Mike (Patrick Warburton, Seinfeld) and Martina Moore (Carrie Preston, The Good Wife) want to be left alone in their empty nest, and I want that for them, too.

Sadly, their new NBC series, Crowded, isn't going to make that possible.

Created by Suzanne Martin (Hot in Cleveland), whose own daughters returned home to live after college, Crowded quickly refills the Moores' vacated bedrooms when daughters Stella (Mia Serafino) and Shea (Miranda Cosgrove, iCarly) land back on their parents' doorstep, unexpectedly and nearly simultaneously, in Tuesday's premiere at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Because no one in a sitcom ever phones or texts ahead.

Their returns, one propelled by a breakup, the other by a job loss, quickly - and by quickly I mean instantly - lead Mike's father, Bob (Stacy Keach), and stepmother, Alice (Carlease Burke), to jettison their own plans to move to Florida so they can be available to "help" with their granddaughters.

And by help they mean, of course, walking in and out of their son and daughter-in-law's home at odd moments, as sitcom relatives (and nosy neighbors) do.

Do I really need to tell you that hilarity does not ensue?

Crowded - after the two-episode premiere Tuesday it moves to its regular time of 9:30 p.m. Sunday on March 20 - undeniably touches on a demographic trend, but it's a trend built on lots of individual circumstances, and it hardly merits the one-size-fits-all suggestion that millennials have been spoiled by their parents and that's why so many of them won't leave.

In the three episodes I've seen, Stella, in particular, does nothing to live down that stereotype, while the apparently brilliant Shea remains in her own pigeonhole, that of socially backward geek.

Preston and Warburton have enough genuine chemistry to make me wish Crowded were a show about middle-age people trying to figure out who they are beyond parents, instead of one about parents trying to find a quiet place to fool around where their annoying children won't interrupt them.

A comedy like that might not fly in demo-driven broadcast TV, but at least it wouldn't be a glaring insult to the younger viewers advertisers might be hoping to reach.


@elgray ph.ly/EllenGray