Monday, March 16, 2015

NBC Midseason Pilot Review: One Big Happy - Premieres Tuesday, March 17; CBS Picks Up Mom, Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls for 2015-16

The McCarthys

One Big Happy - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

Best friends Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert, Happy Endings) and Luke (Nick Zano, 2 Broke Girls) are like family. As kids, they saw each other's parents go through divorce and have ever since formed an inseparable bond. Now, all grown up and still single, they've decided to start a family of their own, but in a non-traditional way. Lizzy, who is a lesbian, wants to raise a child with Luke by her side. Then one night, Luke falls for Prudence (Kelly Brook, Smallville), a free-spirited British girl who's due to go back to England in a matter of days. Then, just as Lizzy discovers that she's actually pregnant, Luke announces that he and Prudence have gotten married and in an instant -- a different kind of family is born.

Cast Details:

Elisha Cuthbert as Lizzie
Nick Zano as Luke
Kelly Brook as Prudence
Rebecca Corry as Leisha
Chris Williams as Roy
Brandon Mychal Smith as Marcus

Elisha Cuthbert (Lizzie) is a Canadian-born actress that burst onto the American scene as Kiefer Sutherland's daughter Kimberly Bauer in the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe-winning drama series 24, which earned her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award for breakout TV actress. She also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the 24 cast. Cuthbert began her career in entertainment in Canada as a model at 7 years old. Soon after, she was cast as a regular in the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark? She also traveled the globe as a correspondent for the award-winning series Popular Mechanics for Kids. Prior to One Big Happy, Cuthbert starred in the ABC comedy series Happy Endings, created by David Caspe. She starred in the telefilm Lucky Girl and her powerful performance as a straight-A student who becomes addicted to gambling earned her a Gemini Award for best actress in a dramatic program. Cuthbert's film credits include Old School, The Girl Next Door, Love Actually, House of Wax, The Quiet (which she both starred and produced), My Sassy Girl and He Was a Quiet Man.

Nick Zano (Luke) has had numerous television credits including guest appearances on Mom and Friends with Better Lives, as well as What I Like About You and the ABC comedy Cougar Town, in which he appeared as Courtney Cox's first boyfriend. He also had recurring roles in 2 Broke Girls and Happy Endings, which starred Elisha Cuthbert. He served as a producer and host for the first season of MTV's hit reality series Why Can't I Be You? His telefilm credits include a starring role in ABC Family's romantic comedy Everything You Want, opposite Shiri Appleby and Fox's comedy Ernesto.

Kelly Brook (Prudence) is an English model and actress that is best known for her role in the 2010 horror comedy remake, Piranha 3D. She guest starred in multiple episodes of Smallville as Victoria Hardwick. In 2007, Brook participated in the celebrity dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1.

Rebecca Corry (Leisha) has had multiple television credits including The Bernie Mac Show, Rules of Engagement and CBS' The King of Queens, which led her to become the face of a national Gallo wine campaign and more recently, the face of an international Hertz campaign. One of Corry's most memorable roles was that of Paul Giamatti's receptionist in the feature film Big Fat Liar. Corry hosted the second season of Courtney Cox and David Arquette's interior design show, Mix It Up. She later worked with the duo on the Fox pilot The MidNightly News, in which she starred, wrote on and also produced. A few of Corry's numerous guest star appearances include Yes Dear, The Wayne Brady Show, NBC's Late Friday, Comics unleashed, E! TV's 101 series, VH1's Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's Premium Blend and, in 2009, her own half-hour special on Comedy Central.

Chris Williams (Roy) is an extremely versatile performer in film, television and stage (like his well-known sister Vanessa), Williams is no stranger to the entertainment arena both on and off camera. His multiple television credits include major arcs on Satisfaction and Family Time. He also guest-starred as his sister's doppelganger on Ugly Betty and he appeared in multiple episodes of Showtime's Californication.

Brandon Mychal Smith (Marcus) can also be seen in FX's You're the Worst as Sam Dresden. Most recently, Smith earned strong reviews for his performance as Little Richard in the James Brown biopic Get on Up. He is well known for his role in Disney's Sonny with a Chance and its show-within-a show, So Random! as Nico Harris, opposite Demi Lovato. Smith also had recurring roles in Disney's Phil of the Future and Nickelodeon's Unfabulous, starring Emma Roberts. He also starred in the TNT telefilm The Ron Clark Story.

Pilot Plot:

We watched four episodes for review. This review will be based on these episodes.

