Life In Pieces, created by Justin Adler, is a situation comedy, otherwise known as a sitcom, airing on the US television network CBS. The series takes us through the lives of three generations of the Short family, with each episode consisting of four short stories, each told from the point of view of different members of the family, showing their own version of events, with various connections between the different pieces of the storyline. The show first premiered on September 21, 2015, and was quickly picked up for a full 22 episode season in October of 2015. As of January, 2016, fourteen episodes have aired so far. CBS entertainment president, Glenn Geller, when asked to describe the show, was quoted as saying, “’Life In Pieces,’ with one of the best ensemble casts on television, is telling terrific stories in a very unique way, and we’re excited to tell many more of them this season.”
Although the show has proven to be popular with audiences rather quickly, becoming the number one rated new comedy of the television season for total viewers, there have been some critics quick to point out similarities to the Emmy award winning show Modern Family, which is broadcast by competing American network ABC. One critic even went so far as to make the direct comparison, calling the new sitcom, “Modern Family under a different name.” Despite this harsh criticism, the cast and creator are adamant that the show stands on its own, and is not just a copycat version of another show.
When asked about the somewhat unusual format employed in the storytelling of Life In Pieces, creator Justin Adler explained that he actually found his inspiration for the idea from watching Looney Tunes cartoons. Adler said, “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.” Expanding on the idea, and pointing out some of the additional challenge for the writers, he also said, “What’s challenging about the format is the fact that we aren’t doing 22 stories this year, we’re doing 88. We have to generate a huge amount of material.” Although each story within each episode is short, making up about 6 minutes of TV time, there is certainly a new challenge in coming up with so many different stories to tell.
Regardless of what detractors might say, the show has definitely gotten off to a good start and seems to have what it takes to retain an audience. There are several award winning actors in the cast who have been popular with the public for quite some time. The unorthodox format of the show also plays a part in keeping the audience interested. It’s a new way of watching this type of show, and also fits in well with our ever shrinking, internet age, attention spans. Separate six minute bits satisfy curiosity faster than full on twenty to thirty minutes episodes. CBS is obviously happy with the show and it’s ratings, as proven by their quick decision to pick up the series for a full season just a month after it first aired. Fans of the show are basically guaranteed a second season at this point. If the creative forces behind the scenes can keep up with the hefty workload they’ve created for themselves, and the series continues to gain momentum in its second season, Life In Pieces could easily become a long running show. The possibilities with the cast and the concept are almost endless.