Fall TV Preview: 5 Things to Know About ‘The Millers’

From left: Margo Martindale, Will Arnett and Jayma Mays of "The Millers" (Photo: CBS)

CBS is banking on “The Millers,” which premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:30/7:30c, becoming its next great comedy hit. The network clearly has confidence in the show, which comes from “Raising Hope” and “My Name Is Earl” creator Greg Garcia, considering it’s programmed the series to air in the coveted post-“The Big Bang Theory” time slot.

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The network has also recruited a cast of heavyweights, starting with Will Arnett as Nathan Miller, a lightweight TV news reporter whose own divorce causes his parents (Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges) to split up and move in with him and his sister, Debbie (Jayma Mays), and her husband, Adam (Nelson Franklin). Mom goes with Nathan, dad with Debbie, hilarity ensues. (So does a bunch of uncomfortable parent sex jokes, but hopefully that’ll die down.)

While the first episode lays the groundwork for a standard, pedestrian comedy, there are plenty of promising elements that could turn the show into a sharp addition to the CBS lineup.

Ahead of the “Millers” premiere, here are five more things to expect from this traditional multi-camera sitcom:

1. Funny people. This cast is full of hilarious, accomplished comedic actors. Arnett is coming off his reprise of ridiculous Bluth brother Gob on the resurrected “Arrested Development” and here plays the straight man in a family of wacky characters. “Glee” vet Mays, coming off a funny arc on FX’s “The League,” plays his less-accomplished sister and Franklin (who’s basically been in all your recent favorite comedies: “Veep,” “New Girl,” The Office,” etc.) is her slightly flighty yoga-loving husband. But the real stars are Martindale as a suburban mother attempting to let loose, and Bridges as her lovably grumpy husband trying to strike out on his own.

2. Fart jokes. “The Millers” is no highfalutin’, smug, single-camera endeavor. This is everyman humor. It’s occasionally off-color, but never too crude. That means Emmy-winner Martindale is subjected to a recurring punchline about her character’s SBD farts, if that’s something you were hoping to see on TV this fall.

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3. Dirty dancing. Hey, “Dirty Dancing” is now a classic for a reason, and it’s mentioned several times throughout the “Millers” premiere. Just wait until a very unexpected pair gets their Swayze/Grey on. It’s not quite as effective a use of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” as, say, the “New Girl” pilot, and not as sexy a recreation as the Gosling/Stone moment in “Crazy Stupid Love,” but fun nonetheless.

4. Family. After “Modern Family” won its fourth consecutive Outstanding Comedy Emmy in September, it’s no wonder why many of this season’s crop of comedies are all focusing on families (“Mom,” “Dads,” father-daughter workplace sitcom “The Crazy Ones”). The premise of Fox’s “Dads” is similar, too — parents move in with adult children — but “The Millers” has a lot more heart. The kids on this show seem to actually love and respect their parents.

5. Comic relief. Does it count as comic relief if we’re watching a comedy? Either way, J.B. Smoove as Arnett’s friend and co-worker is a welcome addition to the family dynamic. His goofy energy balances out the rest of the cast quite nicely.

“The Millers” premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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