By Zach Johnson
Parenting is no joke… but ABC’s new family sitcom United We Fall is full of ’em!
The heartwarming and hilarious series, premiering with back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, July 15, at 8 p.m. ET, follows the trials and tribulations of Bill Ryan (Will Sasso) and Jo Rodriguez (Christina Vidal Mitchell), parents of two young kids, as they try to make it day to day as a functioning family. Bill’s judgmental live-in mother, Sandy Ryan (Jane Curtin), and Jo’s large Latinx Catholic family never mince words as they criticize the couple, but Bill and Jo always have each other’s backs. Together, they stand united against other parents, coaches, co-workers, doctors, specialists, teachers… and, of course, their own kids.
“I think America’s just going to relate to Bill and Jo a lot, because they’re not perfect by any means,” says Guillermo Diaz, who plays Jo’s brother, Chuy Rodriguez. “Even my character thinks he’s perfect, but he’s so not. In fact, at first, I didn’t see myself in the role, because he’s a very conservative dad—a religious, Type A personality. Very judgmental.” And yet, it was a role Diaz couldn’t pass up. “I was scared about filming in front of a live audience,” he says, “but the script is so good that I was like, ‘I can’t say no.’ And here I am!”
Created by Julius “Goldy” Sharpe, who wrote and executive produced the pilot, United We Fall is filled with as much heart as it is humor. Says Vidal Mitchell, “As I was watching playback, I was like, ‘This gives me that warm hug feeling of those shows I grew up on.’” The original series joins the network’s iconic family comedy brand, which includes two of TV’s top four comedies: The Conners and The Goldbergs. “ABC knows how to do family comedies better than anyone else,” says Sasso, “so we feel like we’re in really good hands.”
United We Fall will also introduce viewers to the adorable Ella Grace Helton, who makes her television debut as the couple’s daughter, Emily Ryan. “It’s really fun! I like it a lot,” she says. “Will’s very funny and Christina is nice and pretty—and she’s always fun to play with!”
Off-camera, the cast has formed their own version of a family. “Ella calls us mom and dad, so…” Sasso jokes. “But it’s interesting. When you’re working with a kid you end up rallying around the child to make sure it’s fun for them. So, in a way, it reminds us to have fun, too.”