Taped at Culver Studios by Dorothy Parker Drank Here Prods. and TriStar TV. Exec producer-creator-writer, Amy Sherman; supervising producer, Elaine Arata; producers, Patricia Fass Palmer, Mike Martineau; director, Gail Mancuso; Good vibes, good writing and good people with smart things to say brighten up Fox’s corner as Patricia Healy and Tony Denison limn April and Jack Nardini, loving, married New York working couple with three kids they accept as normal. Sharply written by creator Amy Sherman, directed expertly by Gail Mancuso, the Nardinis are people worth visiting.
April works night as a waitress in a posh Manhattan eatery, and Jack runs a parking garage during the day. Instead of groaning about the tough schedules, they make the most of their 15-minute beer break out on the fire escape; it’s nice to see aware people in love. And to see the fire escape back in good esteem.
They deal with their kids like they’re real. For the first episode, hard-working Michael (Erik Palladino), 17, appears only in flashes; Gemmy (Alicia Bergman), 16, who dyes her hair various greens and lives a pierce-and-be-pierced existence, is their loved daughter; Christopher (Adam Zolotin), 11, is into ditching school.
He may be foiled, since the Beggs, new neighbors from New Rochelle, have innocent son Max (Adam Wylie), 11. His proper, overwhelming, homemaking mom, Trudy (Meagan Fay), offers to walk the two boys to school. Her restrained hubby, Louis (Michael Mantell), hopelessly overcome by his exuberant wife, settles into chamber music.
Healy and Denison hit the target every time. They’re a struggling, happily married couple and show it. The kids are a kick, and Fay’s Trudy helps the new comedy swim along as it exudes joy, not cynicism, charm, not snideness. As April decides after the first act, “Oh, yeah, this is fun!”