Home Economics: Home Economics, full 3rd season
February 20, 2023 5:40 AM - Season 3 (Full Season) - Subscribe

"Home Economics" is a sitcom currently airing on ABC in the US. It's reasonably funny, and has some fun actors and writing. The third season just finished and we don't know whether ABC will renew the show for a fourth. As English Wikipedia summarizes: "Home Economics follows the lives of three siblings. Tom, the oldest, his wife Marina, and their three children are considered a middle class family. The middle sibling, Sarah, her wife Denise, and their two adopted children live in a tiny apartment and are barely scraping by on their meager incomes. The youngest, Connor, is very well off financially but unlucky in love, as the series begins with him finalizing a divorce." The third season includes a book release, a family secret coming to light, a natural disaster, and a flashback to Marina's and Tom's wedding day.
posted by brainwane (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I like that "Home Economics" gets at some of the frictions that show up when you're rich or poor relative to someone you care about. One sibling makes a loan to another; several episodes later, when the borrower tries to pay it back, the lender tries to refuse the payment, calling it a gift, and the borrower is insulted by the attempted charity, because this ties into their own insecurity about being seen as a good provider for their family. And yeah, the person with the biggest home is the de facto host and party organizer, and that's fraught. There are lots of little interactions and decisions that feel realistic to me and that provoke salutary reflection on desire, jealousy, pride, what tradeoffs we're willing to make for comfort, obligation, and fairness. (Along with the standard-issue sitcom plots where people go to ridiculous lengths to deceive each other, and then reveal everything, hug, and Learn A Lesson in the last 3 minutes of the episode.)

And I like the details about how our worries and joys about money influence the rest of our lives. Like: Tom gets a windfall, and we get the texture of, like, how the echoes of financial worry take a while to die down even after their cause has stopped.

That being said, it's interesting to reflect on what the show does and doesn't address, given its premise. We don't actually get concrete income or wealth numbers for any of the families; the cost of medical care is barely touched upon; we can't really get a sense of how much debt (such as mortgages or student loans) each family carries; none of the main characters are poor enough to (as far as we know) rely on government-subsidized food or housing.... And: Sarah, a leftist, does think Connor's wealth is unjust, and her point of view on the matter is clearly conveyed to us. Does the show agree with her? I don't know but I think it doesn't. I think it basically assumes: there are going to be rich people and not-rich people, and sometimes the luck of the draw, and your temperament, put you in a particular slot.

I am hesitant to recommend this show. It's a totally fine way to pass 22 minutes at a time, watching reasonably good-looking people banter and make references you'll probably get, laughing a bit. If you want to try a single episode, try Season 2, Episode 3, "Bottle Service, $800 Plus Tip (25% Suggested)".
posted by brainwane at 5:49 AM on February 20

I figure there must be more thoughtful and informed critical commentary somewhere, like, some think tank policy person analyzing it with footnotes and whatnot, but I haven't come across that yet. I welcome links!
posted by brainwane at 5:51 AM on February 20

I'm going to be sad when this gets cancelled before getting a season 4.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:07 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

I don't really have much of anything smart to say about this show other than I enjoy it more than I thought I would have.
posted by General Malaise at 6:42 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

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