Tuesday, October 01, 2013

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Super Fun Night - Premieres Oct. 2; Fox Flips Those Burgers for Season 5 of Bob's Burgers

Super Fun Night

Super Fun Night - Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Super Fun Night is a new single-camera comedy from Conan O'Brien starring breakout actress Rebel Wilson that stars a group of misfit young adults vowing to get out of their houses every Friday night and have a "super fun night" together. The series also follows Wilson's character Kimmy Boubier as she attempts to sustain a successful career as a lawyer while still maintaining her unique personality.

Cast Details:

Rebel Wilson as Kimmy Boubier
Liza Lipara as Helen-Alice
Lauren Ash as Marika
Kevin Bishop as Richard Lovell
Kate Jenkinson as Kendall

Rebel Wilson (Kimmy Boubier) is an Australian actress with a large background in comedy, including the Australian comedy Pizza and the musical comedy series Bogan Pride – which she wrote, produced, and starred in. Her breakout role in the United States came in 2011's Bridesmaids, and her fame escalated in 2012 after starring in the popular musical-comedy film Pitch Perfect.

Liza Lipara (Helen-Alice) has recently starred in sitcoms such as Traffic Light and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. She has also appeared in a handful of films, including Domino, The Big Band Swim, and Crazy Stupid Love. She has also guest starred in many shows, including NCIS, Dexter, ER, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos.

Lauren Ash (Marika) has starred in several television series, including Almost Heroes and Howie Do It. She also has written for several shorts and mini-seires, including Trashy Affair and Facebook of Revelations.

Kevin Bishop (Richard Lovell) is an English comedian best known for his show The Kevin Bishop Show. He has also starred in films such as Muppet Treasure Island, Grange Hill, and Dick Whittington.

Kate Jenkinson (Kendall) is an Australian actress best known for her work on the comedy The Wedge. She has also starred in films such as Rush, Bogan Pride, Canal Road, and Newstopia.


Pilot Plot:

"Anything for Love" (airs Wednesday, October 2 at 9:30 PM ET/PT)

In the premiere episode of Super Fun Night, Kimmie wants the gang to broaden their horizons and try something they've never done before – but her attitude changes when she is forced to face her fear of singing in public and perform at a piano bar. Meanwhile, Kendall can't understand why Richard and Kimmie are friends and plans to do something about it. This episode is actually the second episode of the series - ABC appears to be skipping the pilot for now.

Analysis:

It is not hard to see how Super Fun Night could be a good show. Rebel Wilson almost seems born to be a big TV star, with an appealing personality and a great sense of humor that's destined to appeal to mass audiences. The show also has a pretty impressive writing staff on deck - most notably its showrunner, longtime 30 Rock writer John Riggi. It has a vibe that is very reminiscent of the dearly departed Happy Endings, a hilarious show with an all-star cast that unfortunately never picked up enough of an audience. It desperately wants to capture that hang-out vibe that Happy Endings as well as shows like New Girl and Cougar Town have been able to nail down to a tee, the kind of show where you almost feel like you're just hanging out with a bunch of friends every time you sit down and watch it. When done right, these kinds of comedies are often some of the most fun shows on TV, and maintain a connection to their audience that few shows can match. But a hang-out comedy is really hard to do right. It needs incredibly strong jokes and intensely relatable characters that can keep its viewers entertained, despite the relative lack of premise. Without this, the show can feel cloying and directionless, meandering around and trying to do just about anything to keep you entertained. That's why I'm always really weary of hang-out comedies. The good ones are often among my favorite shows on TV, but the bad ones are always a serious chore to sit through.

Super Fun Night, unfortunately, mostly falls into the latter category. It's not terrible, and there are some really funny jokes in the mix. Rebel Wilson remains an appealing comic force, although her energy is toned down a lot from her Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect characters (not necessarily a bad decision, because those characters would be far too broad to build a good sitcom around). The other performances are mostly fine, although Liza Lipara is the only one who really gets a chance to do anything at all. It's just sort of a show that really has almost nothing to it at this point, other than "here's Rebel Wilson in a sitcom." The premise is paper-thin and the show barely pays any attention to it at all, instead relying on a very contrived storyline about Kimmy facing stage fright that wouldn't feel out of place on a Disney or Nick sitcom. There's weirdly a total lack of comic momentum, as the show will move from periods of rapid-fire jokes to long stretches without anything resembling jokes at all. I'm not expecting to laugh too much at a pilot, but there are periods where it feels like the show just flat-out forgot that it's a comedy and it's supposed to be funny. We don't really get any sense of why these people are friends with each other or what kind of relationship they have with each other - there's a mild resentment forming between Kimmy and Kendall that apparently is related to their affection for Richard, but it's not given the development it needs to make an impact. It's possible that some of this was explained in the scrapped pilot, but none of it's made clear in the episode that's now being used as the shows' premiere. In short, there's really nothing here to hate – it's not, say, Dads - but there's really nothing to like, either.

