It's not always easy to fall in love with a comedy.
The Kids Are Alright is an exception. This show is smart, funny, and relatable.
ABC's decision to cancel this show was heartbreaking. It still has a lot of life in it, and hopefully, another network will pick it up.
The first rule for any comedy is that it has to be funny.
The Kids Are Alright gets that right. Mike's one-liners offer laugh-out-loud moments several times an episode, and the interplay of different personalities makes this show as laugh-out-loud funny as it is poignant.
Each of the eight kids has a distinct personality, except for baby Andy, who is too young to have much of a personality at all, and none of them quite fit their parents' idea of what their life with kids is supposed to be like.
That's what makes this show such comedy gold. It's funny while also making serious points (sometimes), yet never takes itself so seriously that it jars viewers out of the story.
Peg and Mike may never be parents of the year, but it's impressive that they're able to function as well as they can considering that at any given moment, at least two of their boys are getting into some sort of mischief about which they have no clue!
And Peg has to put up with Mike too, who has a definite idea of how things should be and sometimes seems more like a ninth kid than the family breadwinner.
For example, who can forget The Kids Are Alright Season 1 Episode 3 when Mike brought a microwave home from work and proceeded to see how much of a mess he could make blowing up food items that weren't supposed to be microwaved?
The relationships between characters made the show special, too.
Peg and Mike's unaffectionate yet loving relationship is a highlight of every episode, as is Peg's insistence on befriending Eddie's girlfriend, and Mike's attempts to bond with his sons in his own awkward way.
One of my favorite stories was The Kids are Alright Season 1 Episode 2, when Mike tried to buy more produce because Lawrence wanted it, only for Lawrence to get angry because the produce was picked by workers who were not getting treated appropriately.
Mike's grudging explanation that he tried to do things to please his son even though he didn't agree with Lawrence's views were moving and relatable.
And that was just a subplot of an entertaining story about Timmy plagiarizing a poem he found in Peg's things only to discover that Peg had plagiarized that, too.
And on top of that, the conflict was one that could easily take place today even though the show takes place in the 1970s.
The earlier time slot shouldn't turn off younger viewers because, if anything, it shows that some conflicts are universal.
Long-haired Lawrence's fights with Mike about their differing political views, Peg's desire to be an independent woman yet wanting to be home to mother her large brood, and Timmy's dream of being in show business is all relatable today even though the show takes place 40 years ago.
Sure, some things are specific to the early 1970s, like Mike insisting the Watergate scandal is a hoax or Peg not wanting to switch to using a microwave instead of a conventional oven.
But most of the conflicts and stories on The Kids Are Alright are timeless.
That's because at its heart, this show is about family. This family is unconventional by today's standards, and it certainly doesn't fit the warm-fuzzy model of a show like 7th Heaven or Eight is Enough.
But the Clearys fit into an alternative model that's become popular: the blue-collar family where the parents might be a little rough around the edges but there's still plenty of love underneath.
Those types of families have been popular with viewers since the real 1970s. The Bunkers, the Bundys, the Taylors, and the Conners are just a few examples.
The Clearys share a few traits with those families.
Most notably, Mike is a hardworking, sarcastic, stubborn husband and father who loves his wife and kids but is rarely affectionate with them, while Peg is an overworked mother who is more sarcastic than sympathetic to her children's plights and the children are varying degrees of quirky, weird, and alien to their parents.
The generation gap issues are also reminiscent of the Keaton clan from Family Ties.
ALL of those other similar shows were overwhelmingly popular with viewers even when they veered into controversial territory. So why should The Kids Are Alright be any different?
It might not have caught fire with viewers yet, but given time -- and maybe a better time slot -- it could become a show everyone's talking about in a season or two.
It just needs to get picked up by another network.
If you're as much of a Kids are Alright Fanatic as I am, hit the comments with your thoughts on why this show should get revived somewhere else.
And don't forget that if you've missed any of your favorite shows this season, you can watch TV online right here on TV Fanatic.
The Kids Are Alright continues to air on ABC on Tuesdays at 8:30 PM EST/PST through May 21, 2019.