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

    Thursday, February 21

    The Big Bang Theory - "The D&D Vortex" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When the gang finds out Wil Wheaton hosts a celebrity Dungeons and Dragons game involving William Shatner, Joe Manganiello, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Smith, deception and betrayal are the path to make it to the one open seat.

    Young Sheldon - "A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Things spiral out of control when Sheldon boycotts his favorite bread company. Also, Georgie offers Veronica a shoulder to cry on when she’s dumped by her boyfriend.

    Mom - "Skippy and the Knowledge Hole" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Christy finds it challenging to quit smoking, while Bonnie helps Tammy prepare to take the GED test.

    Fam - "Drunk in Love" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    During their engagement party, Clem and Nick are both shocked to learn that the other has been keeping an embarrassing secret about how they met.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Honeypot" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Jake and Holt clash over the merits of a new hire in the 99th precinct. Terry, Amy, Rosa and Charles try to do something about the cluttered bullpen.

    Will & Grace - "The Pursuit of Happiness" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Grace (Debra Messing) is enlisted by Malcolm (guest star Alec Baldwin) to help him win back Karen's (Megan Mullally) affections. Will's (Eric McCormack) flirtation with his co-worker, Paul (guest star Barrett Foa), takes a turn when details about Paul's home life put Will in an ethical dilemma. And Jack's (Sean Hayes) run-in with Zusanna (guest star Andrea Martin), the sister of his former acting teacher, reignites Jack's passion for performing.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

    Thursday, February 21

    • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Catch Ken on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
    • James Spader (The Office) - James stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Kal Penn (Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Chris O'Dowd (Family Tree) - Chris is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Mark Duplass (Togetherness/The Mindy Project/The League) - Mark appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
    • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Reba drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill appears on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place) - D'Arcy will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

    Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

    01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
    01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
    01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
    01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
    01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
    01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
    01/29 - Kidding - Season One
    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
    02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
    02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
    02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
    02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
    02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
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