They say that when coming up with a show title, your clear winner is the one that relays what your show is about straightaway. How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) might not be the catchiest title around, but it certainly delivers exactly what it promises.
“The show is autobiographical,” explained series creator Claudia Lonow (of former Knots Landing fame) at the 2012 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. “I still live with my parents, I’ve been living there for 15 years and I’ve been working on the show for about 12. By the time I got to this point, I decided that a good title would be How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) because that seems like what is happening to me.”
The ABC laffer, which kicks off on City Wednesday, stars Canadian Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) as Lonow’s character, Polly, Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds) as her mom, Elaine, and Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as her stepfather, Max. The plot picks up when Polly is forced to move back home with her daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), after a failed relationship.
Lonow revealed to TV Guide Canada that she always had Chalke in mind for the role, and it has developed since last year’s pilot to incorporate many of her off-screen talents, including a weird ability to write with her toes. For her part, Chalke was only 16 when she left home for the first time, and commuted back and forth from her grown-up job on Roseanne to her family and life back in Canada. After giving up everything to move to L.A. a couple of years after that, Chalke says she’s thrilled to have had a role written for her, but happy she never had to actually move back home to make it.
“[My friend and I had] a six-month sublet for this tiny one-bedroom, which created a whole lot of rumours,” she said. “It was two months into that when I got Scrubs, and I stayed and I lived in L.A.”
It took Lonow a while to get back on her feet (her daughter is now in college), but she eventually realized that she enjoyed living with her mom and stepfather so much that they all bought a house together.
“They’re really great, un-traditional parents, so they reacted like any loving mother and stepfather would be, and they put me in the weight room,” she laughed. “We slept in the weight room on a cot for a while until I got back on my feet. And then when it was time for my daughter to go to grammar school, I bought a house with them. I know it was crazy. It’s like there should be a show about it.”
How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) debuts Wednesday, April 3, at 9:30 p.m. ET on City and ABC.