The premiere episode of this single-camera comedy starts with a flashback to Polly and her daughter Natalie (Rachel Eggleston) showing up, unannounced, on the doorstep of Polly’s mother, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”), and step-father, Max (Brad Garrett, “Everybody Loves Raymond”).
As written by series creator Claudia Lonow (“Accidentally on Purpose”), Elaine and Max are extreme characters, the kind of daffy free spirits who exist somewhere but probably not in the lives of the majority of viewers watching an ABC sitcom.
Actually, Max isn’t that bad. He’s got his eccentricities but they’re pretty acceptable. It’s Elaine who seems unreal and likely offensive to large swaths of the viewing public.
Her declarations are unusual (“I’m very proud of my orgasms!”) and her lack of attachment to raising her daughter is odd (she doesn’t remember if she bathed her daughter as a child). Elaine’s self-absorption is less out-there but no more amusing: “What are we going to talk about?” she asks when it’s time to babysit her granddaughter. “Kids are boring. We’re the fascinating ones.”
And that’s the biggest problem with this show’s execution: It’s got a worthy premise that’s larded up with unfunny, over-the-top characterizations