the act of parenting grown adults can be a confusing and awkward process for everyone involved.

Another way The Moodys stands out from other sitcoms is that the women in the family, Ann and Bridget, are allowed to be silly and mess up in the same comedic ways their male counterparts do. Ann shows up drunk to her husband’s AA meeting, Bridget very nearly kisses her cousin in a bizarre rock bottom moment, and this behavior is both a learning moment and played for laughs. Sure, the women are a little more straight-laced and responsible, but they aren’t buzzkills or only serve as a voice of reason for the guys. This is a family of jokesters and screw-ups, after all, and it’s refreshing that this extends to the ladies.

There are shades of Denis Leary’s previous show, Rescue Me, present here, particularly in the brand of humor and the running theme of a dysfunctional family. However, The Moodys is sweet and charming where Rescue Me was dark and melodramatic. The Moodys is a more lighthearted sitcom, choosing to mine humor from how the family’s quirks manifest in odd ways of bonding with each other.

It’s clear that despite their bickering and bad choices, the Moodys actually care about one another, and this makes the show a joy to watch. The weirdness and eccentricity of this family is on full display when they’re interacting, and luckily for us, this clan is close-knit, so the fun never stops.

Unfortunately, The Moodys was cancelled by Fox halfway through its second season run. The network even pulled the last three episodes from its normal slot. It’s puzzling that Fox pushed for the show to continue after its initial limited series format, only to lose faith so quickly in its sophomore season.

Still, I’m glad viewers got to spend more time with the Moodys, a family that’s somehow both dysfunctional and wholesome. This show is certainly a bright spot in the grim, dark landscape of TV these days, and will put a smile on your face through jokes and feel-good sentiments.

Images courtesy of Fox

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