To be totally honest with you, I didn’t plan to write a preview for Chevy, but it turned out I underestimated the power of Chevy Chase. Because of Community‘s popularity on the internet -more than on TV obviously- and all that happened behind the scenes, I guess people are excited to see what will be his next move and that’s the reason why many of those who are looking for more informations about this project arrive here, thanks to the Google Gods. So I’m gonna give you a quick tour of Chevy pilot, what it is about and how it looks like on paper. Spoiler alert: I was pretty impressed!
We know ABC is very good at single-camera family oriented comedies and this one is right in its alley. If I had to compare Chevy to another one already on the air, I’d say it’s in the vein of The Middle. They share the same kind of sweetness and warmness, and they aim at the same sort of truth of what a family really is, or should be, based on everyday life. Chev, Bev and their grandchildren, the Peterson family, are not bigger-than-life characters, even if Chevy doesn’t always seem like he is a right fit for this world, doing one mistake then another. Actually, he never stops doing them. That’s part of the fun of the pilot, and it’s easy picturing Chevy Chase being very good at it. Of course, those who find him irritating will have a harder time enjoying it. But I’m sure they will in the end, because Chev has nothing in common with his Pierce character on Community. He is way more appealing. He’s a kinder person. My only reservation would be about the space he is taking. He should not be the central character in my opinion. Bev should be treated as equal, and it’s not the case for now. As if Chevy Chase requested to be THE funniest one. And noboby would be surprised if it were true… Bev is amusing nonetheless.
At the center of the show, there is death. Yes. Death. The daughter’s death is dealt with real subtlety, one you don’t expect in a comedy. Mom did it perfectly recently, How I Met Your Mother too a few years ago. It’s rare but not unprecedented. Some scene are clearly meant to make you sob a little, which is hard since we just met the family and never have met the dead woman. But it works, it’s touching and the last act is beautiful in that regard, as the whole voice over from Chev is. The whole story is in fact Chev writing his memoirs for the kids, in case he is not around when they’re grown up. This very idea is just devastating. Another good news: the kids are funny. Which is important since they’re not just here to play extras. There is Taylor, 14, a nerdy and handsome young man; Hope, 12, beautiful and smart; and Elliot, 4, ridiculously cute. I can’t say they are different from every other kids on television but I don’t think it’s even possible at this point. I like them just the way they are. The Petersons have another daughter, called Molly, 26, an embittered girl, who clearly has issues and a hard time adjusting to this new life without her sister in the picture. I think it haven’t stressed enough how fun the pilot is. It’s not just SAD, it’s also FUN.
Chevy is not a laugh-out-loud comedy neither an absurd one even if it is based on the absurdity and cruelty of life: grandparents should never have to raise their grandkids on their own. They have to be there for the vacations, for the fun… but not for the whole difficult and sometimes upsetting parenting, especially as they already did that a long time ago. So it’s a sweet and profound comedy, with a lot of heart, confronting the generations. It would fit perfectly in ABC’s line-up, between The Goldbergs, The Middle and Fresh Off the Boat. I hope ABC will move forward with it.