Created by Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, and Martin Freeman, Breeders is a comedic look at the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Premiering on Sky One in March 2020, the series follows two parents (Freeman and Daisy Haggard) who struggle with parenthood, exploring the paradox that every parent knows but never admits: you would willingly die for your children, but quite often you also want to kill them.
Overall Season Rating:
I first heard about this series when I saw an advert for it which said: “A reminder that it’s okay to swear at your kids sometimes.” I was in.
Partially based on Freeman’s own experience as a parent, Breeders is a painfully honest and non-judgemental, although hugely dramatised, look at how parenthood is often very messy.
There’s a lot of dry British humour and it’s not something that everybody will relate to. It’s also very exaggerated as Freeman’s character, Paul, is the extreme of a “parent behaving badly”. He does come across as a little too aggressive at times, but most parents will be happy to admit that: “I would die for those kids. But often, I also want to kill them.”
The first few episodes had me laughing constantly, as I nodded to my husband that, yes, that was me. And that’s what’s so funny about this series, as it makes you feel better to know that you aren’t alone in your everyday battles with stubborn children. Paul and Ally certainly aren’t bad parents, they’re just stressed out and we are being shown them at their worst, but there’s something comforting in seeing another parent having a breakdown.
However, the series did wander away from the concept more and more towards the end. Whilst I loved Michael McKean‘s role, a lot of focus was soon put on him, with a somewhat unnecessary shocker added in, and more time spent on the parents getting married instead of the family unit. Whilst this gave the characters more personality, these subplots didn’t have as much meaning and often deterred my interest rather than engage me.
Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard are both excellent, though, and I’d definitely like to see more of them. I just want to see more of them as a family, fighting the tantrums in the supermarket, having a neverending argument about wearing the wrong socks, and the smallest things that can turn your day into a war zone that are the reason that you swear at your children.