Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Pilot #2: Up All Night



FALL PILOT #2: Up All Night
NETWORK: NBC
SUPPOSED SELLING POINT:  Thursday Night Comedy on NBC is so good that it needs to expand onto Wednesday.  Will Arnett!  Maya Rudolph!  Christina Applegate!
POSSIBLE SELLING POINT FOR ME:  Will Arnett!  Maya Rudolph! No laugh track!

Dear internet,
      I'm terrified of babies.  
      There. I said it.  Now you know.  Feel free to judge and consider me inhuman and so on and so on, it's already brought about more than one spectacularly awkward situation at work.  Heeeey, what do you do when you wander into work expecting no babies and find a baby right in your path?  Oh, and yeah, it's your boss's baby and you really want to be nice but your mouth pretty much just turned into a claymation desert.  Do you put your stuff away and stand completely silent with eyes the size of fists for the next five, unending minutes as your co-workers turn into cooing, disturbing versions of themselves?  Yes, yes, you do.  Because you're me. And eventually someone tells you to run, and you are saved.  
      Needless to say: I'm not really into the whole "baby" thing.  Don't get me wrong, there's definitely a fine amount of comedy to be mined from improper parenting.  Fox scored big last season with Raising Hope, namely because that show is only tangentially about babies and happens to feature the insanely awesome Cloris Leachman letting it all hang out.  Gem, I tell you, GEM.  I'd hoped that with Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph on board, Up All Night would be a new slightly off-kilter take on the awkwardness of child rearing.  Somehow, I didn't really factor "the baby" being an issue.  She is.  Up All Night starts off suggesting shenanigans, and quickly backslides into something unfunny and loaded with lady show cliches.  We jump from a mildly amusing scene in which Applegate and Arnett reflect on the positives of having a child come the nursing home years and suddenly we're at a cringe-worthy moment of physical comedy in which Applegate is bending over backwards to zip her pencil skirt over her post-pregnancy stomach.  Uh huh.  It got worse.  Enter the baby-centric changes of heart:  the "I love our baby" and "I think about her every waking second" and so on and so on leading through to the moment at which our protagonists realize their lives have changed.  Oh, did I mention this happens after one of the blandest drunk party montage scenes I've seen since Sex and the City 2?  Because it does.  (And yes, Maya Rudolph gets to do her pseudo-Whitney Houston over-belting not once, or twice, but three times as I recall.  I didn't like it when she did it on SNL, why fit it in here?) 

       And then I remembered: this show isn't going to be for me.  This show is going to be all babies because all three of the stars have had new additions to their families within the last year or so.  As they film this there's undoubtedly a room just off set in which their mewling spawn are all under the watchful eye of some studio intern/nanny.  They have this shit on their brains, man.  On their brains.  A show about parenting starring three fresh parents probably won't shoot off in the meta directions of 30 Rock or Community.  It may be time for me to walk away...

If you take nothing else from this?  Watch Raising Hope.  You'll like it.  I swear.

SECOND EPISODE?:  I'll consider it ONLY BECAUSE I KNOW PILOTS SOMETIMES SUCK.
WILL IT MAKE IT TO A SECOND SEASON?:  It's too early to tell...

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