Friday, October 03, 2014

Fox Fall Pilot Review: Mulaney - Premieres Sunday, Oct. 5; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 6, 2014)

Mulaney

Mulaney - Sundays at 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

From Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live) comes Mulaney, a multi-camera ensemble comedy series about a rising stand-up comic trying to take his career to the next level and the friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around.

John Mulaney is a 29-year-old comedian working the stand-up circuit and looking for his big break. But life drastically changes when self-centered comedy legend and game show host Lou Cannon (Emmy Award winner Martin Short, SCTV, Saturday Night Live, Father of the Bride, Primetime Glick) hires Mulaney as a writer. Lou may be John's entrée into the world of big-money show business, but he's also a total nightmare. Still, the job represents everything Mulaney thinks he wants. But does he really? And, at what cost? And what does it say about him if he quits? And what does it say about him if he stays? And has Lou had work done?

Mulaney's life becomes a tug-of-war between the stress of his new job and his guilt over not being there for his two best friends and roommates: Jane (Nasim Pedrad, Saturday Night Live), a tightly wound, yet directionless personal trainer; and Motif (comedian and television newcomer Seaton Smith), a powerhouse comic who shares nothing in common with Mulaney – except the world of stand-up. Rounding out this odd group of friends is Andre (Zack Pearlman, The Inbetweeners), a trust-fund baby who has a knack for showing up in Mulaney's life at the worst possible moments. If Mulaney has one refuge from the chaos that surrounds him, then it's his neighbor, Oscar (Academy Award nominee Elliott Gould, M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye, the Oceans 11 franchise), a 71-year-old gay veteran of New York who has seen it all. Oscar is opinionated, refined, gentle, wise and sometimes extremely cantankerous, but most of all, he's an oracle of sound advice when Mulaney feels like life has gone off the rails.

Cast Details:

John Mulaney as John
Nasim Pedrad as Jane
Seaton Smith as Motif
Zack Pearlman as Andre
Elliott Gould as Oscar
Martin Short as Lou

John Mulaney (John) is a prolific stand-up comedian and former Emmy-nominated writer of Saturday Night Live. He shared an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics" in 2011.

Nasim Pedrad (Jane) appeared for 5 seasons as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 2009 to 2014. She has made guest appearances on Gilmore Girls and ER.

Seaton Smith (Motif) is a stand-up comedian, filmmaker and maker of bacon (according to his Twitter profile).

Zack Pearlman (Andre) is best known for his role as Zack in The Virginity Hit and as Jay in the short-lived American remake of The Inbetweeners for MTV.

Elliott Gould (Oscar) has appeared in many films such as M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and the Ocean's Eleven franchise. He had a recurring role as Jack Geller on Friends from 1994-2003.

Martin Short (Lou) is best known for his comedy work on SCTV and Saturday Night Live. He hosted The Martin Short Show in 1999-2000. He appeared as Jiminy Glick in Primetime Glick from 2001-2003. His many film credits include Three Amigos, Innerspace, Father of the Bride, Pure Luck, Father of the Bride Part II, Mars Attacks! and Jungle 2 Jungle.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Sunday, Oct. 30 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Up-and-coming stand-up comedian John Mulaney (John Mulaney) gets a job for game show host Lou Cannon (Martin Short), which turns out to be less glamorous than expected. Meanwhile, one of his roommates, Jane (Nasim Pedrad), attempts to prove to an ex that she’s not crazy, and his other roommate, Motif, struggles to write a joke with a killer punchline.

Analysis:

Mulaney was created and written by John Mulaney, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself. It was directed by Andy Ackerman, who directed many episodes of Seinfeld. Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live) is the executive producer.