Having said that, I wouldn't be completely surprised if this show became the best comedy on TV by the end of its first season (assuming it lasts that long). These kinds of shows take time to develop into something worthwhile – the early episodes of Happy Endings, New Girl, and Cougar Town had some of the same issues, before eventually finding their voice, developing their characters and turning into top-notch hang-out sitcoms. I'm not completely optimistic, because the problems here feel more significant than the problems with any of those shows at their starts. But it's not a show I'm willing to write off completely just yet.

Conclusion:

Super Fun Night isn't a trainwreck, but it's also really nothing worth checking out at this point, unless you're a big Rebel Wilson fan and want to see her in a TV comedy. There are promising elements at play here – a solid creative team, a great leading lady, some pretty good joke writing – but the show is held back by its aimlessness and its lack of definition in just about every category. There's no clear premise or brand of humor, and any character that isn't played by Rebel Wilson feels like a hollow archetype. These are fixable problems, and hopefully the show will remedy them over the course of the first season. Until then, this feels very much like a sitcom that should amount to much more than it does.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Super Fun Night Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • Bob's Burgers

    Fox has renewed the Emmy Award-nominated Bob's Burgers for a fifth season, ordering 22 additional episodes of the hit animated series. The fourth "broadcast" season premiered on Sunday night (Sept. 29). The series is still fulfilling its third season episode order to start this fourth season. The fifth season order will have episodes airing through the 2015-16 season. Last season, Bob's Burgers was a Top 10 comedy among Men 18-49, Men 18-34 and is one of the Top 10 comedies among Male Teens. Additionally, Bob's Burgers was one of only two broadcast comedies to post year-over-year gains (+10%) among Adults 18-49. On the season premiere this past Sunday, "A River Runs Through Bob," Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Linda (John Roberts) and the kids go on a camping adventure and face the perils of nature...and Bob's intestines.

    Bob's Burgers follows the ups and downs of Bob (Benjamin), who runs Bob's Burgers with the help of his wife, Linda (Roberts), and their three kids, Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal). Bob has big ideas about burgers, but his family falls short on service. Despite the greasy counters and lousy location, Bob and his family are determined to make every "Grand Re-Re-Re-opening" a success. This past season, the series received its second Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Animated Comedy Series."


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, June 25

    The Conners - "There Won't Be Blood" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    It’s Halloween, the favorite time of year for the Conners, but an email from the school banning certain costumes, including Mark’s, sets off an argument between Dan and Darlene. Jackie introduces someone new to the family at the Halloween party and insists that Dan vet him, only to immediately wish that she hadn’t.

    American Housewife - "Highs and Lows" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    As Oliver and Taylor stumble through their love lives, Katie begins to miss the spontaneity and unpredictability of being young and in love. Meanwhile, Kathryn’s (Wendie Malick) plan to soothe Oliver’s heartbreak backfires when she tracks down an old boyfriend, Dan (Gregory Harrison), and he is not as she remembers. At the same time, Anna-Kat makes strides at school when Franklin is stuck at home with the chickenpox, forcing her to make a new friend.

    Modern Family - "A Sketchy Area" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Phil stumbles into an exciting new career after dropping by Luke’s college; while Claire deals with her dad, Jay, and the merger of Pritchett’s Closets with a tech-savvy, hipper company. Meanwhile, Mitch’s new high-profile case as an assistant district attorney is marred by an unflattering courtroom sketch by the resident artist (Dan Levy).

    The Goldbergs - "My Valentine Boy" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    With Geoff’s help, Erica and Valley Erica find a new band member to replace Lainey, but Barry convinces Geoff the new band member is trying to steal Erica from him. Meanwhile, Adam and Murray try to out-gift each other so that neither of them has to go to Valentine’s Day dinner with Beverly.

    Modern Family - "Torn Between Two Lovers" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Haley can’t seem to choose between her past and present relationships and is forced to make a decision. Meanwhile, Manny returns to college and dorm life while his girlfriend, Sherry, continues to stay at Jay and Gloria’s, and might be overstaying her welcome.

    black-ish - "Son of a Pitch" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Junior is working at Stevens & Lido as an intern and takes some time to find his footing; but when he offers an idea during a pitch meeting, Dre immediately puts him in his place. Meanwhile, Bow has a meeting with one of Kyra’s teachers and learns that she has an aptitude for chemistry, but Kyra doesn’t want to transfer to a magnet school.

