Filling the void recently left by Working The Engels, NBC is developing Assisted Loving, thus fulfilling the network’s quota of sitcoms about slightly off-kilter families that also have the sort of pun-filled titles that would look really great on a brightly colored poster. Ideally these posters will feature a photo of a young man or woman making an exasperated face as if to say, “Can you believe what I have to put up with?” in front of relatives who are exhibiting varying degrees of wacky dress and age-inappropriate attitude. This conveys the generational clash that is the source of so much comedic conflict.
Such a poster for Assisted Loving would likely feature two young people making exasperated faces on either side of an elderly man, as the show concerns two half-siblings who are taking care of their father. And because it’s based on Bob Morris’ book of the same name, which features true tales of double-dating with his spry, 80-year-old father, that elderly man may or may not be doing something lascivious—whistling at a nurse, for example, or maybe ogling a swimsuit calendar from the 1950s. Perhaps he’s covered in lipstick to suggesting he’s recently been kissed, despite his being very, very old.
Indeed, there are just some of the many comedic possibilities when you explore the premise of old people interacting with young people, which is why it still accounts for approximately 40 percent of network comedies—including the last sitcom by Assisted Loving showrunner Claudia Lonow, whose ABC comedy How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) perhaps would have lasted a little longer if it’d had a zippier title. Welcome To The Parent ‘Hood, maybe.
(Assisted Loving is a play on “assisted living,” except instead of providing the elderly with meals and medical service, it provides them with a chance to get biz-zay. Also, the family loves each other, so it’s heartwarming as well as funny. That’s what makes it a television show.)