There’s an old saying that Hollywood is out of ideas. That may be true, but looking at the Fall TV comedy lineup, it’s clear that Hollywood isn’t out of children. Pretty much every single new comedy this fall is about children. So, it may seem like there are children everywhere. Hoards of children, scores of tweens, infinite amounts of teens… In reality, though, there are maybe only five kids you’ll see all year on network comedy.
Okay, five types of kids….
1) The Cloyingly Precocious Boy
See: About A Boy, Growing Up Fisher, The Goldbergs, Back In The Game, Mom, Trophy Wife
For generations, they’ve graced our screens. They’ve been trained by community theater programs, private acting coaches and pushy stage moms to win our hearts with their goofy glasses, adorable dimples and preternaturally clever retorts. So, it’s not like the cloyingly precocious nerdy boy is a new character in sitcoms; it’s just that there are a hella lot of them in the 2013 Fall TV lineup.
This season, however, there’s a new trend. A large portion of them aren’t content just to show up and deliver a punchline on cue and then fade away into the ensemble. These precocious boys are the protagonists, the narrators and the comedic everymen of the new shows.
So, if you were always a fan of precocious boys, you’re in luck. If you still associate every male child actor with Cousin Oliver, you may want to stick to Fox or cable.
Best of the Bunch: Griffin Gluck as Danny Gannon on Back in the Game. This kid is less nerdy and cloying, and more socially awkward and bad at sports. Plus, he has the guts to kiss a boy in order to diffuse a fight and impress a girl. The kid may be terrible at catching baseballs, but he’s got balls. The series, which stars Psych‘s Maggie Lawson as a single mom and James Caan as her alcoholic father, is pretty much the Bad News Bears in primetime, so there are a LOT of precocious kids on this show, but at least the main one is likable and inoffensive.