“Right now, I think 31 percent of millennials are living at home, and the most interesting fact about that, for me, is that 80 percent of them are fine with it. They are happy to be home,” said Crowded writer and executive producer Suzanne Martin at a recent press conference for the new NBC sitcom, which previews tonight before airing Sundays starting March 20.
I’m not sure if these stats are accurate, but one thing that can’t be denied (at least from my unscientific perspective of knowing several millenials) is that people in their 20s and early 30s today don’t have as much of a problem with living at home as people may once have had. It’s no longer necessarily a sign that you are a “loser” if you are still living at home in your 20s, and while current economic factors certainly play a role in why young people move back into (or never leave) their parents’ home, there seems to be a behavioral element, too, where both parents and their children view each other as friends, and enjoy hanging out with each other. In fact, at the press conference, former Nickelodeon superstar Miranda Cosgrove, who costars in Crowded, told reporters that she lives with her parents. “I do have my own place, but I live with my parents 99 percent of the time,” the 22-year-old Cosgrove said. “I only go to my house if I get in an argument with my parents. But, other than that, I really love it there.”
That best-friend bond many of today’s youngsters have with their parents, and vice-versa, is part of the premise behind Crowded, a half-hour comedy that also counts Sean Hayes and legendary TV director/producer James Burrows (who directed his 1,000th TV episode working on this show) as executive producers. Patrick Warburton and Carrie Preston play Mike and Martina, whose “empty nest” suddenly becomes full again when their two grown daughters (Cosgrove and Mia Serafino) unexpectedly move back in, and Mike’s parents (Stacy Keach and Carlease Burke) scratch their plans to retire to Florida. Comedic situations arise as Mike and Martina (portrayed, refreshingly, as a middle-aged couple who are still fun, and loving and sexual) try to find time for themselves amid the new living arrangements.
I talked with Warburton and Preston after the press conference, and they told me about some of their own real-life experiences with “crowded” living arrangements.
“I refer to the show as Crowded Lite, compared to my life,” quipped Warburton, famed for his live-action roles on Seinfeld and The Tick, as well as his voice roles on Family Guy and The Venture Bros. “I have four kids, four dogs, [and] the in-laws lived with us all of last year while my father-in-law was in hospice care at our house. There’s a boyfriend and a girlfriend that think that they live at our house. Most of our shopping has got to be done at Costco just to make living affordable.”
For her part, Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife) said, “I did live at home between college and grad school, but I knew where I was going. It wasn’t like I moved there to find myself or whatever, I was ready to go. I mean, I felt like I was a little ashamed of living with my parents, [but] I think nowadays the stigma has been removed.”
Crowded airs two special preview episodes March 15 at 10pm ET; the series airs in its regular time slot beginning March 20 at 9:30pm ET.