"Pilot" (airs Tuesday, March 17 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Luke (Nick Zano) and Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) have been inseparable since childhood. Now all grown up and in their 30s, they have decided to have a baby – in a non-traditional way. Lizzy, who is gay, is really ready to become a mom and who better to be the dad than her best friend Luke. Then, just as Lizzy discovers she is actually pregnant, Luke surprises her with the news that he has fallen in love and married Prudence (Kelly Brook), a free-spirited, British beauty who was due to go back to England in a matter of days. Suddenly, a different kind of family is born and the three must learn how to make it work together.

"Out of the Closet" (airs Tuesday, March 24 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Prudence (Kelly Brook) moves in to Luke (Nick Zano) and Lizzy's (Elisha Cuthbert) apartment and her mess of boxes and belongings throws Lizzy for a loop. Prudence also pushes Lizzy to clean out a closet with her ex-girlfriend's things, which forces Lizzy to deal with some repressed feelings. Meanwhile, Luke is also adjusting to having Prudence in their lives and her marionette puppets are causing him some sleepless nights.

"A Tale of Two Hubbies" (airs TBD)

On a group trip to Las Vegas, Luke (Nick Zano), Prudence (Kelly Brook) and Lizzy (Elisha Cuthberg) visit the chapel where Nick and Prudence got married – only to discover that it was a sham and their marriage is not legal. Lizzy takes it upon herself to plan a spectacular new wedding with a special surprise. However, the group is in for an even bigger surprise about Prudence's past life in England.

"Crushing It" (airs TBD)

On a group trip to the gym, Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) spies her secret crush, Kate (guest star Diora Baird, Shameless) and with the help of Luke (Nick Zano) and Prudence (Kelly Brook), she initiates a conversation that leads to some plans for group bowling. Later, Luke and Prudence help get Lizzy an appointment with the best OB-GYN in the city and Lizzy is ecstatic - until they arrive at the doctor's office only to find that Kate is the nurse. Meanwhile, Prudence realizes that Lizzy's pregnancy is making her feel left out and Leisha (Rebecca Corry) helps her explain her feelings to Luke.

Analysis:

I watched four episodes (not necessarily the first four) for review and it is quite fun to watch this show. It has a sense of familiarity and simplicity that makes for a perfect getaway for viewers and to just enjoy a nice half-hour. NBC hasn't had any luck with new comedies lately, especially multi-camera comedies, so maybe this is their return to success in comedy? It may or may not be because Nielsen is wacky, but this show certainly brings out laughs and fun. The cast is quite good, the premise is unique and it feels like a NBC multi-camera comedy from the past. It reminds me a bit of Three's Company in 2015, with three people living together, but the times have certainly changed. This time we have a lesbian (Lizzy) and her best friend Luke who finds a new girlfriend (Prudence)...and now they are all under one roof. The twist? Lizzy and Luke decided before they wanted a baby and now Lizzy is pregnant. Instead of Three's Company, it's going to be And Baby Makes Four?

I loved Elisha Cuthbert's performance in this series. She is witty and delivers her lines seamlessly. As we saw on Happy Endings, she is damn funny. She is the lead on this show and she drives it well. Lizzy is the Jack Tripper of this show. OK enough comparing, but Elisha is really good. Nick and Kelly are also superb and the trio make this show a great ensemble. So far the other three supporting players ((Leisha, Roy and Marcus) haven't had really much to do, so that's one weakness of this show. Once they mesh with the three leads, then this will make for a great ensemble and a special show. It's still early, so maybe time will take care of that...that is, if this show gets that chance. And hopefully it will.

Conclusion:

I was always mad that none of the stars of Happy Endings were never nominated for an Emmy or something, especially Elisha. I mean she like created her own catchphrases on that show like, "sah-kewt." And she's "sah-kewt" on this show, too. Nick and Elisha have worked together before, as Nick had a nice arc on Happy Endings. So the chemistry is certainly there. Nick also works well with Kelly Brook here. Fans will find the Kelly Brook "nude" scene a hoot (and no I'm not typing that so Google searchers click on us). One thing viewers might nitpick is that Nick and Kelly's characters get married quite quickly. While I don't mind, it certainly makes for some interesting storylines, I guess. Keep watching as there will be a major shocker!

As for the timeslot, it's going to be a tough one. One Big Happy is following Undateable, which is back for a second season...but now it's not airing in the summer. NBC hasn't had success so far with summer drama The Night Shift airing in the regular season, but maybe it will be different for a comedy. Let's hope viewers stick around for One Big Happy. It comes from the mind of Ellen DeGeneres, so maybe viewers will sample an episode or two...and those that do, I'm sure most will love it. It may not win any awards, but it will certainly be a viewers choice. Elisha Cuthbert in a show with "happy" in the title is always a good thing. 6 episodes were ordered, so it's easy to invest time in this one. Get happy because you'll be quite surprised. One Big Happy is more than just one big happy, it's more like one-hundred big happy (laughs).

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • One Big Happy Photo Gallery

    Preview:






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