The first episode of NBC’s newest sitcom, Extended Family, follows a middle-aged father’s struggle to cover up the death of his daughter’s goldfish. In his anguish, he learns that his ex-wife and co-parent is engaged to the owner of the Boston Celtics.
Naturally, he wonders …how can I score some floor seats?
I’ll let Wyc Grousbeck – real-life owner of the Celtics and a producer of the new show – explain the premise of Extended Family:
“So my wife, Emilia [Fazzalari], and her ex, George [Geyer], had a very amicable divorce a number of years ago, and they did a thing called nesting. That’s when you leave the kids in place, in the family home, and then Mom moves in for a week, and Dad moves in the next week,” he said in an interview with Boston Magazine in November. “I said at one family dinner, ‘This is a sitcom. We’ve got three adults sharing an apartment. Basically, it’s a twisted version of The Brady Bunch or Modern Family.’”
The character based on Grousbeck, Trey Taylor, is played by Donald Faison, of Scrubs fame. In the pilot episode, which aired last week, he finds himself counseling his fiancé’s ex-husband, Jim Kearney (Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men), through the goldfish emergency. The two exchange snarky comments while Taylor’s fiance, Julia Mariano (Abigail Spencer of Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men), who shares two children with Kearney, manages their egos. Hilarity ensues, or so NBC hopes.
Trey met Mariano, a public relations specialist, after insulting redheads in a public rant about the Celtics’ poor performance.
“The Celtics are playing like crap, and if we don’t fix it, we’re going to be the redheaded stepchild of the NBA,” Taylor tells reporters in the pilot.
Mariano then is brought in to manage the owner’s PR blunder, and they hit it off.
Grousbeck, by the way, really did marry the ex-wife of a lifelong Celtics fan. As he outlined in Boston Magazine, her name is Emilia Fazzalari, his is George Geyer. Both join Grousbeck as executive producers of Extended Family.
Fazzalari is Grousbeck’s real-life wife – and the basis for Mariano’s character in the show. She is an entrepreneur and the CEO of tequila company Cincoro, which she co-founded with Grousbeck, Michael Jordan, Wes Eden, and Jeanie Buss – all of whom are owners or former owners of NBA teams. Buss also served as a witness at Fazzalari and Grousbeck’s Las Vegas wedding in 2017.
We don’t get a lot of Celtics content in the first episode of Extended Family. But we do get the sense that Taylor is a spirited and involved owner who isn’t scared of calling out his players publicly.
Taylor even hints at a turnaround for his Celtics team in the last scene of the first episode, saying Mariano and Kearney are his “good luck charms.”
Episode two of Extended Family will air tonight on NBC tonight. If you like sitcoms, you’ll appreciate its cuteness and light-hearted humor. If you don’t, though, you can watch just for the Celtics references.