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Up All Night is getting it right. Sure seems like it will anyway.

Iconic TV dad Homer Simpson once nailed the reason why we laugh at comedians who talk about the average day-to-day stuff: It’s funny cause it’s true. But does the same hold true for sitcoms and especially sitcom parents? Think back to other iconic TV parents: Cliff and Claire Huxtable, Ward and June Cleaver, Danny Tanner, etc. They had all the answers, virtually always knew when their kids were up to trouble (but super minor trouble) and could neatly supply some sort of essential life lesson at the end of the episode. And when we move away from the “Father Knows Best” model, we get the lovable oafs like our pal Homer whose kids are much, much smarter than him. And sure, it’s funny, but it’s not true.

Heather Havrilesky wrote in the New York Times this weekend that more modern show like I Hate My Teenage Daughter contrasted those idealized omniscient parents with the ones that flat out dread parenting, with presumably cringe-worthy rather than hilarious results. Havrilesky writes, “given just how obsessed our generation is with parenting, it’s odd that we’re so bad at converting our obsession into TV that’s genuinely funny.”

But she also notes that some shows are totally getting it. Modern Family definitely gets it. How much do you love Mitchell and Cameron? The gay dads with the adopted baby girl from Vietnam are trying to be the best parents they can. They’re obviously very capable of taking care of their daughter, but they’re not the know-it-alls of the TGIF parents. When Lily starts biting, they turn to an online forum to see how other parents have solved the issue. Not wanting to subject Lily to come kind of bite-deterrent (I waterboarded our toddler.. LOL!) their solution is to write her a song:

We can’t wait to see what Mitchell and Cameron and Phil and Claire and Jay and Gloria and Manny and Luke and Alex and Haley and Lily get up to this season.

One of the new shows debuting this fall is Up All Night. It stars the hilarious Will Arnett and the awesome Christina Applegate as new parents. Here’s the preview:


Havrilesky’s already had the chance to see the new sitcom. It sounds promising:

Somehow, between Maya Rudolph’s turn as Reagan’s narcissistic boss and Arnett’s unparalleled self-serious buffoonery, the show manages to skirt both the swooning sentimentality of old-fashioned family shows and the jittery angst of the less successful parental-paralysis comedies. In fact, the writers of “Up All Night” might have tapped into some essential shift in the current attitudes around parenting: even though, in public, parents and nonparents alike struggle to politely endure one of the most chafingly child-focused eras in modern history, in private, we’re making mac and cheese from a box and chortling over YouTube clips of Werner Herzog reading from that new kid’s book that profanely exhorts small children to go to sleep.

In fact, we’re so excited for Up All Night and we’re confident in its abilities to lovingly make fun of modern parenting, we’re going to do a recap here after every episode. We hope you’ll watch along with us and join in the discussion.

Image via YouTube

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