    The Detour - "The Return" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    Following a breakthrough, the Parkers return to their hometown to find their daughter.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 24)

    Tuesday, June 25

    • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Catch Kumail on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Zendaya (K.C. Undercover/Shake It Up) - Zendaya stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Anna Chlumsky (Veep) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (High Maintenance) - Ben and Katja are guests on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia drops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
    • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/White Famous/The War at Home) - Michael visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad!/The Cleveland Show) - Seth chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Pefect) and Gabriel Iglesias (Mr. Iglesias/Cristela) - Sherri and Gabriel talk about Mr. Iglesias on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Nina Dobrev (Fam) - Nina drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Ariana Grande (Sam & Cat/Victorious) - The Ellen DeGeneres Show has the biggest music stars from Season 16, including Ariana, so check your local listings.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate cooks up a meat sauce made with bacon on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about Family Pictures on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry talks about America's Got Talent on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

    Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two

    04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
    04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
    04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
    05/13 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 2
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
    05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
    05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
    05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
    05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons (WBShop.com)
    05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
    06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
    06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    06/24 - Barney Miller Summer Fridays on Antenna TV; Tyler Perry Studios Takes Over BET with New Series
    06/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 24, 2019)
    06/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mark-Paul Gosselaar Cast in black-ish Spinoff; Urkel Makes a Return in Scooby Doo
    06/21 - Fri-Yay: The Amazing Superstore Season 4 Finale; Netflix Has Healing Powers
    06/20 - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Returns with "Modern" Twist; Showtime Is Back to Life For New Comedy
    06/19 - truTV Gets 2nd Season of Tacoma FD; I'm Sorry Gets Season 3 on truTV
    06/18 - NBC Fall 2019 Premiere Dates; The CW Fall 2019 Premiere Dates
    06/17 - Netflix Gets Funny with Pranks with Stranger Things Star; Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba Series Gets 2nd Season
    06/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 17, 2019)
    06/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fall Premiere Dates for CBS; CBS and Viacom in Merger Talks Yet Again
    06/14 - Fri-Yay: Reaction to The Good Place Ending; Antenna TV Brings Back Webster, What's Happening!! and What's Happening Now!!
    06/13 - New Chip 'n' Dale Coming to Disney+ in 2020; Inside the Actors Studio Moves to Ovation and Starts with Sitcom-Themed Show
    06/12 - TBS Celebrates Seinfeld's 30th Anniversary; Netflix Renews Russian Doll for Season 2
    06/11 - Netflix Series Adds Rising Star to New Series; Corporate Gets 3rd and Final Season
    06/10 - Comedy Central Schedules Lights Out with David Spade; NBC's The Good Place to End After Season 4
    06/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 10, 2019)
    06/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: A Sequel for Punky Brewster?; The Good Place Coming to an End After Fourth Season
    06/07 - Fri-Yay: 2019 New Sitcoms; Hulu Acquires Popular Comedy Letterkenny
    06/06 - Comedy Central to Roast Alec Baldwin; Christmas in July on Hallmark
    06/05 - CBS All Access Sets Aug. 15 for Why Women Kill; Dead to Me Gets Second Season

    06/04 - The CW's Late Summer 2019 Schedule; Tracy Morgan Hosts the 2019 ESPYs on ABC
    06/03 - Comedy Central Summer Stunts Include The Cleveland Show; Netflix's GLOW Returns August 9
    06/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 3, 2019)

    06/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Gives Greenlight to Nate Bargatze Comedy Pilot; NBC Cancels Pair of Sitcoms
    05/31 - Fri-Yay: NBC Cancels AP Bio Just As It Was Finding Its Stride; Showtime Orders Work in Progress
    05/30 - Final Space Returns for Season 2 But on Adult Swim; Cast Set for All That Revival on Nickelodeon
    05/29 - HBO's Divorce Starring Sarah Jessica Parker Returns July 1; Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Specials Return for 12th Straight Year Before NBA Finals Games
    05/28 - 2019 The Summer of MeTV Schedule; Disney Gets 2nd Season of Sydney to the Max
    05/27 - Memorial Day 2019 TV Marathons
    05/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 27, 2019)
    05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Tops Ratings for the Season; FXX Announces Archer After Hours
    05/24 - Fri-Yay: Live in Front of a Studio Audience Recap; Mario Lopez Produced Sitcom Coming to Netflix