ABC will soon have a Chinese-American family sitcom under their belt, having just announced that Rick and Morty writer Jessica Gao has landed a deal with the long-standing network. This news also comes right off the heels of ABC’s announcement regarding their upcoming development of another family sitcom, this one headed by actress Kristen Schaal.
This latest family-centered venture from ABC is set to star fictional character Janet Zhao, a Chinese-American woman who, in the midst of her everyday-life, finds out she has been chosen to inherit all of her grandmother’s wealth after her passing. This not only puts Janet in an extremely new financial position, one that she may not even want in the first place, but also means that she is thrown back into the arms of her family. This entails a major problem, however, as Janet has been trying to keep a distance between her and her relatives, something that will no longer be possible.
ABC can be described as the network of the “family sitcom” in 2018, having kept the genre alive and well while other networks have moved away from this once-crucial division of television. ABC has not only kept the genre going, but has also helped to further define its abilities. The “normal-for-television” family dynamic was broken through with programs like Modern Family, which saw characters not typically in American sitcoms within the past few decades -including those in homosexual relationships- as being a family formations that millions could grow excited to follow the lives of. In addition, shows like Black-ish brought viewers’ attention to a much more focused race, and functioned as a completely new aspect of the genre.
Fresh Off The Boat also served as a trailblazer within the category, as sitcoms starring an Asian-American family had not been in production for years prior to the show’s premiere. Having run for four seasons so far, the ABC hit follows the life of an Asian-American family living in Florida during the 90s. The program stars Randall Park, Hudson Yang and Constance Wu, star of the wildly-popular film Crazy Rich Asians, and has proven the ability of a norm-breaking sitcom to garner fans nationwide. Looking to this show and film for inspiration, it is completely understandable as to why ABC is excited to take on yet another family sitcom.
Jessica Gao has just come off of the win of her very first Emmy, which she was awarded for her writing on Adult Swim’s hit program Rick and Morty. She has also written for occasional episodes of Take My Wife, Silicon Valley, and on a more regular basis on The Mighty B!