Watch it for...
An honest, darkly comedic portrayal of a couple trying to take care of their children, themselves, and their aging parents without imploding.
Breeders is a semi-autobiographical series originated by Martin Freeman (who you may recognize as Dr. Watson from Sherlock) about a London couple, Paul and Ally, trying to balance their relationship and careers while parenting their two children and overseeing care for their own respective parents. Unlike a typical sitcom, Breeders doesn’t shy away from the raw truth that being responsible for yourself and others can lead to resentment, frustration, and occasional misery. Though there is no idealization of the interpersonal relationships among the family members, friends, and colleagues that make up the show’s characters, the resulting dark humor is cathartic and bittersweet for viewers facing the same situations and struggles.
One of my grandmother’s favorite sayings was: “Raising children can be like getting pecked to death by a duck.” By the time I understood what she meant, it was too late for me to tell her she was right. Each episode of Breeders has reminded me of the sentiment behind my grandmother’s expression as well as the fact that, much of the time, I’m not the invulnerable and duck-proof mom, wife, professional, daughter, or friend that I imagine myself to be. Breeders is a series that honestly, comically, and thankfully affirms that a messy life, job, marriage, and family is normal! It’s a relief to watch.
Breeders has managed to keep pace with relevant world events and contemporary social dilemmas across its three seasons while maintaining both warmth and edge. Ally’s character in particular grapples with the transition and effects of menopause, the emotional price for her family in pursuing her personal goals, and active risks to her son’s mental health. This series reveals brave moments, painful flaws, loving acts, and inflicted hurts among all its characters, regardless of their generation.