Thursday, October 15, 2015

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Truth Be Told - Premieres Friday, Oct. 16; CBS Brings Back 2 Broke Girls in November, Pushes Back New Comedy Angel from Hell


Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told - Fridays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

If you can think it, they will most likely say it in this unabashed new comedy about two diverse couples — Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saved by the Bell) and Tracy (Vanessa Lachey, Dads), and Russell (Tone Bell, Bad Judge) and Angie (Bresha Webb, Love That Girl) — a fearless foursome who are both neighbors and best friends. As they navigate through life side by side, they can’t help but analyze and obsess about everything. From sex and race to anything else your parents told you never to talk about, absolutely no topic is out of bounds for this wildly outspoken group.

Mitch is a college ethics professor, which might explain why he goes through life with a heightened attention to justice. He knows he can’t change the world but is quite determined to change his corner of it. At his side is his beautiful wife of five years, Tracy, who, by day is a tough-as-nails attorney and by night a nurturing mom to their 4-year-old daughter, Sadie.

Their best friends, Russell and Angie, live next door. Russell is Mitch’s male voice of reason. A stand-up comic, Russell has absolutely no fear when it comes to talking to someone or making a scene in public to prove his point. His new bride, Angie, is that spirited special kind of woman who, while married to a guy that’s quite a handful, is able to go toe-to-toe with him at a moment’s notice.

These four friends love and support each other so much that they can talk about any topic in the most honest, candid and humorous ways. They are the kind of conversations people have with their real friends.

Cast Details:


Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Mitch
Tone Bell as Russell
Vanessa Lachey as Tracy
Bresha Webb as Angie

Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Mitch) is best known for his television role as Zack Morris in NBC's Saved by the Bell. Some of his sitcom guest appearances include Murphy Brown, Blossom, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Men at Work and Happy Endings. His drama starring roles include NYPD Blue, Commander in Chief, Raising the Bar and Franklin & Bash.

Tone Bell (Russell) is a stand-up comedian and actor who had a recurring role in VH1's Single Ladies. He starred as RJ the bartender in NBC's Whitney and as Tedward Mulray in Bad Judge. He appeared on Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Mind of a Man and Chelsea Lately.

Vanessa Lachey (Tracy) most recently starred in Fox's Dads, which was executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. She served as co-host served for Total Request Live, MTV Hits, True Beauty and Wipeout. She has guest starred on How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock.

Bresha Webb (Angie) starred in the TV One sitcom Love That Girl. She has had recurring roles in ER and Grey's Anatomy. Some of her other guest appearances include Hung, Raising the Bar, Private Practice and Weeds.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Friday, October 16 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

Angie's (Bresha Webb) ex-boyfriend hooks her up with four tickets to the Jay-Z concert. Her husband, Russell (Tone Bell), is wary, but her best friends Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Tracy (Vanessa Lachey) are thrilled with the opportunity to have a fun night out. But first, Tracy and Mitch have to scramble to find a babysitter for their daughter. Mitch fears Kimberly (guest star Antonimar Murphy), the leading candidate, is too attractive. Meanwhile, Russell voices an even bigger concern about the babysitter.

Analysis:

Truth Be Told is a multi-camera sitcom produced by Universal Television and Will Packer Productions. It's loosely based on the life of writer and executive producer DJ Nash (Growing Up Fisher). Pamela Fryman (How I Met Your Mother) directed the pilot episode. She also serves as an executive producer along with Will Packer (Ride Along). The series was known during production as People Are Talking before the title was changed in July.

In the "Pilot" episode, Mitch and Tracy desperately search for a sitter so they can go to a Jay-Z concert with Russell and Angie. Mitch and Russell debate whether the worker at the Chinese restaurant is faking her accent. Bresha texts Russell that they have four tickets to the Jay-Z concert from her ex-boyfriend, Marcus. The valet mistakenly gives the keys to the Porsche to Mitch because it has a John Mayer cd in it. Tracy and Mitch have dinner at Angie and Russell's, who live 30 feet away. Mitch and Tracy ask their neighbors the Goldmans about their babysitter. Bresha catches Russell mistakenly trying to check her messages on her phone. Russell and Mitch talk about their plans in the car while they sing. Mitch and Tracy interview the hot babysitter, Kimberly. The gang has high tea with Tracy and Mitch's daughter, Sadie, when they meet Kimberly again. Russell thinks Kimberly has done porn in the past, so he and Mitch do an internet search in the car. As everybody is leaving to go to the Jay-Z concert, Mitch blurts out that Kimberly may have possibly done porn. They look at her photos and videos on Facebook before they are confronted by her asking them what they are doing.

Truth Be Told is NBC's only new sitcom this fall. This is a pretty standard multi-camera sitcom, but it has some potential for some funny lines and situations. It's a bit refreshing to see a comedy that doesn't rely on any narration, talking to the camera, flashbacks, quick cutaways or other gimmicks. It's very much an old school sitcom that NBC has brought back in recent seasons after focusing more on single-camera comedies. The cast has some good chemistry already. The scenes with Gosselaar and Bell are very funny, especially when they are singing in the car. There are some good one-liners and even an Urkel reference. Bell is a rising star who has done some under the radar work in Whitney and Bad Judge. The pilot doesn't really provide any background on the characters and their jobs, so it will be interesting to see how they develop. This would have been considered an edgy comedy five or ten years ago, but it seems pretty tame by today's standards.

