Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pilot Thoughts: Up All Night & Free Agents

When you like an actor, it really does go a long way in making you want to see stuff they are in even if you wouldn't have if they weren't involved. So far, that's what I've been feeling with the new fall shows I've seen. First it was Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar on Tuesday and now it's two NBC sitcoms that aired last night.

Up All Night
was the first one and it stars a couple of actors I generally like (Christina Applegate and Will Arnett) and an actor I really, really like (Maya Rudolph). Applegate and Arnett play new parents getting used to the harsh realities of taking care of a baby. Unfortunately, I found that whole part of the pilot uninteresting and not really funny and I don't think it's because I have baby-phobia since I quite enjoy Raising Hope and Modern Family. Perhaps it's because I found the best part to be Rudolph, who plays Applegate's Oprah-like high-strung boss, and while she is a bit over-the-top she kept me watching. At the moment the two parts aren't gelling*. In time maybe Rudolph will dial it down a bit while the whole baby plot will ramp up in something worthwhile. C+

*Another reason this could be true is because they actually re-shot some of these scenes after the pilot was made to not only give Rudolph more material but to also change the industry Applegate's character works in.

The show after that was Free Agents and oddly enough I found this one marginally better despite expecting it to be far worse. For all of its flaws, it at least didn't have a split personality that I felt Up All Night had. Plus it had Anthony Stewart Head aka Rupert Giles aka Watcher/father figure of one Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think the novelty of seeing the actor talking dirty and dressing up in loud clothes most definitely made my feelings about this pilot more positive than it had any right to be. My biggest problem with this premiere is that I didn't really care about any of the characters. The two leads played by Hank Azaria and Kathyrn Hahn are charming enough, but their characters came off as a little too pathetic. And the other supporting players, with the exception of Head, were just on the side of dreadful. Pathetic, despicable characters are fine (see Cougar Town, Arrested Development, Party Down, etc.) but there needs to be some kind of heart which was missing here. Maybe, in time. C+

I'll definitely give these two shows a chance, but watching them just made me miss Parks and Recreation, Community, and many other better sitcoms I'm looking forward to seeing.


  1. I enjoyed 'Up All Night' so much more than 'Free Agents.' Rudolph is certainly the best part of 'Up All Night' so far, but I also thought Applegate and Arnett were really cute together.

  2. I want to like Up All Night certainly. I'm hoping there's just better flow between the home/parent side of the show with the work/office side. We'll see!


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