Follow TV Tropes


Series / Home Economics

Go To

Home Economics is a single-camera comedy that premiered on ABC in 2021. It stars Topher Grace, Caitlin McGee, and Jimmy Tatro.

The series follows the lives of the three Hayworth siblings, who have varying levels of financial security, as they try to rebuild their close childhood relationship after growing apart over the years. They are:

  • Tom, the eldest child. He's a novelist who wrote a best-seller, but is struggling to write a suitable follow up. This lack of productivity means his family's finances are becoming strained, which only worsens his neuroses. He's married to Marina, a lawyer, and they have three children.
  • Sarah, the middle child. She's a child therapist who recently lost her job at the beginning of the series. As she'd dedicated her life to social work, she's always barely made ends meet and her lack of employment puts her and her family in an even more precarious situation. She's married to Denise, a teacher, and they have two children.
  • Connor, the youngest child. He's an entrepreneur who's become fabulously wealthy thanks to savvy investing. After several years of living away from his family, he's recently moved to San Francisco to be closer to his siblings. He is divorced and has one daughter.

Cancelled after 3 seasons.

This series provides examples of:

  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: Kelvin is accident prone, thus familiar enough with the hospital that he can direct a new doctor to his preferred vending machine.
  • Actor Allusion: Tom is apparently not a fan of Spider-Man.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Sarah and Denise already have Shamiah and Kelvin, whom they fostered before adopting, but Denise eventually says she wishes to become pregnant.
  • Altar the Speed: Tom and Marina's wedding is postponed after the priest dies before beginning the ceremony, so they have to have the reception first while a new priest is found. By the time they do, they have ten minutes before another event needs the venue, so the ceremony has to be rushed.
  • Amicable Exes: Connor and his ex-wife Emily are making an effort to be friendly, but realize that there's a reason they got divorced and decide not to force a friendship too quickly out of fear that it will irreparably harm the relationship they do have.
  • The Aristocrats: Lupe tells a version of the joke offscreen during a talent show, disturbing everyone listening.
  • Big Fancy House: Connor lives in a fabulous mansion with a beautiful view of San Francisco Bay. He likes to point out that the house used to belong to Matt Damon.
  • Broke Episode: In "Santa Suit Rental, $25 Per Day", Connor loses a substancial amount of money on a failed venture, and for the first time has to worry about how much he spends. Downplayed in that he still has a lot of money (when he shows the others how much, they remark that it's the same amount he just lost); he's actually more worried that he lost his "business mojo".
  • Butt-Monkey: Tom. Not an episode goes by without him suffering some kind of social embarrassment or slapstick mishap.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • "Secret Santa Gift, $25 Limit", where the Hayworths exchange gifts, but not without the usual family drama.
    • "Santa Suit Rental, $25 Per Day", where the family try to cheer up Connor after a rare financial setback.
  • Cool Car: Connor has a garage full of them. Tom "borrows" a Lotus for a date night with Marina.
  • Cool Uncle: The younger Hayworth generation love Connor because he can afford lots of cool toys and activities.
  • Company Cross References:
    • "Box of King-Size Candy Bars, $48.99" takes advantage of the fact that ABC and Marvel share Disney as a parent company by having the Hayworths dress up as various characters from the MCU and blaring the Avengers theme at various moments.
    • "Speeding Ticket, $180" has Sarah and Denise make an attempt at watching Bachelor In Paradise and even mention what night it runs on ABC.
  • Debt Detester: Tom in "Secret Santa Gift, $25 Limit" wants to pay off the loan Connor gave him, while Connor considers it a gift and couldn't care less if Tom paid him back or not. Eventually, Connor gets sick of Tom and rips up his checks out of spite.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "Novel Signed by Author, $22.19" Tom meets Harmony, who comes off as a Loony Fan who drove all the way from Colorado and grew up alone with her single mother Christine. As Tom reads from his book and gets to the part where his father spent long days in Colorado with a colleague named Chris, he puts two and two together and realizes that Harmony is his half-sister.
