ABC is working with writer Gregg Mettler and executive producer Aaron Kaplan to develop a new sitcom about a boy growing up surrounded by puppets. The series, as yet untitled, will draw on Mettler’s own experiences growing up with a puppeteer mother and blues musician father. It will explore universal coming-of-age milestones like when your baby done left you, or feeling sibling rivalry toward an inanimate piece of dead-eyed felt.

Mettler’s most recent work for ABC was last year’s sports comedy Back In The Game, which was canceled after critics declared it “trite and hackneyed,” and “insufficiently full of creepy, constantly leering puppets.” Mettler’s new series is being described as “Malcolm In the Middle meets The Middle”—a clever turn of phrase, flawed only in that it omits the useful descriptive phrases “puppets,” “puppet surrogate siblings,” and “half-hour single-camera nightmare cavalcade.”