So when the new listing of fall shows comes out, I rarely give much time to the sitcoms. It's too bad, because clearly, judging by that list above (which seems to far outweigh the network dramas) I clearly enjoy them. But most are episodic, and if you miss a couple you're not in the dark. I flipped through the list of sitcoms for this fall, and landed on three: The Michael J. Fox Show, Super Fun Night, and The Crazy Ones.
I had the highest hopes for The Michael J. Fox Show because it boasted the best trailer:
I laughed out loud at that one, sent it to everyone I knew, and got most of them hooked on it as well. I grew up on Family Ties, and Alex P. Keaton is still one of the great TV comic creations. Michael J. Fox has been making a show, quiet return to television after his Parkinson's diagnosis in 1991, and he's been receiving rave reviews for mostly dramatic roles.
But his new show? Very, very unfunny. I don't think I laughed once, mostly because almost all of the jokes were in the trailer (natch). But it has Marie from Breaking Bad! And Bunk from The Wire! And Alex P. Freakin' Keaton!
Nope, not funny. So I waited for the second episode. Even less funny. Daughter gets a lesbian friend so she can increase the coolness of her social circle, only to discover at the end of the episode what every viewer figured out from the first line of dialogue in the episode: that the girl might be a little tomboyish, but she's no lesbian. HAHAHAha...ha... ergh. Meanwhile, Dad goes upstairs to yell at the neighbour for watching his television too loud and discovers he's a she who's not only super hot, but Michael J. Fox's real-life wife! And he develops a crush on her and lies to his wife about it. HAHAHAha...ha... blech. SO not funny. The jokes are lame, this brilliant cast is stumbling around trying to find the funny in what is not funny, and it's actually kind of sad. Timer wiped from the PVR.
So then it was over to The Crazy Ones. Yes, I'm watching it because it's basically Mork & Buffy. I love Robin Williams, for the most part, but he's SO manic and out of control that he tends to go so far off-script he's no longer funny. I've seen him live, and I grew up watching Mork & Mindy, and Good Will Hunting is one of my favourite movies (and, quite honestly, could be the last good thing he did...) But it also has Sarah Michelle Gellar in it. About a week before it started, the New York Post contacted me so I could make a comment about Gellar's "big TV comeback," and did I think she'd ever dump the Buffy stigma? Sorry? She had an entire other TV show two years ago, where she played two different characters and was really very good on it. But then, yeah, after my initial surprise I realized yeah, people DO still see her as Buffy, and maybe the fact that the NYP guy had no idea she'd had another TV show in there is more indicative of the TV show than him. So I watched it reluctantly.
The show is about a father, Simon Roberts, who runs a large advertising agency, and the daughter he raised, Sydney (awesome name for a character played by SMG!!! says Nikki), who grew up basically motherless and instead was raised by this nutbar. She's pretty together, until she's pushed to the wall and under pressure and then she's about as crazy as he is. What I really loved about the first episode is that the title of the show not only refers to the silly father and daughter team, but her entire reason for going into advertising in the first place — this commercial:
I remember that commercial well, and how much I loved it at the time. And her character loved it so much she joined an industry that could create something that sublime.
It's also got James Wolk (Bob from Mad Men) playing another creative type in the ad industry, but one who can surprisingly riff along with Robin Williams almost note for note. Hamish Linklater (Jerry from The Newsroom) and Amanda Setton (Shauna from The Mindy Project) round out the main group of people. It's fun and funny. And the only one of the three sitcoms where I've officially made it to episode 3.
AND... I was rewarded for it. In the third episode, during the blooper reel that aired in the closing credits, Robin Williams says to Gellar, "Where did you learn to drive all Dukes of Hazzard style like that??" And she shrugs and says, "Sunnydale," before walking away. Ha!!
Yep, maybe she'll always be Buffy. And I'm okay with that. I urge you to check out this show. For the first time in a long time, this is a sitcom where I can't wait until next week's episode.