Fox’s Single Dads Strives to Make the Web-to-TV Leap

fox single dads

Were your favorite parts of The Hangover the parts where Zach Galifianakis tended to baby “Carlos”? Well, that probably makes you the target demographic for Single Dads, a Fox International web series that launched its first season on Hulu in December.

Created by Pete Karinen and Brian Sacca, the series depicts short vignettes from the lives of Pete (Karinen) and Brian (Sacca), two dudes who haven’t let their babies cramp their dude style. There’s no hint as to why Pete and Brian are taking on parenthood solo, no context provided to their lives. But once you accept the premise, Single Dads makes for light, enjoyable fare.

Karinen and Sacca’s past online adventures include FCU: Fact Checkers Unit, an independent pilot initially released in 2007, then relaunched in 2010 as a branded series for NBC. And while Single Dads, frankly, isn’t quite as funny as those past efforts, the show pulled a good solid laugh or two out of me every episode, due less to the show’s writing and more to the sharp timing of Karinen and Sacca.

The problem, honestly, is that there’s almost something too easy about this material, and the writing never really pushes beyond that level. The comedy ranges from the guys being confused as a gay couple to the guys dealing with a particularly heinous dirty diaper; the series’s best episodes, ultimately, are the most unrealistic — whether it be Pete and Brian engaging in the world’s least-safe stroller contest or Pete Jr.’s grandpa giving him a samurai sword for his birthday.

Although the show is being produced under the Fox International Channels banner, the model is similar to that used by another Fox division, 15 Gigs — that being launch short-form content online as a test case for a potential move to television.

“Releasing Single Dads on Hulu is part of our plan to further develop this project into a TV series. We believe in the series’ long form potential and leave the final decision up to the viewers. If they like it and want more, we’ll make it happen,” Fox International SVP Sharon Tal Yguado said in the show’s initial announcement.

“Developing two seasons for the web allows us to test ideas and talents in an organic way and lets real viewers, instead of development executives, decide on the future of a show,” she added in an email follow-up. “Remember, The Simpsons also started as shorts!”

This, then, leads to a distribution model of “all at once” — 12 episodes of the first season debuted in December (well, technically 11, as Episode 6 was taken off Hulu due to rights issues), and the second season will drop on Feb. 1.

Could Single Dads become another Simpsons? There’s potential here, certainly — Karinen and Sacca are undoubtedly funny, and everyone loves babies. The key would be to push beyond the poop jokes and comic misunderstandings, and tell some stories.

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