Is Single Parents Anything Like New Girl? Let Its Creator Explain

PHoto: Courtesy of ABC.
A mere four months ago, diehard viewers said goodbye to the loft gang as New Girl wrapped for good. While the Zooey Deschanel starring series came to its logical end — complete with a final rousing game of True American and one last prank — it was still difficult bid farewell to the Lofties, a gang of lovable mismatched weirdos who became a family.
Well, fans thankfully didn’t have to wait very long for a replacement. On Wednesday, September 26, ABC will premiere Single Parents, a sitcom about a bunch of lovable mismatched weirdos brought to us by the one, the only, Liz Meriwether. While these two shows might sound similar on a surface level, they’re not exactly identical — and that’s a good thing.
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The idea for Single Parents emerged up after Meriwether and longtime collaborator, executive producer J.J. Philbin, had a blast writing for New Girl season 7’s new child character, Ruth (Rockoff twins Danielle and Rhiannon), the writer told Refinery29. The new ABC comedy follows five — you guessed it — single parents raising their respective 7-year-olds, who are all in the same grade school class. While the squad, led by Leighton Meester’s Angie D’Amato, hates the phrase “It takes a village,” the group does end up leaning on each other for support, babysitting, and commiserating. In the pilot, flailing single parent Will Cooper (Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam) stumbles his way into the not-village.
Immediately, it’s easy to see how Angie and Will could fall into a Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Deschanel) type situation. Paralegal Angie is just as gruff as Nick Miller ever was, and Will is nearly as mushy as sing-talking, ukulele-playing Jess. But don’t expect the see this possible relationship flourish as quickly as New Girl’s central ship (remember, the Nick-Jess flirtationship was up and running by the season 1 finale).
When asked what we should expect from Single Parents, Meriwether teased that when it comes to these relationships, “It’s going to be totally new and totally different.”
“It might be a little bit of a slow burn potentially because it definitely changes the dynamics when there are kids involved,” the writer and new mom continued during the call, flanked by executive producer Philbin. “We like that. We like that it was a new dynamic — you can’t jump into a new relationship when there are kids involved. There are other things to think about.”
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Thankfully, that doesn’t mean viewers can’t have as much fun obsessing over these possible couplings as they once did with Nick, Jess, CeCe (Hannah Simone), and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).
“Show us the couple, and we’ll ship ‘em!” Philbin joked, with Meriwether adding, “And the chemistry is amazing between the cast. They really give us so many options in terms of where to go.” Right off the bat, viewers might notice Kimrie Lewis’s straight-shooting Poppy and Brad Garrett’s stuck-in-time Douglas have an undeniable spark. Even Philbin admitted with a laugh, “We ship them.”
Yet, Single Parents won’t be the unmitigated rom-com New Girl unabashedly, delightfully was. “The fun thing for us is exploring the bond they have with each other that’s beyond romantic,” Philbin continued. “It’s really about the fact they’re truly all in this together, parenting these kids. It feels like something really intense.”
Meriwether and Philbin’s interest in friendship over relationship is what has given us one of fall TV’s best new characters: Miggy Park (Jake Choi). If anyone in Single Parents Land is the Winston One, it’s Miggy, an extremely exhausted, tattooed single dad and sneaker head. Not only does Miggy get some of the best lines of the pilot (“Your parents are making my baby cry!”) the character gives audiences a type of man of color rarely seen on television.
While Winnie The Bish (Lamorne Morris) was all bird shirts and over zealous, or under zealous, pranks, Miggy, a 20-year-old Asian-American man, is simply an immediately lovable “ridiculous person,” as Douglas calls him. Miggy momentarily considers dropping off his baby on a doorstep and gleefully learns new infant-calming techniques. Nothing excites him more than the idea of a fresh pair of Yeezys. Rarely are Asian men on television allowed to be both this cool and this clueless.
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But, Meriwether promises, “There will only be one Winston Bishop. We’re just trying to create really unique characters across the board.”
With Single Parents, Meriwether and Philbin are well on their way to a mission accomplished.
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