Thursday, October 03, 2013
It was coming off the one hour premier of THE BIG BANG THEORY, which got the best numbers it has ever gotten. It featured a big name and was heavily promoted. Actually, several big names. Sarah Michelle Geller is no slouch and producer/creator David E. Kelley is a proven 800 pound gorilla.
Personally, I had problems with THE CRAZY ONES. Here’s why:
There’s an expression that comedy writers have called “Like-a-joke.” It’s a line that has the rhythm of a joke but no real punch line. They’re just words strung together, done with funny accents, goofy voices, or comic style windups. But ultimately there’s no there there. That’s what THE CRAZY ONES was. I guess they figured if Robin Williams could just be manic for a half hour and barrage you with shtick that you’d laugh.
But nothing he said was funny. It was all forced. And then having a character whose sole function was to laugh at his routines made it seem all the more desperate.
In a way, I was a little annoyed at the show. It’s as if Kelley was saying, “Just throw a lot of stuff at the audience real fast in a super slick package and they won’t know any better.” God, I hope he’s not right.
The unstated issue here is that David E. Kelley is not a comedy writer. He’s a wonderful drama and light-drama writer. I’ve loved his work since L.A. LAW and marvel at how prolific he is. There are episodes of THE PRACTICE that rival the writing of any of today’s extraordinary dramas.
But he’s not a comedy writer. Throwing in a funny line now and again or creating quirky characters is not the same as constructing a half-hour with wall-to-wall laughs.
And the sense I got was that Robin was probably ad libbing like crazy trying to make something of the material.
Any chance they could get the MORK writers? They’re probably all available.
Aside from that they had Sarah Michelle Geller in the world’s most thankless role. She’s the wet blanket – always scowling, always rolling her eyes. “Dad, you can’t do that.” “Dad, you can’t say that.” Ugh! At least Mindy wasn’t asked to always be exasperated.
I also didn’t appreciate being subjected to a half hour commercial for McDonalds.
All in all, I just felt manipulated. To borrow a phrase from another fast food chain – “Where’s the beef?”
In deference to Robin Williams I’ll probably watch another episode. And it was just the pilot. Many series need the time to grow and find themselves. But one more McDLT and I’m gone.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM