Monday, September 19, 2011

New TV Roundup - Up All Night

One of the most buzzed new sitcoms this Fall has to be Up All Night, starring the talents of Christina Applegate, and Will Arnett. The show follows new parents as they struggle to balance raising their daughter, working, and their changing lives.

The show absolutely sounds promising, with charming and charismatic stars (alongside the incredible Maya Rudolph who co-stars as Applegate's celebrity diva boss) you'd think this would definitely be one to watch. However, while I think it could turn into an interesting show, based on the pilot alone, it's simply not all its cracked up to be.

The actors are great, Applegate and Arnett really are extremely likable as their characters try to find a balance between their old lives and a new one, but they're written so conventionally. Yes, they used to be party animals, and are working to give up the swearing in front of their daughter, but why is that so unique? Most of the parents I know have similar stories, that's just how it is, everyone knows your life changes when you have kids. So what makes these two stand out? So far I'm not at all sure. If they're not saying something new with the comedy, then they should at least have a new take on the situation.

Speaking of which, the circumstances of the situation they're placed in isn't very groundbreaking either. Applegate is heading back to work after having the baby, and Arnett is staying at home, theoretically giving us some decent gender reversal comedy opportunities. But that's nothing new, that's been mined well since at least Mr Mom. And Applegate's work life at a daytime talk show, dealing with Maya Rudolph should be funny, but its really off tone with the rest of the story. Maybe the problem is that Up All Night hasn't defined how realistic it is or isn't yet, and whenever Rudolph is on screen it becomes a lot less realistic and much more silly.

On the plus side the show is shot really nicely, and I liked the art direction a lot. Its' got a very modern look, and feels... I think fashionable is the word I'm looking for.

That said, I wonder exactly who NBC thinks this show is for? Young parents? Singles? People in relationships? As a relatively young parent myself, the whole thing strikes me a bit off and I think the problem is the timing. Our lead characters ultimately play good parents, or at least relatively good parents, which is nice; but they act like they are struggling because this is their first day on the job. Their daughter looks to be at least 3-4 months old, and of course they also had 9 months of pregnancy to mentally and practically prepare to be parents, the fact that the characters act like they are only just dealing with being parents for the very first time now is totally unrealistic, and for me that throws the entire show off.

So the bottom line is that even with a very charismatic cast Up All Night fails to break, or really even bend, any comedy molds. I might give it another shot or two since I like these actors so much, but it'll have to step up, since the pilot just wasn't that funny, and the characters weren't very believable.

The pilot for Up All Night is on Hulu now, and the series starts airing regularly on NBC this Wednesday the 21st.

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