• Publication date: April 24, 2009

Dysfunctional But Dedicated Not Your Traditional Family Sitcom

The Crumbs are by no means your traditional family. The youngest son, depicted by former �Wonder Years� star Fred Savage is a closeted homosexual moving back in with his mother after a failed attempt at Hollywood stardom. His mother, played by Jane Curtin of �Saturday Night Live� and �Kate and Allie� fame suffers from psychiatric problems, triggered by discovering her husband�s extramarital affairs.

The Crumbs are by no means your traditional family. The youngest son, depicted by former �Wonder Years� star Fred Savage is a closeted homosexual moving back in with his mother after a failed attempt at Hollywood stardom. His mother, played by Jane Curtin of �Saturday Night Live� and �Kate and Allie� fame suffers from psychiatric problems, triggered by discovering her husband�s extramarital affairs. That leaves the father, Billy (William Devane), who is expecting the birth of a newborn by his mistress.

Mitch (Fred Savage), the family�s youngest and smartest returns home from California partially out of failure but mostly to look after his mentally ill mother, Suzanne (Jane Curtin). However Mitch�s brother, Jody (Eddie McClintock) believes he has ulterior motives; namely, he believes that Mitch intends to transform the Crumbs� train wreck of a family into a marketable movie script. Whether this assumption is actually true we are not sure.

Suzanne fights her own battles throughout the series. To avenge ex-husband Billy�s soon to arrive baby, she attempts to adopt a child from the Ukraine. She attends a support group for recently divorced women, only to find it incredibly dull and decides to sit in on drug addiction therapy instead. That would be fine, except Suzanne has no drug problem. Her mental illness becomes further pronounced when she insists on celebrating Christmas four months after December, since she missed it while institutionalized.

A continuing theme in the show is Mitch�s sexual confusion. At one point he debates how to inform his family of his homosexuality, but weeks later becomes attracted to a girl and dates her. Meanwhile the children work with their father at the family restaurant, which worries Suzanne who believes Billy is attempting to steal Jody and Mitch from her. Later on in the season, despite Suzanne�s battle with mental illness, she begins working again and gains hopes of winning back her ex-husband.

With all that said, �Crumbs� is still a comedy sitcom. While its subject matter is on some levels undeniably grim, it exemplifies people�s ability to make the best of a bad situation and persevere. In that sense it follows in the tradition �Roseanne,� a depiction of lower-middle class life and all its woes. To a lesser degree it is reminiscent of �Married With Children,� though a bit less sarcastic and demented. In the end the message is that no matter what happens, we can always laugh.