  • First-World Problems: The crux of "Santa Suit Rental, $25 Per Day". When Connor loses a huge amount in a botched windfarm (It was quite literally blown into the ocean), he mopes around acting like he's broke. When the family inquires how much he's got left, he reveals he's still incredibly rich and the family's sympathy instantly evaporates.
  • Granola Girl: Sarah and Denise are dedicated to maintaining a bohemian lifestyle and trying to make a living in ways that will give back to the community.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • "Box of King-Size Candy Bars, $48.99", where the Hayworths go trick or treating with their kids as The Avengers (2012).
    • "Novel Signed by Author, $22.19", where Tom holds a book reading that takes a scary turn when he meets an obsessed fan, while the kids dress as characters from Encanto, except for Shamiah who dresses like an anime character to please her boyfriend.
  • Hidden Depths: Connor is a lot more sensitive and perceptive than his siblings give him credit for. Sarah is shocked when she learns that her children actually turn to him for life advice rather than her or Denise.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Sarah gets a job interview at Gretchen's absurdly expensive private school but tanks it despite needing the job and income because she can't help but speak out about how she finds such institutions absurd when there are countless poor children with no access to any education at all.
    • When Tom receives a windfall, he's intent to use it to repay Connor as soon as possible even as Connor says there's no need and Marina points out that they have lots of urgent repairs and upkeep they need to pay for at home. Connor resorts to Loophole Abusenote  to help Tom out without hurting his brother's pride too much.
  • In Defence Of Storytelling: In "Emergency Preparedness Kit, $129.99", Tom feels like he's useless in a crisis when a power outage traps them in Connor's home. But when the kids' mobile devices go dead, he tells them a story based on the day's events to calm them down, making them realize that his abilities as a storyteller are valued.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title features an object that plays a part in the plot and how much it costs.
  • Internal Reveal: In the first season finale, Tom accidentally sends his manuscript to Sarah and Connor, who are not pleased by how they are portrayed.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In "Mango THC Gummies, $18", Marina buys two marihuana gummies for her and Tom, but when Tom refuses his, she takes both. Turns out she took four times the recommended dose of half a gummi, and spends the rest of the episode high as a kite.
  • Lethal Chef: Marina is an awful cook, so much so that the entire family reacts in fear and starts thinking up excuses when she announces that she's going to cook a special dinner for everyone.
  • Locked in a Room:
    • In "Opus Cabernet, 2015, $500", the Hayworths end up locked inside Connor's wine cellar, which used to be a panic room. They need their parents to find the combination, but the eldest Hayworths decide to hold on for a while and enjoy the peace and quiet while their kids are locked in.
    • In "Ticket to Space, $1 Million", Tom and Marina both end up stuck in their attic, she when the desk she was moving gets stuck on the doorway, he when he falls through the roof and ends up dangling on the ceiling.
    • In "Emergency Preparedness Kit, $129.99", a power outage disables the front gate to Connor's home, and with the manual release rusted shut, the family is unable to leave. Eventually, Connor decides to simply ram through the gate with one of his cars; the power comes on just then, but Connor's foot is already on the accelerator and doesn't stop.
  • Lonely Rich Kid:
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Connor strikes a relationship with Denise's sister JoJo, which they keep secret mostly because they're afraid of how Denise would react.
  • The Narrator: Tom provides a brief opening narration for each episode as if he were reading a snippet from his new book. He stops near the end of the second season, when he's finished writing.
  • Power Outage Plot: In "Emergency Preparedness Kit, $129.99", an earthquake causes a blackout, leaving everyone stranded at Connor's house because the hand release for the front gate is rusted shut. Marina had taken classes in emergency preparedness, which makes Tom feel useless, while Connor starts to question how he lives his life, since all his expensive electronic devices have been rendered useless.
