A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A to Z is a mostly inoffensive romantic comedy, with little to worry parents beyond some innuendo and references to "hookups." There is kissing, dating, and flirting, on the part of the couple on which the show centers and otherwise. Some scenes take place in bars, and characters refer to "needing" a drink; no one acts drunk. Basically, this is a show that won't necessarily interest those younger than 14 or 15, since it focuses on a thirtysomething cast, but if teens or tweens catch a glimpse, no one will be traumatized, nor will there be too many awkward questions afterward.
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What's the story?
Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti) didn't notice each other despite working in adjacent buildings for months. But a chance meeting at the dating service where Andrew works brings the couple together -- for better or for worse. And as narrator Katey Sagal affirms during the show's opening monologue, A TO Z "is the comprehensive account of their relationship, from A to Z." The monologue also tells us that Andrew and Zelda dated for only under nine months. Did they break up? Did they marry and live together forever and ever? You'll have to watch to see.
Is it any good?
A to Z really badly wants to be How I Met Your Mother. It even stars HIMYM's Cristin Milioti! But as knockoffs go, this one actually boasts some charm. Feldman, who played a memorable neurotic on Mad Men, is a lovable, oversharing romantic mess of a fella, surrounded at work every day by lovers meeting, yet lonely himself. Milioti-as-Zelda has her defenses up, but they're washed away by Feldman's enthusiastic tail-wagging. Together they're a couple we want to get together and that we want to watch.
Zelda and Andrew's circle of oddball friends -- now, they could use some sharpening up. Andrew's given a big galoot of a best pal, who apparently both works and lives with him. He's clearly the show's wingman, kept around to say stuff like, "Dating a bi girl is like winning the sexual lottery," a line that the show's writers clearly think is clever enough to keep in the script but too off-color for our main charmer to say. Zelda's bestie is a sexually voracious fellow lawyer; we're supposed to be amused that she has a parade of colorful beaux parading through her life and producing sitcommy complications. Not so much. However, when the cameras focus on Milioti and Feldman, or when the creators write brilliant cameos for guest stars such as Lea Thompson (on a hoverboard!), this show is both cute and worthy of watching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the romantic-comedy genre. What makes a comedy "romantic" specifically, considering that love interests figure largely in most shows or movies? Why do people like to watch romantic comedies or stories about people falling in love?
Why do most romances follow the story of when a couple meets and gets together? Why not pick up the action when the couple is already firmly established?
Sitcoms about dating couples surrounded by a group of quirky friends are a time-honored television staple. What shows like A to Z can you name? How is A to Z alike? How is it different?