Thursday, September 23, 2010
Fall TV: New comedies
The pilot gets a lot of laughs out of comparing the three couples, which I don't know how long they'll be able to keep up, but the writing seemed sharp enough and the cast played nicely off each other. But I can't help but feel like Joanna Garcia is just...better than this. She's so natural and likable and just a great actress that I want her to be in something truly great and not just okay, which is what this is. I'm willing to give it a few episodes though.
Jimmy's family is...lower class? His parents had him when they were very young also, and his great-grandmother (Cloris Leachman, in various stages of undress...yes, this is supposed to be funny but is really kind of disturbing) and cousin Mike also live with them. So none of these people are really suited to raise a baby and I guess there's the show?
I do like the cast....Lucas Neff, who I've never seen in anything before, is suitably dim but kind of endearing as Jimmy, Martha Plimpton is pretty great as Jimmy's mom, and I always like Garret Dillahunt. But I have this slight guilty feeling laughing at these characters and this sort of lowbrow humor. This show is from the same creator as My Name is Earl, which had a similar sort of appeal. I lost interest in that show after a few episodes, and it's not hard to imagine the same thing happening here.
The premise is that Will Arnett plays Steve Wilde, a rich, spoiled heir to an oil fortune, who, with the help of his loyal driver, decides to change his life and go after his childhood sweetheart, Emmy (Keri Russell), a humanitarian who has been living in the Amazon jungle with her daughter, Puddle. (Yes, these are clearly the same people who came up with the name Maeby.) Puddle hates the jungle and wants to be a "normal" kid so she and Steve come up with a plan so she and her mom can stay in the States.
I like Will Arnett and think he's really funny, but he just doesn't really work as a romantic lead. And while Keri Russell is still gorgeous and does fine with what she's given, Emmy isn't very relatable either, and I didn't find any reasons to want to root for these characters to get together. The humor is clearly very Arrested Development-esque but feels strangely tired. I did like Puddle, and they were smart to have her also be the narrator, but that's not really enough. I can see how this might be the kind of show that needs a little time to grow and figure out what it wants to be but I wonder if that'll actually happen, and if FOX will even allow it to.
Mike's "side" is populated by his partner, Carl, and Samuel, a waiter at their favorite lunch spot, while Molly's contingent is her mother, the always fabulous Swoosie Kurtz, and sister Victoria (who looks and acts like a younger version of Chloe from Make it or Break it...). There are a lot of references to weight and diets, obviously, but I hope that it doesn't devolve too much into making fun of Mike and Molly. They're the leads, but I gather they're going to be more the "heart" of the show, trying to make their relationship work despite their own demons and the craziness of their friends and family. It's really not that bad an idea of a show. I can't stand Two and a Half Men, but The Big Bang Theory eventually really grew on me, so we'll have to see if this show can win me over or not.