  • Pregnancy Scare: In "Pregnancy Test, $12.98", Marina feels sick at dinner and suspects that it might mean she's pregnant. She and Tom (who figures it out when Marina refuses a glass of wine) freak out because they can't handle another mouth to feed, but in the end, decide to accept whatever comes. When it turns out to be a false alarm, they are ecstatic and do a Happy Dance.
  • Primal Scene: Inverted on "Sushi for Twelve, $482 Plus Delivery", when Tom's parents catch him and Marina attempting to have sex.
  • Product Placement: "Mickey Ears, $19.99" is one big commercial for Disneyland Resort.
  • Rich Sibling, Poor Sibling: The show's premise is that three siblings are in different financial straits: Tom is a middle-class author married to a lawyer, his sister Sarah is a recently-fired social worker married to a teacher (poor), and their younger brother Connor is a wealthy entrepreneur.
  • School Play: Sarah writes and directs a play for Gretchen's school, an ambitious three-and-a-half hour musical about great women in history.
  • Servile Snarker: Lupe, Connor's housekeeper, dishes out plenty of side eye and sly comments in response to the Hayworth's shenanigans. She also outright messes with Tom.
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: Sarah's play in "Mango THC Gummmies, $18" is almost a disaster, from kids getting Performance Anxiety to hangry parents due to lack of snacks.
  • Show Within a Show: Influencer Lagoon, a reality competition show that JoJo auditioned for and is debating participating in on the episode "Keg of Light Beer, $180". Fake promos for it played during The Bachelor in the days before this episode aired, fooling many viewers into thinking it was a real show.
  • Sitting on the Roof: As kids, the Hayworths used to sit on the roof to talk about things. In "Tickets to Space, $1 Million", Tom sits on the roof of his house with Connor to talk about his decision to go into space. Tom ends up breaking through the roof and getting stuck after being told his novel may not be released due to the publisher going bankrupt.
  • Spicy Latina: Averted with the mild-mannered Marina, but played straight with Sofia, the Puerto Rican celebrity chef that hires Tom to ghostwrite her memoir.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Connor spends lavishly to provide Gretchen with a fun childhood and she's eager to share what she has with her cousins.
  • Spooky Séance: In "Poker Game, $800 Buy-in", Marina's daughter thinks she heard a ghost, so Denise performs a ceremony to free the spirit. Marina just rolls her eyes at it all, until she hears strange noises coming from inside the house, which turn out to be from a flock of bats living inside their attic.
  • Thanksgiving Episode:
    • "Two Thousand Pounds of Sand, $240" has the Hayworths spending Thanksgiving at Connor's, where he's set up a Caribbean themed party.
    • "Wheel of Vegan Brie, $24" has the Hayworths celebrating Thanksgiving with Harmony, welcoming her into the family.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: By the end of "Melatonin 10Mg, $14.99", both Sarah and Tom have moved their families into Connor's house while their homes are under repair. The following episode, "Sushi for Twelve, $482 Plus Delivery", has Connor contending with having no room in his house, which is aggravated when their parents come to stay for a visit.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Lampshaded in "Giant Jenga, $120" when Connor asks Tom why he's talking like he's narrating a book.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Connor is more than happy to treat his family to expensive items and activities. This makes Tom and Sarah uncomfortable, however, as there's no way they can provide anything remotely similar.
  • Vacation Episode: The season three premiere, "Mickey Ears, $19.99" has Connor take the entire family to Disneyland so he can get Tom at "peak happiness" so he can tell him he bought the company publishing his book.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Pregnancy Test, $12.98", in which Connor and JoJo decide to spend an intimate night in, but are interrupted by Emily and Gretchen; while Tom and Sarah take their spouses to a fancy restaurant originally reserved for Connor, where a Pregnancy Scare turns the night into chaos.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Wedding Bouquet, $125" mostly takes place during Tom and Marina's wedding back in 2009.
  • Writer's Block: Tom's initial follow-up to his best seller was making no progress and the few snippets he reads out show that it wasn't very good in the first place.
  • Write What You Know: invoked Tom starts out the series struggling to write a follow up to a best seller. He eventually realizes that his family provides plenty of material for a new book.