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What You Need to Know About The Moodys

Fox's new six-episode holiday event series unspools over three nights this week.
  • Francois Arnaud, Elizabeth Perkins, Denis Leary, Chelsea Frei, Jay Baruchel star in The Moodys. (Photo: FOX)
    Francois Arnaud, Elizabeth Perkins, Denis Leary, Chelsea Frei, Jay Baruchel star in The Moodys. (Photo: FOX)

    FOX rings in December and the holiday TV season this week with a new holiday-themed six-episode event series called The Moodys. Starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins, it's a comedy about an irritable married couple and their three adult children, who reunite with the rest of their highly dysfunctional family for the holidays. Based on the Australian series The Moodys Christmas, the show will air six episodes over the course of three nights, constituting a week-long sprint that promises to have Christmas leaking from your eyeballs. In the tradition of seasonal classics like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and another Denis Leary project, The Ref, The Moodys looks to be leaning on the the "Hell is other people" interpretation of seasonal family cheer. Packed with tree-trimming, air rifles, stolen zambonis, and plenty of liquor, these six episodes may just be the comedic highlight of Christmas 2019.

    Here's what you need to know before diving into tonight's premiere:

    It's Australian for "Christmas"

    Based on the 2014 Australian series created by Trent O'Donnell and Phil Lloyd, the American version of The Mooodys sets its squabbling family members in middle-class Chicago, begging comparisons to Showtime's Shameless (itself an import of a long-running British series), although The Moodys is more overtly a sitcom.

    In the Aussie series, the Moody family Christmas celebration was stretched out over the course of six consecutive Christmases. It's not clear whether that's the format the FOX series will take.

    It will Be Finished Within a Week

    If you like what you see with the back-to-back episodes airing tonight, don't get complacent. The remaining six episodes will air next Monday, December 9th, and Tuesday, December 10th, with back-to-back episodes at 9:00 PM each night. It's a tight holiday season, people! This series is priced to move.

    Who's Who in the Cast

    Here's where it gets really exciting, as The Moodys features an excellent cast :

    • Denis Leary as Sean Moody Sr. You know Leary from both television and the movies. He earned two Emmy nominations for acting and one for writing for his FX series Rescue Me, where he played a New York City firefighter dealing with PTSD after 9/11. He earned a fourth Emmy nomination for the HBO film Recount. He's also appeared in films like Wag the Dog, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Amazing Spider-Man (the Andrew Garfield series). And if your memory stretches back far enough, he's the angry, smoking comedian from those MTV bumpers, okay?!
    • Elizabeth Perkins as Ann Moody. The matriarch of the Moody family isn't afraid to break a few ornaments to get people's attention. It's a fun role for Perkins, who's been an underrated film and TV presence for decades now. Just last year she was stealing scenes from the likes of Amy Adams in Sharp Objects. She spent several seasons playing Mary-Louise Parker's bitter antagonist Celia on Weeds. And in what is still her best-known role, she trampolined with gleeful abandon as the love interest to Tom Hanks' 12-year-old boy in Big.
    • Jay Baruchel as Sean Moody Jr. The family's oldest and least-accomplished child, still living at home, is played by the wonderfully funny Jay Baruchel, starring as a main cast member in a FOX series for the first time since the 2001 Judd Apatow series Undeclared. Since that breakthrough, Baruchel has appeared in movies like Million Dollar Baby, Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder, and Goon, which he wrote, as well as the sequel, which he directed. He's also the voice of Hiccup in the How to Train Your Dragon films.
    • Francois Arnaud as Dan Moody. Playing the youngest Moody child is French-Canadian actor Francois Arnaud, whois best known for his role in Showtime's The Borgias. He's also been in films like I Killed My Mother for director Xavier Dolan and TV shows like UnREAL, Blindspot, and Schitt's Creek. Most recently, he starred on NBC's Midnight, Texas.
    • Chelsea Frei as Bridget Moody. The middle Moody child is  played by relative unknown Chelsea Frei, whose credits include the Rosanna Arquette TV series Sideswiped and the Lifetime TV movie Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter, where she played the title role of Victoria Gotti.

    Will you be watching The Moodys? Talk about it in our forums.

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: The Moodys, FOX, Denis Leary, Elizabeth Perkins, Jay Baruchel