The Harper House on Paramount+, a Zany Adult Animated Sitcom About an Upper-Class Family That’s Movin’ on Down

I’m sufficiently old to recollect when primetime adult-oriented animated sequence had been so novel, many people watched and praised Family Guy indiscriminately (and doubtless regretted it later). Now, such issues are widespread sufficient that Paramount+’s The Harper Home is simply one other one thrown on high of the pile — which implies it has to work more durable to differentiate itself among the many many wacky-family sitcoms by delivering the humorous scorching and quick. Let’s see if it succeeds.

Opening Shot: Reside your classic desires on this beautiful Victorian-era residence that’s a handyman’s delight! Snuggled in cozy on a block that’s near somewhat little bit of all the things, together with wildlife, this basic two-story is chock-full of character and simply ready for a household to make all of it its personal!

The Gist: The Harpers pull up in entrance of the home pulling a trailer piled with their belongings. Debbie (voice of Rhea Seehorn) is at all times sporting shorts, however she wears the pants. Freddie (Jason Lee) is a stay-at-home dad, and his mustache and silly bowl reduce and fannypack simply scream MILLENNIAL. Their children are Todd (Ryan Flynn), displaying shades of Eddie Munster, and his fraternal twin sis Ollie (Tatiana Maslany), perpetually sporting a bucket hat. They used to stay among the many personal colleges and nation golf equipment of the South Aspect of River Creek, however now they’re contemporary to the multiethnic North Aspect. Debbie misplaced her job as an engineer, prompting the transfer, however she and Freddie haven’t instructed the children the reality but. No, Todd and Ollie consider the reasonably dilapidated, knickknack-cluttered home bequeathed to them by Aunt Maggie is their “summer time residence.” Heaps of mud adorn the ceiling followers. Possums are going full Gray Gardens within the crawlspace. Aunt Maggie’s shriveled corpse lies in one of many beds, sporting S&M cuffs. Neat!

Debbie’s briefly employed by her “Daddy Dan” at his awning store, the place her sister exhibits as much as rub Debbie’s face in her failures. It’s gotten so unhealthy, Debbie’s father disinvites them from watching Wrestlemonium 40 on the nation membership as a result of they’re now not members. Sure, the Harpers are a Wrestling Household. Pray for them. On her means residence, she meets her Vietnamese neighbors, who run a comfort retailer. She buys Paper Hat booze with some wadded-up singles and a handful of cash, as a result of she will’t afford the top-shelf stuff anymore. The idea of not watching their beloved wrestling pay-per-view would go away the Harper household crestfallen if Debbie didn’t have a convoluted plan to steal cable by working a line all the way in which throughout city to the nation membership, which is one thing any mom would do for her household.

In the meantime, Freddie calls the authorities to handle the physique. An exterminator quotes him $300, so his various possum answer is to load the crawlspace with mothballs, which after all are so odiferous, everybody will get excessive because the moon. The Harpers invite a few of their new neighbors over, and Freddie so overeagerly greets the Black household, led by dad Gbenge (Gary Anthony Williams), he’s accused of “treating them like a trophy.” After all, Debbie’s illicit cable-TV thievery backfires, inflicting a citywide blackout, so no Wrestlemonium for them. Too unhealthy, as a result of in the event that they nonetheless lived of their previous neighborhood, they’d be on the nation membership, the place the mills hum and all of the white individuals get to look at grown males in tights pretend-fight one another. Life is ache.

Paramount Plus' The Harper House
Picture: Paramount+

What Exhibits Will It Remind You Of? The Harper Home’s wacky-family shenanigans is an organized marriage of Household Man’s edgy crassness and Bob’s Burgers’ goofy sweetness.

Our Take: When the Harper household inevitably powwows to beat the situational hurdles offered on this episode, their rallying cry is “Aaannnnnndd BREAK BALLS!” That neatly sums up their dynamic — this household is in it collectively for the lengthy haul, however any sentiment might be reduce with astringent. Debbie is gregarious and lets all of it hang around, even when it’s all not significantly good. Freddie is a noodle bending to the whims of his spouse’s sauciness. Todd is an aloof snob. Ollie is a full-blown weirdo (within the second episode, she makes a pet out of a tick and lets it gorge on her blood). It’s them in opposition to the world.

This isn’t precisely an unique idea, however The Harper Home may find yourself getting by on its strong enthusiasm. Which is a means of claiming that it delivers simply sufficient laughs — a pair large ones, loads of amused smirks — to beat its familiarities and weaknesses. Debbie is a loveable, sturdy lukewarm-mess with an infectious DILLIGAF perspective, like a neo-femme Homer Simpson with the smarts to steadiness out her loose-nuttiness; she’s complicated and humorous sufficient to anchor the sequence. Visually, the animation is cheery however vague; tonally, the writing indulges its share of ribaldry and profanity, and dabbles in social satire that hasn’t fairly set its hook but. These of us who really feel left behind by Household Man’s vulgarity and tiresome rapid-fire cutaway gags could discover solace in The Harper Home. It might additionally scratch itches till the completely fantastic Bob’s Burgers returns — or perhaps even for King of the Hill followers who nonetheless really feel the empty gap of its absence.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None within the first episode, though it’s closely implied that expensive previous Aunt Maggie was far kinkier than anybody ever knew.

Parting Shot: The digital camera zooms out of the previous home and we watch via the entrance door because the Harpers lovingly enact their very own Wrestlemonium on the ground.

Sleeper Star: Roberta Colindrez voices Debbie’s shut good friend Tonya, who exhibits a marked capability to chop via the crap and ship a withering one-liner.

Most Pilot-y Line: Todd sums up the idea: “This slide from upper-middle-class to lower-middle class is a ache within the ass.”

Our Name: STREAM IT. The Harper Home has loads of curb enchantment: Goofy characters, real-life sentiment, a mildly acidic tone. It in all probability received’t be the perfect home on the block, nevertheless it’s humorous sufficient to warrant taking in a number of extra episodes.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic primarily based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream The Harper House on Paramount+ | Stream It or Skip It?


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