Tuesday, August 04, 2015

NBC Summer Pilot Review: Mr. Robinson - Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 5; CBS Fall 2015 Preview Hosted by Jane Lynch

Mr. Robinson

Mr. Robinson - Wednesdays at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

As lead singer and keyboardist of the funk band Nasty Delicious, Craig knows a thing or two about working the crowd, but his day job is where he really makes the grade. Every struggling artist knows the drill: You've got to pay the bills while you wait for that big break. It's a constant struggle for Craig, having one foot in the music world with his band, Nasty Delicious, and having one foot in the teaching world. But if Craig wants to get the girl of his dreams and teach these kids the joys of music, he'll have to buckle down, shape up and get the funk out.

Cast Details:

Craig Robinson as Craig Robinson
Peri Gilpin as Principal Christine Taylor
Brandon T. Jackson as Ben Robinson
Ben Koldyke as Jimmy Hooper
Amandla Stenberg as Halle Foster
Spencer Grammer as Ashleigh Fellows
Tim Bagley as Supervisor Dalton

Craig Robinson (Craig) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and singer. He is best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on The Office. He has also starred in many films, including Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Hot Tub Time Machine and This Is the End.

Peri Gilpin (Principal Christine Taylor) has a long history of television credits, including the popular role of Roz on Fraiser. She has also appeared in series such as 21 Jump Street, Cheers, Matlock, Hot in Cleveland, Drop Dead Diva, and CSI.

Brandon Timothy Jackson (Ben) is a comedian with a long list of film and TV credits. He is known for his roles in the films Roll Bounce, Tropic Thunder, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Lottery Ticket, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters.

Ben Koldyke (Jimmy) is an actor known for recurring roles on popular series such as Big Love and How I Met Your Mother. He also appeared in shows such as Back in the Game, The Newsroom, and 24.

Spencer Grammer (Ashleigh) is known for her appearance on series such as Greek, Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Royals Pains, and Chicago PD. She is the daughter of TV great Kelsey Grammer.

Tim Bagley (Dalton) has appeared in a long list of television shows, including $#!t My Dad Says, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The King of Queens, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Pilot Plot:

We have watched all six episodes for review. The first two will air this Wednesday night. The plots for these episodes are listed below:

"Pilot" (Airs August 5 at 9:00PM ET)

Per a chance encounter, musician Craig (Craig Robinson) decides take a substitute music teacher gig to win over his high-school sweetheart, Victoria (guest star Meagan Good). Things don't go exactly as planned with Victoria, but he connects with the students and colorful faculty.

"Flesh for Fantasy" (Airs August 5 at 9:30PM ET)

When rock legend Neville Rex (guest star Gary Cole) teases Nasty Delicious with a possible record contract, Craig (Craig Robinson) invites Neville to speak to his class in hopes of sealing the deal. But when Neville shows up at school, Craig learns that Principal Taylor (Peri Gilpin) used to date him. And when she falls into her old groupie habits, the faculty is forced to take action. Meanwhile, Victoria (guest star Meagan Good) advises the other teachers on a good investment, but their spending habits get out of control.

Analysis:

Historically, summer has been known as a dead time for television. While everyone is busy frolicking and vacationing in the sun, the networks are counting the days until fall while filling their airwaves with contractual burn-offs and cheap reality programming. Over the past several years, though, the rise of cable and streaming services has led to summer producing just as many worthwhile TV endeavors as any other time of year – if not more. Just this summer we've seen shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Mr. Robot, BoJack Horseman, Rick and Morty, Review and countless others producing top-notch content. Even the broadcast networks are getting in on the trend, with shows like Under the Dome and Wayward Pines generating buzz equal to some of their regular season counterparts. Even on NBC, shows like like The Night Shift and Undateable performed well enough last summer to wind up getting plush spring timeslots the following year. But then we have shows like Mr. Robinson, an obvious burn-off that NBC is throwing to the wolves in the dog days of summer hoping no one will notice. Mr. Robinson has been in development for seemingly forever (NBC gave it a series order way back in January 2014) and the initial excitement over the series has dwindled as its premiere has been constantly pushed back later and later, until it initially became clear that the show had become another victim of NBC's seemingly endless comedy woes.

Mr. Robinson has a talented cast, a somewhat original premise, and some talented writers on board. It's a show that could've theoretically worked – and yet, the final product is a complete mess of a sitcom that has very little idea of what it wants to be. The show completely wastes its talented ensemble with awkward, forced lines, conventional sitcom plots that would've seemed trite even in the 1960s, and an overall sense of intensely embarrassing flopsweat. The pilot follows breaks nearly every rule of a good pilot there is – the dialogue is unnatural and horribly expository (nearly every character has a line in which they clumsily introduce their profession and purpose on the show), the characters are paper-thin and stereotypical, and everything just feels unnecessarily mean-spirited, meaning that not only is the show not funny – it's straight-up unbearable. In a way, it feels like a combination of every accusation thrown against modern multi-camera sitcoms – it's forced, it's awkward, it's not funny despite a roaring laugh track exploding after nearly every line, and everything from the sets to the dialogue to the characters themselves feels painfully artificial.