The episode begins with John Mulaney performing some stand-up comedy out of character on the apartment set in front of the studio audience. There's about 90 seconds of him talking about being 30 and his fear of being kidnapped. In the opening scene, John and Motif are at the doctor's office. John tells him that he has a meeting with Lou Cannon and wants to get some Xanax to calm him before his job interview. Jane walks in and tells everybody she's not crazy. After John says he urinates 11 times a day, the doctor gives him a prostate exam. John later talks to the doorman and asks for Lou's room number. John meets with Lou about the writing job. Motif and Jane talk at the apartment where she shows items she took from her ex-boyfriend, Justin. Lou likes John and decides to hire him. After John tells Motif and Jane that he got the job, Andre walks into the apartment. Lou and John have a talk about how he wants to write for him. John does the opening for Lou at the Marsha Foundation Walk-a-thon, but Lou is a no show. John and Motif talk about Motif's act and the t-shirts he created and sold. John later goes to Oscar's apartment for some tea. After Lou wants John to be a stand-in for his Celebrity You Guessed It game show, John tells him about his grievances about the job.

My first reaction to the pilot is that it feels a lot like a Seinfeld episode. There are many similarities with the characters. There's the surname title. John Mulaney opens the show with some stand-up. There is some stand-up interspersed later in the episode. I think the stand-up should be more related to the episode storylines. The New York City apartment has a different setup, but it still has a cramped feel and the door in a similar position. The transitions have New York City building shots and some catchy comedic music. Jane is a character very much like Elaine. She is single, neurotic and funny. The Andre character, who everybody hates, is like Newman. One key difference is the addition of the Lou and Oscar characters. I'm sure they will try their best to make the storylines unique.

The cast is a mix of stand-up comedians, sketch comedy performers and two veteran actors. I wasn't familiar with the star John Mulaney before viewing the episode. He seems very funny, clean cut and relatable. His stand-up comedy is mostly observational type of humor. He may seem a little wooden as an actor at first, but the transition from stand-up comedian to actor isn't always an easy one. With more time and experience, I think he could become a more natural actor. Nasim Pedrad is a veteran of Saturday Night Live, so she's pretty funny here. Her character is surrounded by guys as roommates, but she has problems with men. Seaton Smith is a stand-up comedian. He has a few funny lines and moments. His character is pretty outrageous, but he seems like a good fit in the show. Zack Pearlman plays Andre, a guy that the roommates all seem to hate. Elliott Gould appears as Oscar, the 71-year-old gay veteran of New York, who is the neighbor of John. He gives everybody wisdom and advice like Yoda. Martin Short is clearly the highlight and stand-out performer of the episode, as well as the other early episodes available for review. He brings a lot of energy and some physical humor to the show. Elliott Gould has only one scene in the pilot, but his role is expanded a bit in future episodes. I would like to see more of Martin Short and a little less of Gould's character, who is tolerable in smaller doses. His "oh, hello!" greeting could become a catchphrase.

Conclusion:

Mulaney has the potential to be the new Seinfeld. It's interesting to note that the pilot was originally made for NBC, but they passed on it before it was picked up by Fox. The humor is much more mild compared to some of their edgier sitcoms of recent seasons. I'm a big fan of Seinfeld, so I like what I see from Mulaney in their first few episodes. I don't think of it as a Seinfeld rip-off. It's more of an homage to a classic show. They have incorporated a few ideas which made Seinfeld a hugely successful series. Although there are a number of similarities between the shows, the addition of a few characters such as Lou Cannon set it apart. Martin Short's performance is the highlight of the early episodes. He's the #1 reason to watch the show right now. Lou Cannon is a hilarious character. This role seems perfect for him. He makes a welcome return to television.

It's always nice to see another throwback, multi-camera sitcom on the air. There are too many bland, single-camera comedies with very few laughs these days. Fox has kind of buried it on Sunday nights after Family Guy, so I hope they give it a chance to develop and build an audience. Seinfeld wasn't an immediate critical or ratings hit, either. They have put together a solid ensemble cast. John Mulaney may not be the most experienced actor, but he has surrounded himself with some funny and talented people. It will take them some time for everything to gel and click together. Three other episodes were available for review besides the pilot. This was a show that grew on me after each episode. Look for guest stars Penny Marshall and Lorraine Bracco as a lesbian couple in the second episode. I would recommend giving it a chance by watching the first 3-4 episodes to see their progress. It has the promise to turn into an entertaining and funny series.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2014 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Mulaney Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of Oct. 6-10, 2014, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVRs (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!


