The series, which will premiere next month, follows a family dealing with money and relationship problems.
“Home Economics” is a light-hearted comedy produced and created by John Aboud and Michael Colton. The series is loosely based on Colton’s life. “Home Economics” centers on three siblings in different social classes and their families. Connor is in the 1%, Tom is middle class, and Sarah is barely holding on. The three face many challenges in terms of money and family, but navigate their issues together. The show stars Topher Grace, who is additionally a producer, Karla Souza as Marina; his wife, Jimmy Tatro as Connor, Caitlin McGee as Sarah, and Sasheer Zamata as Sarah’s wife Denise. All were in attendance of the panel along with Aboud and Colton.
Colton began by discussing the development of the show, and how closely the synopsis mirrored his own life. “As writers, we have had good years and bad years, and we were in the middle of a particularly bad year. I was actually collecting unemployment, and at the same time, I have a twin brother who sold a company for about $7 million. Then I have a sister who works in social work and has never made money.”
Aboud later added that the show mirrors many family comedies, but the idea of families being from different classes has never been explored in this format. “We’ve been talking for years about how to come up with the next great family sitcom. We’ve been fans of Modern Family forever, but when you look at those three families and how those stories intersect, all those guys are rich, they are not dealing with financial troubles.” In the series, Tom’s penning a novel about his family after his last failed book. While Tom fails to mention it to his siblings, Colton explained how he immediately confided in his family about creating the series. “I was a little unsure how they would react. I think everybody’s excited about it.”
Grace spoke greatly about working with the cast. The warm environment on set translated immensely on screen according to Grace. “I would say in almost every scene, we have trouble finishing, because we’re all laughing so hard,” said Grace. As an executive producer, he was additionally an integral part of the casting and met everyone before production. Grace remarked, “the best part of being part of casting was knowing that you’re gonna get the absolute best human being for the role and being able to know that going in, but to also know who they are as people because I look forward to spending a long time with this cast.”
An attendee wondered why broadcasting on ABC was decided rather than streaming on a major platform. Both Colton and Aboud have worked in broadcast before although according to Colton, that wasn’t the only incentive. To Colton, as a family comedy, he felt that bringing it to cable and telling the story once a week rather than having it all out at once was based on getting it to the masses easier. “Another reason we think this is broadcast is everybody who’s read it has said; I’m the Tom in my family, I’m the Connor in my family, I’m the Sarah in my family. It feels the things we’ve written to be the most relatable. Everybody struggles with money or struggles with siblings who need money. It just seems like it’s hitting them,” said Colton.
To close off the panel, one attendee asked about how real the story would get in terms of looking at issues of class. While the series is a comedy, the show takes places in a modern world, and today with many losing their jobs and the state of the economy it’s no laughing matter. McGee’s character Sarah loses her job so it was only fit for her to take the question. “I think that at the core of our show, and in many families, love and support gets you through job loss. That’s something that my character is going through on the show, and she has to be honest about with her wife and her brothers. It’s not a comfortable thing to talk about, but I think having it in this context in a comedy is accessible, and can also make people laugh is super important. In this moment, we need distractions as well as to feel like we’re being seen on television,” said McGee.
“Home Economics” premieres Wednesday, April 7 on ABC.