According to the “Life in Pieces” cast, regardless of the array of family comedies on air, their new CBS sitcom is one to watch — and it is different from other similar series.
The show is specifically drawing many comparisons to “Modern Family,” mostly due to the large ensemble. But while the actors are flattered to be compared to ABC’s five-time Emmy winning show, they hope to be recognized for their own shtick.
“Any show about a family, you can say is about another show about a family. That’s a simple parallel,” star Colin Hanks told Variety at a table read last week, in preparation for Monday’s premiere.
Hanks notes the segmented storytelling of family members in different stages of life (hence the series’ title), as a unique flair that sets “Life in Pieces” apart from similar sorts of sitcoms.
“The whole structure of our show is unlike anything else I’ve seen, especially in a 30-minute comedy. We have these four short stories every week and put them together, and we have a show,” Hanks explained. “I think (the show) is a really unique, fresh perspective and helps breathe life…it’s one of the things I feel is really refreshing about it.”
Variety‘s Brian Lowry described the series as “a multigenerational, multi-point-of-view family comedy, which CBS went ahead and ordered, even though it’s really just ‘Modern Family’ under a different name.”
However, Hanks’ television wife Zoe Lister Jones agrees with her on-camera hubby that “Life in Pieces” is no “Modern Family.”
“I mean ‘Modern Family’ is an incredible show, so any comparison is a huge compliment,” Jones said. “But, the writers are just so incredible on this show that all of the stories to me feel unfamiliar, unpredictable and unexpected.”
Co-star Dan Bakkedahl weighed in, saying, “It’s funny when people say like, ‘Oh well how are you different from ‘Modern Family’?’ And I say, how am I different from ‘All in the Family’ or ‘The Simpsons’ or any other family comedy that has ever come along? One is animated and another has different marriages that you hadn’t seen on television before.”
“We’re just seeing different phases of life in this family,” he continued. “Each one of these little pieces in an episode, you can take any one of these episodes apart and put any other story from another episode in it and it would work just as well, which is really unique. No one else can say that.”
“Life in Pieces” packs an all-star cast, also co-starring James Brolin, Dianne West and “Breaking Bad” alum Betsy Brandt.