There’s almost no training. There are no days off. The pay is lousy. You will try harder than you’ve ever tried at anything in your life and still feel like you’re failing most of the time. Why again do people become parents?
Set in London, FX’s new 10-episode comedy Breeders (Mondays beginning March 2 at 10pm ET/PT) tackles the toils of parenting in a realistic and relatable way seldom seen on TV. Far from the feel-good family sitcom, the series explores the fear, frustration and failure that’s an inherent part of nurturing people that you love beyond imagination. “You can love your children more than anything in the world and nothing, nothing makes you angrier,” says co-creator, cowriter and executive producer Chris Addison.
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“When you become a parent, you’re given this perfect human being and you’re told you’re going to bring this human being up and you’re going to let them go into the world,” says co-creator, cowriter and executive producer Simon Blackwell. “And theoretically you can do it perfectly, but you won’t and you will fail. And every parent fails, and that’s kind of what we’re talking about here. In the same way every political career ends in failure.”
Martin Freeman (Sherlock) and Daisy Haggard (Episodes) lead the cast as Paul and Ally, parents of young Luke (George Wakeman) and Ava (Jayda Eyles). Together, Paul and Ally juggle their careers, finances and relationship, all while raising their kids and dealing with their own aging parents.
For Freeman, who’s also a creator and EP, developing story ideas with Blackwell and Addison was something like a fathers’ support group. “We talked about some of the worst things we had done or what happened to us as parents, I suppose, that could be turned hopefully into a comedic thing,” he says.
Freeman’s own kids, ages 11 and 14, are old enough to know that they’ve provided some of the source material. “If anyone ever asks me ‘Oh, what’s Breeders about?,’ my kids will pipe up and say, ‘It’s a show about how much he hates us.’ And so I’m like, ‘It’s not quite that,’ but …”