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 Alex, Inc. is a sitcom about a man's midlife career change that's loosely based on Alex Blumberg's experiences with his podcast StartUp. It's a mild, mostly feel-good comedy that mines traditional matters like work relationships and family dynamics for laughs. Occasionally sexual innuendo plays a role, and a supporting character's unrelenting crush on her boss is a major plot point in many scenes. Expect some language ("damn" and "hell") and occasional drinking, but also a positive representation of the work/family balance.
What's the story?
ALEX, INC. stars Zach Braff as Alex Schuman, a 37-year-old husband and father of two who decides to quit his job and start a podcast company with the help of his ne'er-do-well cousin Eddie (Michael Imperioli) and producer Deirdre (Hillary Anne Matthews), whose loyalty hinges on the fact that she's not-so-secretly in love with her boss. Initially taken aback by the abrupt career move, Alex's wife, Rooni (Tiya Sircar), steps up to cover his absences at home with their kids, Ben (Elisha Henig) and Soraya (Audyssie James), and to support Alex in the challenging start-up phase of his new company.
Is it any good?
Heartfelt performances and a loosely adapted biographical story about Alex Blumberg's success with StartUp are unevenly matched with this show's inability to really get off the ground. It's good to see Braff back on the sitcom stage, and his chemistry with costar Sircar makes for pleasant, if short-lived, scenes between the two of them. Less memorable are the exchanges among the podcast's staff, save for the constant bickering and verbal tug-of-war between Eddie and Deirdre, who vie for Alex's approval in escalating timbre.
What does impress are the show's messages about the potential symbiosis between family and career, a theme that's not always prominent in comedies. Alex's career change yields many growing pains for himself and his family, but his family is willing to make the journey with him to help him realize his goals. Rather than isolating these two aspects of his life, Alex, Inc. interweaves work and family, suggesting that each can enhance the other and painting a positive picture of the work/family balance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about career goals. Why is it important to set goals for yourself? How does Alex show himself to be adaptable to how his priorities change in Alex, Inc.?
Does this series present marriage and family in a more positive light than other shows you've seen? How does this family structure compare to yours? If a show was made about your family, what should it be called? Would it be a drama or a comedy?
Alex's determination to make his new career work is an obvious theme in this show, but what other character strengths are evident in other people? Are positive role models important to you in the shows you watch?