Warning there may be spoilers ahead.
I’ll admit when I saw the promo for this show I thought it’d be a carbon copy of Modern Family. Of course that’s not a bad thing; Modern Family is both very funny and very successful. However whilst there are some similarities Life in Pieces has managed to carve out its own identity and offer up something a little different. A major part of this is how the show is formatted. Instead of the usual episodic setup, the show is divided into four short stories. At first I wasn’t sure how this would work. Would the episode feel disjointed? Would there be too much going on in one episode? Would it affect the character relationships?
After watching the pilot, I’m happy to report that none of those concerns materialised. In fact the whole thing worked really well. Somehow the writers managed to introduce us to every member of this large family whilst maintaining witty and intelligent storylines. It’s actually quite commendable. Often characters are underused and underdeveloped in pilots because there’s simply not enough time but in 21 minutes Life in Pieces really showcased their brilliant cast.
This cast are so talented that it’s hard to pick a standout among them. Each one gives great performances in the pilot and manages to make their characters relatable and likeable. Perhaps the most impressive is Giselle Eisenberg who plays Sophia, the youngest daughter of Heather Short. Sophia has just found out that Santa doesn’t exist and is having a hard time dealing with the fact that her parents have lied to her. The scene is probably the funniest of the episode and Eisenberg is the star, delivering her lines with great comedic timing and the perfect level of sass. Despite her young age, she performs like a true professional and I suspect she’ll only get better. I also have to praise the writers for giving her such great material.
In fact I really should praise the writers for the entire episode. Each short story was interesting and entertaining. Everything flowed very well and the last segment brought everything together in a hilarious, if not slightly cheesy, way. The entire episode was easy to watch and 21 minutes flew by. My biggest frustration was that I’d have to wait until next week for the second episode.
The real beauty of Life in Pieces though is that four short story format. If you don’t like one segment you know that by the next advert they’ll be a completely different one. It keeps things fresh and interesting and I think that’s what will make the show popular. You can watch it with friends or family and know that there’s probably something for everyone despite differing tastes.
The first episode was fun, smart and engaging. If Life in Pieces manages to maintain the high standards that it set in the pilot, it could be CBS’s newest big hit!
Pilot rating: 4.5/5