Instead of drawing a comparison to any of TV’s past or existing family comedies, Justin Adler, creator of CBS’ new comedy Life in Pieces, said his inspiration was Looney Tunes. As in the actual Warner Bros. cartoons, including his favorite character Bugs Bunny.
At today’s TCA panel, Adler said after 15 years in writers rooms he found himself sent off to write a script and realized “I had written the same episode on another show 8 years ago. “ He decided that maybe the 22-minute sitcom structure was the problem. “I started thinking back to Looney Tunes…how it had independent multiple stories within a half hour. Why couldn’t you do that with an extended family? That’s how we all find ourselves up here now.”
Adler appeared on today’s panel with fellow EPS Aaron Kaplan, Jason Winer and a big cast including Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Zoe Lister-Jones, Colin Hanks, Angelique Cabral Thomas Sadoski, Betsy Brandt and Dan Bakkedahl.
The producers said that each episode would feature four independent stories but with a realistic “rule of continuum”—for example if a character gets punched in the nose in one story line, you would see the bruises if he turned up in another story line.
Brolin embraced the show’s sense of humor. “CBS is selling this as a sophisticated show, and they are comparing to Looney Tunes,” he said with mock humor. Later, though the name Barbra Streisand was never invoked, when asked what “his wife” thought of the pilot Brolin said: “She’s seen the four minute compression… She says: ‘Oh boy, great, go to work! Get out of the house, get out of that hammock.’”