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Untitled Single Dad Project

Logline: An intellectual but emotionally challenged single dad moves to Queens with his tow young daughters and forms and unlikely family with the other residents in their apartment building.
Cast: Rob Riggle, Lombardo Boyar
Creators: Dannah Phirman (W / EP), Danielle Schneider (W / EP), Sarah Haskins (EP), Emily Halpern (EP), Beth McCarthy-Miller (D)
Studios: ABC Studios

As I said with Household Name, ABC probably wants to pick up one multi-cam to pair up with Dr. Ken and Last Man Standing in it’s multi-cam block. The idea of a single dad show is generally tried out multiple times each pilot season. Perhaps it’s because so many in LA are single dads? Regardless, they rarely make it to series because they tend to not really rise above generic. With this and Household Name vying for a single spot, will this project do something interesting with the premise?

Josh is a single father of two dads, forced to parent alone after the girls’ mother ran off to an ashram. He’s just moved the family cross country to Queens. He wants to something special for them, so he takes them to see the sunrise over the Empire State Building. They’re understandably unimpressed.

We meet Elias, the building handyman, a dude’s dude and Mrs. Kim, a tough Korean who teaches Josh about living in an apartment building for the first time. The family has a bit of a time adjusting — the girls get made fun of on the playground, and Josh doesn’t quite understand the nuance of laundry rules in an apartment. The girls resent their dad moving them cross country, Josh screws up a bit more, but all ends well as the apartment building rallies to help their newest tenants.

This pilot is undeniably sweet. You feel for the dad and the daughters. And there are some good humorous lines sprinkled throughout. But I think the biggest problem with this set-up — it’s hard to come up with a new angle — is what holds this pilot back. It does what it has to do, but doesn’t demand attention. Rob Riggle, like Ken Jeong, is built for multi-cam. But whereas Jeong plays way over the top — to the detriment of the quality of his show but to the benefit of Nielsen numbers — Riggle’s character here is rather understated. In may respects, this is the complete opposite approach of Household Name.

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