When I first saw a promo for this ABC Family show I was very leery of it. I really, really wanted it to be awesome, but honestly didn’t hold out much hope for that. I cringed as I imagined caricatures of lesbians and troubled kids all over the place and a lot over overblown drama. Of course, had I done my research at the time, I’d’ve seen that one of the creators was Peter Paige and been a lot happier in my imaginings.
The overall story of the show is a lesbian couple with their biological son, two adopted kids, in San Diego living a ‘normal’ life. One of the women is a cop and the other is VP at the charter school all their kids go to. Enter in the ‘troubled girl’ who needs an emergency placement and voila! All the makings of a family drama; especially when it turns out she’s not the real troubled kid in the family. (but that would be spoiling, so I’m not gonna tell.)
Stef (played by Teri Polo) is the cop and Lena (played by Sherri Saum) is the VP. They have a lovely, understated chemistry together and their marriage just works on so many levels, even when they have problems; and with 5 kids (4 teens & 1 preteen) in the house now, you know there’s going to be even more problems than they currently have.
And speaking of the kids, all the actors do a great job with their roles too. Brandon, the eldest, (played by David Lambert), the twins Mariana (played by Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (played by Jake T. Austin) and the new kids – Callie (played by Maia Mitchell) and Jude (played by Hayden Byerly). Each of them has a niche, but they aren’t locked into how they first appear which makes for a nice change and offers a lot of room for character growth. That’s something I appreciate as both a writer and viewer.
I think the best thing about this show is that it’s a family drama that happens to have lesbians for moms. Everything about this family is normal from the teen angst to the dueling parental roles to the problems in creating a work/life balance with limited resources. I also identify with this show a lot more than other family dramas of the same caliber. Not because this is the kind of family I’m from (unfortunately, it’s nothing like my family was growing up) but because it’s the kind of family I want for myself in the future.
All in all, if the show continues in this vein (and god I really hope Timothy Busfield remains as director! I just love him!), then this is going to be one of my favorite new shows. It’s certainly worth you all giving it a shot. I know I’m already looking forward to the rest of the episodes. Also, thankfully, the show does air on hulu.com for those of you, like me, who don’t watch tv on an actual tv anymore.