Do you work to live or live to work? It's a heavy question and one that can cause you to reconsider your priorities in life.
It can also, however, be the subject of a raucous sitcom, as evidenced by TV Land's latest foray into original programming with "Retired at 35," premiering Wednesday, Jan. 19.
At 35, David (Johnathan McClain) is a successful but stressed-out businessman living in New York. On a visit to his parents' Florida retirement community, he abruptly decides it's time to re-evaluate his priorities, move back in with his mom and dad (George Segal, Jessica Walter) and start living the good life now instead of waiting until he's too old to enjoy it.
But as soon as he does, his mother bolts, abandoning the two men to each other as they fall into a new routine, get reacquainted and start to learn new and not always pleasant things about each other.
Segal ("Just Shoot Me!") says the script for the pilot made him laugh out loud, an occurrence he calls "as rare as hen's teeth." He also liked how the adult humor -- a nude painting here, a toilet scene there -- meshed with the otherwise squeaky-clean format.
"(It's all) under the guise of being an old-fashioned, familiar sitcom," he says. "Pretty seditious, huh? That's what drew me to it, because it was cutting-edge in terms of subject matter and the way it's treated. And yet, you always have the comfort of the old-fashioned sitcom."
Just as it did in assembling the "Hot in Cleveland" cast, TV Land isn't skimping on talent here either, enlisting Walter ("Arrested Development"), Christine Ebersole ("Royal Pains") as the sexy mother of David's childhood crush, and veteran character actor George Wyner ("Hill Street Blues") as Segal's good-time buddy.
"The people are so experienced," Segal says, "and the writers they got together are ridiculously good -- all of them. There's nothing small-time about this; it is the big time.
I much prefer it to NBC, for example, which is rule by committee. (TV Land President) Larry Jones figures, you pick the right people and let them go. There's a great sense of experimentation. We try stuff that I don't think has been tried before."
'Retired at 35': Johnathan McClain trades rat race for dad drama
Johnathan McClain, Jessica Walter and George Segal (from left)
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