Parents' Guide to

Trying

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Language, some drinking in too-cute adoption dramedy.

TV Apple TV+ Drama 2020
Trying Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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This dramedy wins points for its unique focus on the many difficulties of the adoption process and its actors' chemistry, but it strains too hard to be charming to make it there most of the time. Things get off to a rocky start in Trying's first scene of its first episode, when Nikki suddenly discovers that it's a day later than she thought it was, and her "window" for conceiving after her ovulation is closing fast when they're inconveniently on a bus home from a bar. They're miles away, laments Nikki, when every hour matters. No matter: without removing a stitch of clothing, and disregarding the lone napping fellow bus passenger, they complete the task. It's funny, but it's a lot.

But this show is always doing stuff like that, when it's not doing things right. Nikki is an only slightly grown-up version of a manic pixie dream girl, and Jason is a merely marginally more mature iteration of a movie man-child, which we're clearly supposed to find cute but only fitfully do. Things do improve remarkably when Imelda Staunton shows up as a social worker who first appears to do a surprise inspection of Nikki and Jason's apartment (a hoary plotline we could have done without, but the results are undeniable). She reads as utterly true and positively delightful, daffy yet dead-eyed realistic about the slings and arrows of adoption and the children who need homes. Nikki and Jason need not pretend to be smooth, perfect people, she advises them in one wonderful scene: "That's not who the kids are. They don't grow up in houses with quinoa and rocking horses. You know, we rip them out of their lives and move them two miles away and it might as well be the other side of the world." At moments like this, Trying hits emotional heights that make it worthwhile. If only there were more moment like this in this show.

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