    Sunday, October 5, 2014
    • Raven-Symoné (That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) and Jenna von Oÿ (Blossom/The Parkers) - Raven and Jenna are featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm on OWN.
    • Ana Gasteyer Suburgatory) - Ana is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    Monday, October 6, 2014
    • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Aziz on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Karen stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • J.K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher/Family Tools) - J.K. visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge) - Kate talks about her embarrassing Twitter picture, her unnaturally close bond with her cat and more on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Charles Esten (The Crew/The Brian Benben Show) - Charles reveals who his real life Reyna James is and opens up about the struggle his family overcame on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/The Parkers) - Kym tries out extreme-fitness dating, dog-park dating and paper-bag dating on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
    • Ana Ortiz (A.U.S.A./Kristin) - Ana chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Golden Brooks (Girlfriends) and Elise Neal (The Hughleys) - Golden and Elise talk about Hollywood Divas on Arise TV on their website at 3pm and on Centric at 7pm.
    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
    • Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent/Arrested Development/The Larry Sanders Show) - Catch Jeffrey on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Mario discusses his new book (Just Between Us on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. He will also be on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Ted Danson (Cheers/Becker) - Ted talks about CSI on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) - Tasha talks about her new movie Addicted and For Better or Worse on OWN on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
    • Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey/Brotherly Love/Gimme a Break!) - Joey will be on SportsNation at 3pm on ESPN2.
    • Mark Duplass (The League/The Mindy Project) - Mark is a guest on SportsNation at 3pm on ESPN2.
    • Jake McDorman (Manhattan Love Story/Are You There, Chelsea?/Quintuplets) and Analeigh Tipton (Manhattan Love Story) - The stars of ABC's Manhattan Love Story are guests on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    • Kyra Sedgwick (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Watch Kyra on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Cristin Milioti (A to Z/How I Met Your Mother) - Catch Cristin on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Henry Zebrowski (A to Z) - Henry is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman) - Mary appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary performs for the audience on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela visits ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly is tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Gerald McRaney (Major Dad) - Gerald talks about his many upcoming projects on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela/Wizards of Waverly Place/The Tony Danza Show) - Maria gives a look at her new show and prepares one of her favorite Cuban dishes on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge) - Kate dishes about her new sitcom Bad Judge on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    Thursday, October 9, 2014
    • Steve Carell (The Office) - Catch Steve 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. He previews the film Alexaander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. is a guest on @mignight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Megan Fox (Hope & Faith) - Megan appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig talks about leaving his late night show after nearly a decade and what he'll miss most on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh discusses Disgraced on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) - Tasha talks about her new movie Addicted on 106 & Park at 5pm on BET.
    • Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Soleil shares great DIY ideas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She also talks about her new sitcom Cristela on Wake Up with Taylor on SiriusXM Stars Channel 109 sometime between 6-9am.
    • Joe Morton (Grady) - Joe is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    Friday, October 10, 2014
    • Chelesa Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Nick Kroll (The League/Caveman) - Nick visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Martin Short (Mulaney/I'm a Big Girl Now) - Martin appears on a repeat Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Jason appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Katie Stevens (Faking It) - Katie chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Kieran Culkin (Go Fish) - Kieran discusses This Is Our Youth on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Mario talks fatherhood, his famous first kiss and the hairy situation behind the scenes of Saved by the Bell on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
    • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
    • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me) - Dan chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • John Cho (Selfie/Kitchen Confidential) - John is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
    All listings are subject to change. Visit our blog and main site for daily updated listings. Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

    Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

    10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
    10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
    10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
    10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
    10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
    10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
    11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
    11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
    11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
    11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
    11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
    11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Saturday, December 10

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 12)

    Saturday, December 10

    • Dennis Haskins (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Dennis will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
    Monday, December 12
    • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Watch Jennifer Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats about the film Why Him? on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Matthew stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will talks about Collateral Beauty on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) - Megan is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.