Jordan Peele's 'Us' is a Creepy Tale That Sadly Mirrors Our Reality

On May 25, 1986, approximately 6.5 million Americans stood hand in hand forming a human chain that stretched from New York to California for an event called Hands Across America. It was a fundraiser project from USA for Africa (the same people who produced the “We Are the World” single the year before) in hopes of raising $100 million to fight hunger and homelessness. The hope was that everyone who participated would donate $10 for the cause. Families stood and sang together for 15 minutes. And then it was over.

I had trouble remembering if Hands Across America really happened or if it was a gimmick for the film when the original commercial for the event flashed on the big screen during the opening of Us. I only vaguely remember the event, which might have to do more with the fact that I have lived in Washington State my whole life and we weren’t involved in the project. I doubt that I’m the only one and I suspect that was also some of Jordan Peele’s reasoning as well whe…

‘The Kids Are Alright’ is a Family Comedy Everyone Can Relate to

Review of ABC's "The Kids Are Alright."
Back row: Sawyer Barth, Caleb Foote, 
Michael Cudlitz, Mary McCormack, Sam Straley,
Front row: Santino Barnard, Jack Gore,
Andy Walken, Christopher Paul Richards (ABC)
If you didn’t grow up with a mother like Peggy Cleary, you definitely knew somebody whose mother was like Peggy Cleary. While ABC’s family comedy, The Kids Are Alright features an ensemble cast, Mary McCormack steals the show as the mother of eight boys who utters pearls of wisdom like “We can’t afford asthma. Go out and play” and “If you had any talent, I would have noticed it” while making dinner or hemming pants.

Set in the 1970s, the Cleary family is inspired by the childhood of the show’s creator, executive producer and narrator, Tim Doyle. ABC describes the family as “There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves.” The family says grace while dishing up in the kitchen and sitting around the dining table. You gotta grab all the food you can or you’ll be hungry.

The pilot tries its best to introduce us to all of the members of this traditional Irish-Catholic family which is pretty tough to do in less than 30 minutes, but you get a pretty good idea of who is who. Lawrence (Sam Straley) is the eldest of the brood who is attending seminary but he’s starting to have second thoughts about his future. Eddie (Caleb Foote) is thrilled that his brother is striving for the priesthood because that puts the pressure off him, or so he thinks. Next in line is Frank (Sawyer Barth) who always seems to be in the right place to know who is doing what they are not supposed to. Timmy (Jack Gore) has dreams of becoming a singer or actor or both. Joey (Christopher Paul Richards) offers sage advice. I don’t remember much about William (Andy Walken) which might suggests that he is often the forgotten child and Pat (Santino Barnard) is the youngest one who is afraid of everything or so it seems. While Peggy may do most of the housework, she doesn’t run the family by herself. Her husband Mike (Michael Cudlitz) is on hand to “handle it” when needed. He’s over the moon that his eldest is going to become a priest but he has a surprise coming to him at bingo tonight.

The Kids Are Alright is a treasure trove of pop culture with numerous references to many things that some of us of a certain age grew up with and can appreciate. The first episode had me laughing from beginning to end and if the rest of the series is as good, we’ve got a new winner. The family is not perfect, but there is actually a lot of love to share if they weren’t so dog-gone busy. I’m intrigued with how much of the family Catholic faith will play out in the show. There is one scene in the pilot that I thought the family would have reacted quite differently. I would love to see one show that can feature a family of faith without making them look like freaks.

The Kids Are Alright airs on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC


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