Conclusion:

Craig Robinson is a talented man, and he deserves some kind of star vehicle. But that star vehicle is absolutely not this mess, which combines all of the worst clichés of a bad multi-camera sitcom into something that honestly kind of seems like it was created to be an argument for the "multi-camera comedy is dead" crowd. (It's not, but this show will briefly make you wish it was.) It's a shame that a show with such potential was ultimately squandered, but it's also not surprising come from NBC, a network that has squandered every bit of potential it's had in the comedy department for the past five years. Hopefully the members of this show's cast and crew can take their talents somewhere where they'll be put to better use.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 1.5/5
Funniness: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Fresh Off the Boat Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Jane Lynch - CBS Fall Preview

    CBS Fall Preview, hosted by the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winner Jane Lynch, star of CBS's new comedy series Angel from Hell, is a primetime special highlighting the Network's five new fall series. It will be broadcast Monday, Sept. 7 from 8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT on the CBS Television Network, and CBS All Access, the Network's digital subscription service. In addition, the special will be available on demand across multiple platforms through Sept. 30, providing viewers with convenient anytime access to information about the Network's new fall lineup. The platforms include CBS.com (http://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs-fall-previews-2015/), the CBS App (www.cbs.com/mobile/), select CBS Audience Network partner sites and participating CBS stations' sites, as well as on demand via the Network's various cable, satellite and telco partners. Throughout the special, Lynch will introduce "first look" behind-the-scenes moments and cast interviews from each of the Network's five new series: Life in Pieces, Limitless, Code Black, Supergirl and Jane Lynch's own series Angel from Hell.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, May 22

    Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

    Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

    All About "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    After the star-studded live sitcom special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” “Nightline” will take a special look at the cultural and historical significance of the two iconic series. Participants in the live sitcom special along with modern-day comedians, television stars and journalists reminisce about each show’s groundbreaking impact and legacy.“Nightline” Presents “All About ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” airs WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (9:31–10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

    The prime-time special features interviews with “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator Norman Lear; host and executive producer Jimmy Kimmel and stars Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Jackée Harry, Ellie Kemper and Kerry Washington; comedians and actors Raven-Symoné, David Alan Grier, Lil’ Rel and John Amos; original “The Jeffersons” cast member Marla Gibbs; and journalists Deborah Roberts, Chris Connelly, Marc Lamont Hill and Joe Levy.

    What We Do in the Shadows - "The Orgy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Tensions run high as the vampires prepare to host the Biannual Vampire Orgy.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

    Wednesday, May 22

    • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Watch John and his daughter Ella Bleu on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Kaitlyn appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also talks about Booksmart on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
    • John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Beanie Feldstein (What We Do in the Shadows) - Beanie is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about Booksmart on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
    • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs/30 Rock) - Elizabeth visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Billy Ray Cyrus (Still the King) - Billy Ray appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Logan Browning (Dear White People/Meet the Browns) - Logan is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback/Web Therapy) - Lisa stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Tracy Pollan (Family Ties) - Tracy appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Eric chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin talks about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) and Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio/The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Jenny and Patton talk about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Ed Asner (Dead to Me/Center of the Universe/Thunder Alley/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Ed and his son Matt are guests on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

    Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

    03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
    03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    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 - 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
    05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    05/22 - Los Espookys Premieres June 14 on HBO; NBC's 5th Annual Red Nose Day Special Brings Out the Stars
    05/21 - Nightline Primetime Special Profiles All in the Family & The Jeffersons; Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Premieres June 10 on Nick
    05/20 - Comedy Central Heads to the South Side This July; Catch the Big Bang Finale Again Tonight
    05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2019)
    05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Network Fall Lineup at a Glance; Rick & Morty Returns in November
    05/17 - Fri-Yay: Big Bang Ends With No Hype?; ABC to Air Farrah Fawcett Documentary
    05/16 - The CW Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Notes from TBS and TNT Upfront
    05/15 - CBS Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Remembering Doris Day and Tim Conway
    05/14 - ABC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Disney Channel Sets Premiere Dates for Raven's Home and Bunk'd
    05/13 - Fox Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Antenna TV's Father Knows Best Father's Day Marathon
    05/12 - NBC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 13, 2019)
    05/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Sitcom Cancellations Ahead of Upfronts; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Returning for Interactive Special
    05/10 - Fri-Yay: Upfronts 2019: Questions for Sitcoms; getTV Celebrates All in the Family Ahead of ABC Live Special
    05/09 - More Pre-Upfront Pick Ups from NBC, ABC and The CW; Fox Schedules BH90210
    05/08 - NBC Picks Up 2 Series Before Upfront; FX Gets 2nd Season of What We Do in the Shadows
    05/07 - AXS TV's The Very VERY Best of the 70s; Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NBC with More Celebs
    05/06 - Kevin Hart Bounce Series Debuts Tonight; Set Sail with Kimmy Schmidt
    05/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 6, 2019)
    05/04 - Pluto TV Adds Special Versions of Popular Viacom Channels; Perfect Strangers to Finish on DVD
    05/03 - Fri-Yay: Ramy Gets 2nd Season on Hulu; ABC Orders black-ish and Spinoff mixed-ish for 2019-20
    05/02 - Hulu 2019 Upfront; Suits and Spinoff to Air Back-to-Back
    05/01 - Fox Gets Unique Fred Savage Series; BH90210 Gets Shannen Doherty for Revival
    04/30 - CBS Announces Big Bang Special on Finale Night; Showtime Gets 2nd Season of Black Monday with Don Cheadle
    04/29 - Disney Channel's Just Roll With It Premieres in June; Alyssa Milano Launches Podcast
    04/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 29, 2019)
    04/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Santa Clarita Diet and Wrecked Both Cancelled; Remembering Dallas Actor Ken Kercheval
    04/26 - Fri-Yay: Status of Sitcoms on Disney+; Gabriel Iglesias Sitcom Launches June 21 on Netflix
    04/25 - Lifetime's Book to Screen Titles in June; The CW Renews Four More for 2019-20
    04/24 - MeTV Network Brings Back The Dick Van Dyke Show; The Detour Returns for Season 4 in June
    04/23 - Antenna TV's Hazel Mother's Day Marathon; Netflix Celebrates Laugh-In's 50th Anniversary
    04/22 - Last Man Standing Renewed for Season 8; NBC Moves Tuesday Series Timeslots