More Details about Parenting TV Project Show & Tell

9.13.2013

By Jesse Steinbach

'If Parenthood and Scandal had a baby—and their surrogate was Desperate Housewives,' explains Dan Bucatinsky

Photo credit: Getty 

After we heard about Dan Bucatinsky's new ABC series Show & Tell, which will be adapted from his Does This Baby Make me Look Straight? parenting book. We knew the show would be a gay-friendly dramedy about a group of parents whose kids attend the same school, but we didn't know anything else. Fortunately, we caught up with Bucatinsky to ask some questions about his new show and get a better idea of what to expect. 

Out: How much of the humor from Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? will remain? Or is just a jumping off point for completely new story lines and less of your personal stories?

The show is merely inspired by my book. Tonally, it does straddle comedy and drama all the time.  And the characters of the gay couple in my pilot will share a few of the stories I tell in my book, but so will some of the straight characters. The show is really about what it's like to juggle being a parent at a particular time in a person's life... dealing with the politics of parenthood while struggling with a sort of comedic narcissism as we approach 40. But it's a soap. Scandalous and fast. Gasp-worthy stories of secrets, lies — you know — sex and money, the things that can often tear a family apart.  

Is there a sense of a "core" of characters or is it still too early to say? 

It's a true ensemble.  Four families whose first graders are all in the same class.  

Please tell us that there will be a gay male couple at the center?

Yes, there's a gay couple. But also a single parent. And two others. Of course, all of it can change. It's just in the planning stages.

You seem to have such a great working relationship with funny and talented ladies. What does that sort of creative team bring to whatever project you're working on?

I've been very lucky to get inspiration from strong, talented and funny women. Shonda Rhimes is a genius at tapping into those things that are insanely dramatic — but also human and universal and envelope-pushing. I could do worse when it comes to mentors. And Lisa Kudrow?  Forget it: Nobody smarter and nobody funnier. Women know a thing or two about feeling marginalized and disempowered, and most good drama comes from being able to tap into real, grounded, but also hilarious flaws. 

And a personal question: Do your kids know about this? Are they too young to understand? 

None of the kids in the show will be based on my kids, except maybe anecdotally. My kids are young and they don't really follow the twists and turns of my creative ventures, but they're old enough now where I'd like to fictionalize as much as possible. I'm tapping into the feeling my book evokes and the mind-set of the parent much more than the details of the kids.

Is this the antithesis to Modern Family? Or is that too much to ask?

I wouldn't say the "antithesis."  I want to tell good, fun, grounded and funny stories about families. That show brilliantly tells comedic stories about one big family. We may chart some of the same territory, but tonally very different shows. I think mine is more like if Parenthood and Scandal had a baby. And their surrogate was, maybe, Desperate Housewives.

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