Going Back To The 70s On The Set of ABC’s The Kids Are Alright

Have you seen ABC’s new sitcom – The Kids Are Alright? It airs on Tuesday nights, 8:30/7:30c or can be enjoyed on your favorite streaming app. During my trip to LA for Disney’s Nutcracker Event, I had the opportunity to visit the set of ABC’s The Kids Are Alright and chat with the cast.

The Kids Are Alright - ABC TV
photo: ABC

Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves.

The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary, Caleb Foote as Eddie Cleary, Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary, Jack Gore as Timmy Cleary, Andy Walken as William Cleary and Santino Barnard as Pat Cleary.

Dwan with Caleb Foote

We were given a tour of The Kids Are Alright set by Caleb Foote who plays the second oldest son – Eddie Cleary. He was so energetic and happy to share his work with us. You can tell he is passionate about the show. While on the tour several of the other Cleary boys showed up and they all hugged and were excited to see one another. It is clear the cast has quickly become a second family off screen. 

The Kids Are Alright Cleary Brothers
Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

On Set of ABC’s The Kids Are Alright

For any new TV show, a pilot is made and then everyone waits to see if it gets picked up or not. It’s great news when a show gets picked up by the network and it takes a lot of hard work to recreate the scenes from the pilot on an actual set. 

This house is based on a house that we found for the pilot back in March. I think it was built in 1932.It was very, very small.It was one of the first ranch houses in Studio City and our director loved it. He wanted it to feel crowded when you walk through it. 

Usually when you go to stage, you make it 25% bigger for shooting. We didn’t really do that. 

~ Michael Whetstone – Production Designer

inside Cleary house on set
photo: Michelle from ModernMomLife.com

The show is really all about nostalgia, and when everyone comes in, it’s not the designs [that stand out], it’s, like, oh my god! My grandparents had that.

~ Claudette Didul – Set Decorator

The inside of the house on set probably either reminds you of your parents’ house or your grandparents’ house. A lot of that is due to the research we did at the beginning, and then Claudette’s eye for detail. You’ll see layers and layers of encyclopedias and games. Every single thing has what we like to call a proof of authenticity. Nothing hits this set that’s not of the right era, Claudette goes through Sears catalogs.

~ Michael Whetstone

photo: Michelle from ModernMomLife.com

My grandparents totally had these spoons!

We do hit situations, though, where we have a lot of gags in the episodes.And we have to duplicate things.So sometimes it’s hard to find period, duplicated light fixtures and stuff like that.So we do have to cheat.You know, we’ll run to Target, perhaps, to get something. Lampshades aren’t always vintage because a lot of times, 50 years later, they’re falling apart.

We actually lucked out with a couple of estate sales.We literally took the whole living room drapery right out of the house as is, and it is so fragile that I couldn’t get it dry cleaned.

~ Claudette Didul

Bloggers with Tim Doyle
photo: Coralie – https://lovebugsandpostcards.com

When you watch The Kids Are Alright and realize it is based in the 1970s and wonder why the family’s house is mostly decorated with furniture from the 60’s, it is a play on the fact the family is so large with so many children they cannot afford to buy updated furniture. The story is as realistic to the life of Showrunner and Executive Producer Tim Doyle’s family as possible.

After our tour inside the house on The Kids Are Alright set, we ventured out to their backyard. They have two backyards – one for viewing from the windows in the house at all angles that is filled with fake trees and spray painted grass and a second real living backyard where they shoot scenes.

The Kids Are Alright backyard set

The Cleary's treehouse

We got to see the crew hard at work preparing for the next round of filming. They test the scene walk-thru before bringing in the actors. It was pretty neat to witness.

filming scene in The Kids Are Alright
photo: Coralie – https://lovebugsandpostcards.com
set of The Kids Are Alright
photo: Coralie – https://lovebugsandpostcards.com

It was such a pleasure to meet the cast and crew working hard to put out this hilarious family-friendly show on ABC. Having a large family myself, it has been relatable to watch each week.

Bloggers with The Cleary Family
photo: Coralie – https://lovebugsandpostcards.com

The Kids Are Alright – Peggy’s Day Out

“Peggy’s Day Out” – To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog on “The Kids Are Alright,” TUESDAY, NOV. 13 (8:31-9:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand.

Will you tune in tonight? Tweet with me and tell me what you think! #TheKidsAreAlright

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