13 October 2011

Hipster Doofus Parents

As the new fall TV season was approaching this year, a friend asked if the wife and I were legally obligated to watch Up All Night, since we now had a kid. I'm not sure his exact level of sarcasm when posing this query (it was over email or text, if I recall), but I was forced to sheepishly admit that I was already planning on checking it out, had perhaps even already set up my DVR to record it. He does not have children. He's watching Breaking Bad.

Anyway, the appeal was obvious. Aside from Will Arnett (and all the fond memories of Arrested Development that his appearance never fails to call up), the show appeared to take a quasi-realistic look at being new parents. How hard it actually is, how it forces you grow up in a way that you might not be prepared to, how downright annoying other parents can be—and how desperately you want to avoid being lumped together with all of them.

I can’t decide if it’s sad and pathetic, or comforting and reassuring, that this show is so relatable. That it has offered such a reflection of my life, as I know it now, with the Doozer. That in each of its episodes so far in this, its freshman season, there has been at least one element of the story that has managed to strike a chord. The pilot episode, for instance, is built entirely around the idea that going out and partying like you used to will result in the single worst hangover/day of your entire life. True that:

Or when the cool, childless couple move in across the street and all you want to do is be recognized as peers in the realm of cool and hip and relevant, but their housewarming party is causing such a ruckus that it’s keeping you and your baby up and you’re just desperate for sleep. Check.

Or shopping for that new car, the mom mobile, because you really do need something practical to get to the beach. Hell, to get to the grocery store. But it’s the same beige car every other parent is driving, the parents you do not want to be associated with under any circumstances. But it really is the most practical vehicle you could purchase.

It sometimes feels like the writers of this show have recorded personal conversations that my wife and I have had and turned them into the characters' dialogue. It reminds me of seeing Knocked Up for the first time and being convinced that Judd Apatow must have bugged the West Los Angeles apartment I shared in my early 20s with a few friends and a revolving door of roommates. When I got to interview him for a magazine about his flick, I posed this question to him. He neither confirmed nor denied that he had done such a thing.

And since this show is such an accurate reflection of our experience with parenting, it obviously dashes the hopes I had of turning this, The Dad Scene, into a half-hour comedy about new fatherhood starring Adam Scott (when he’s through with Parks and Recreation, of course).

Of course, I'm already the star of a fatherhood comedy myself. And it isn't just a half hour long. Life with the Doozer is a show that is weird, funny, surprising, enlightening, inspiring, tiring. And it's not just on once a week for half an hour. It's continuous. Nonstop.

Somebody cue the laugh track . . .

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