Networks are getting faster and faster when it comes to imitating their new hits, or even semi-hits. ABC’s Samantha Who?, a single-camera comedy starring Christina Applegate as an attractive thirty-something woman learning to get her life on track. Now Alicia Silverstone has signed to play an attractive thirty-something woman getting her life on track in “The Bad Mother’s Handbook,” a single-camera comedy for ABC.
This is based on a British novel, so it also fits in with the new vogue for foreign adaptations, and it’s about a single mom with a teenage daughter not that much younger than herself, so the premise will have echoes of Gilmore Girls. Put it all together and it’s every successful women’s show in one package. The original novel, though, is very much a lower-middle-class story — and there’s already been a TV movie adaptation of it in England — whereas that setting wouldn’t really fit on ABC. I would guess that in the post-Sex and the City, post-Samantha Who era, where doing a show about women’s problems implies fairly well-off women dealing with family and men troubles, the socio-economic status of the characters will be bumped up a bit. (It’s fairly normal on U.S. TV to show characters who don’t really worry that much about making ends meet; compare both versions of The Office and ask which group talked more about real everyday economic stuff.) But we’ll see. At least it’s good to see both Silverstone and Alia Shawkat getting a show.