While Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix are lighting up your holiday season with comfort and joy, Fox is about to bring a little more reality to Christmas programming with “The Moodys,” a six-episode event series starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins, which follows a dysfunctional family through the most wonderful time of the year.
But showrunners Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg and Tad Quill are hoping their “realistic” portrayal of what it’s like to deck the halls with your relatives for days on end lifts you up just as much as those more “sugar-coated” movies and series.
“We did want it to be realistic and we did want it to reflect Christmas the way our families experienced in over the years,” Fisher told TheWrap.
“I think that feeling real and lived in and more like your own family, hopefully the power of Christmas and the power of love and the power of family comes through even stronger because it’s not sugar-coated and it’s based on reality,” he added. “And yeah, there’s lots of issues going on, but the deep love in this family, we’re hoping, is very uplifting.”
“The Moodys” centers on the Moody family, a tight-knit, but slightly dysfunctional clan: Sean Sr. (Leary), his wife Ann (Perkins) and their three grown children — Dan (Francois Arnaud), the youngest of the siblings and the “creative one,” Bridget (Chelsea Frei), the middle sister and the “overachiever,” and Sean Jr. (Jay Baruchel), the oldest sibling and “screw-up” who is still living at home with his parents.
The whole family gets together at the parents house in their hometown of Chicago for the nights before Christmas, which leads to what Perkins calls “a more truthful experience than a silent night where everything’s perfect.”
“It’s sort of about more the mishaps and ridiculous extended family and all you wanna do is put up a string of lights and you get it up there and there’s one bulb that’s out,” Perkins says. “That is more like a realistic interpretation of what Christmas is. And I think if you’re expecting something like ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ then this is not for you. This is more like what everybody really experiences, which is, you know, dysfunctional, but who isn’t? Dysfunctional is actually normal. And I think we’re still used to seeing Christmas portrayed as a time of peace, and that’s not anybody’s experience at all.”
But don’t worry, because Perkins says “The Moodys” still has “all the Christmas traditions” you love, just presented in a way that probably looks more familiar to what you’ve seen in real life, not in those Christmas classics.
“We put up the tree and we decorate and we go caroling and we go to friends’ parties. But It looks at from a more realistic view, in that when you go to the house party with friends from high school, you run into people you don’t want to see as opposed to, ‘This is a great fun party!’ And there’s a lot of love amongst everybody, because that’s very true about families. But at this same time, they are cramped in a small house and sharing one bathroom. It’s more relatable than everybody looks perfect and everything is going smoothly. That’s not a realistic interpretation of Christmas. And also, it’s really funny.”
Greenberg says he, Fisher and Quill “see this as very much an affirmative Christmas story.”
“What you’re supposed to get out of Christmas, we think this family does,” he added. “They come closer together. They know each other more. They feel more bonded.”
“The Moodys” premieres Wednesday with two back-to-back episodes at 9/8c and 9:30/8:30c on Fox.