The Runway – Your 2017 Pilot Survival Guide: NBC Comedies

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 Untitled Kourtney Kang

Logline: Explores what it’s like to grow up as the only girl in the only mixed-race family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, dealing with real-world issues like race and gender while never losing focus of her life goal: to become a Laker Girl like her idol, Paula Abdul.
Cast: Isabella Russo, Kenneth Choi, Rebecca Creskoff, Ben Taylor, Cade Izuno, Paula Abdul
Creators: Kourtney Kang (W / EP), Nahnatchka Khan (EP), Mandy Summers (EP), Fred Savage (D / EP)
Studios: 20th Century Fox TV, Fierce Baby

Kourtney Kang is a veteran writer who has spent the last several seasons on Fresh Off the Boat. She now takes a shot at her own semi-autobiographical fish out water pilot, about growing up in a mixed-raced family in the predominantly white suburbs. Though this one takes place in 1988 and suburban Philadelphia, the comparisons to Fresh Off the Boat will be inevitable.

Our lead, Katie, is first introduced meeting her hero, Laker Girl Paula Abdul, but it’s all just a dream, as we see Katie is really in her Irish mom Patty Jean and Korean father Clyde’s grocery store. She has a younger brother and an older brother, so it’s understandable why she might want to run away to do bigger things, like be a Laker girl. Patty Jean is worried about losing her looks before the big Blueberry Jubilee and Katie is smitten with her new social studies teacher. Her parents get called into school when she is accused of staring at her teacher’s package. That doesn’t stop her from asking for some extra tutoring, and the clearly not-too-bright teacher agrees. As a runner joke, Clyde repeatedly gets asked about Chinese things, even though he’s Korean. There’s a nice mother-daughter moment where they reconcile when Patty Jean makes a Laker girl outfit for Katie.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s very hard not to think of Fresh Off the Boat when reading this. Sure, some of that is probably my unconscious bias, but Clyde (the dad) read so similarly to the dad on Fresh Off the Boat. There are a few new twists, like the real Paula Abdul giving Katie advice, but it seems like NBC is definitely wading into ABC’s territory with this (thought it comes from Fox Studios), and you have to wonder if NBC would go with a family comedy without another one to pair it.

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