The cast is talented, experienced and diverse. They would have been hard pressed to put together a more attractive cast and guest stars in the pilot episode. Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns to the network where he got his big starring role in Saved by the Bell. He has mostly starred in dramas, so it's nice to see him in another comedy. Tone Bell is a stand-up comic who looks like a good fit here. Vanessa Lachey has starred in only one other comedy, but she seems like a more experienced veteran. I haven't seen Bresha Webb in many other television appearances, so I look forward to seeing more of her character. The show relies heavily on its four stars, so I thought they could use a few more characters for upcoming storylines. Ashley Tisdale will be recurring as Mitch's younger sister, Sam, in future episodes.


Conclusion:

Truth Be Told has a likable and funny cast. This isn't a groundbreaking comedy, but it does deliver some good laughs. It's not as edgy or controversial with race issues as I had originally thought it would be, but it's clearly geared more towards adults with some of the references. Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns to NBC where he got his break. He shows that he hasn't lost his touch with comedy despite appearing in mostly dramas in recent years. The success of a series often depends on the cast's chemistry. Everybody seems to click in the pilot episode, especially Gosselaar and Bell. Stand-up comic Bell could be one of the breakout stars of the season if he continues to bring the funny every week.

NBC has really abandoned their sitcoms this season. Truth Be Told was the only new comedy to make the fall schedule. It appears to be a good match with Undateable, which is doing all live episodes this season. They are buried on Friday nights, so it will be difficult for them to develop a big audience. This is more of a comedy that you can catch up on a few days later. Truth be told, this is a sitcom worth checking out and sampling. It's not going to appeal to everybody, but I think it has the potential for a decent run on a low rated night where not much will be expected from it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Truth Be Told Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • 2 Broke Girls

    CBS has made a change to its upcoming Thursday comedy return following the conclusion of Thursday Night Football. The fifth season of 2 Broke Girls will premiere Thursday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 PM ET/PT, on the CBS Television Network. The Beth Behrs/Kat Dennings sitcom was due back sometime in 2016, but CBS is bringing it back earlier. As a result, the series premiere of Angel from Hell will move to February 2016. A premiere date will be announced at a later date. Angel from Hell stars Golden Globe and multiple Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch in a single-camera comedy about Amy (Lynch), a colorful, brassy woman who insinuates herself into Allison's (Maggie Lawson) organized and seemingly perfect life, claiming to be her "guardian angel." Allison is an intense, driven doctor who is sure that Amy is just an inebriated, outspoken nut, until every one of her warnings proves true. Cautioned by Amy not tell anyone about her, Allison can't discuss this over-the-top oddball with her father and business partner, Marv (Kevin Pollak), a sunburned dermatologist who shares an office with Allison, or her younger brother, Brad (Kyle Bornheimer), a pharmaceutical sales rep who lives over her garage. As Allison tries to push Amy away, Amy makes her final pitch: her sole mission is to provide Allison with helpful guidance that nudges her in the right direction in life - and it's her final chance to prove herself as an angel. With that, Allison agrees to this unlikely relationship because maybe a weird friend is exactly what she needs... and what if Amy really is her "guardian angel"?

    The CBS Thursday lineup will look like this come November:

    CBS Thursday, Nov. 5
    8:00-8:31 PM The Big Bang Theory (Regular time period)
    8:31-9:01 PM Life In Pieces (Regular time period)
    9:01-9:30 PM Mom (3rd season premiere)
    9:30-10:00 PM The Big Bang Theory (Rebroadcast)
    10:00-11:00 PM Elementary (4th season premiere)

    CBS Thursday, Effective Nov. 12
    8:00-8:31 PM The Big Bang Theory
    8:31-9:01 PM Life In Pieces
    9:01-9:30 PM Mom
    9:30-10:00 PM 2 Broke Girls (5th season premiere)
    10:00-11:00 PM Elementary


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, December 14

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Cousin Eddie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The battle begins between mother and son when Eddie informs Jessica that he wants to spend Christmas with friend Nicole in New York. But Jessica insists that tradition prevails and he needs to spend the holiday with the family, so he does everything within his power to try and get her to crack and allow him to go. Meanwhile, Louis and Evan do their best to try and help an overwhelmed Emery decide on which one of his numerous friends to invite to the family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

    Speechless - "J-I-- JINGLE T-H-- THON" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    A Christmas tree fire leads Maya to tell a small lie with big consequences. Meanwhile, Ray struggles to live in Pepper’s shadow as Dylan twists the knife, and JJ encourages Kenneth to stand up to his sisters (guest stars Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie).

    I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Pioneer Women.” Both were colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. The main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

    “The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

    “The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve, 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Long thought to be lost, the program was rediscovered by CBS in 1989.

    In “Pioneer Women,” Lucy and Ethel’s hopes of joining the posh Society Matrons’ League leads to a bet with their husbands over which sex – the men or the women – had it harder living in a bygone era. They select the turn of the last century, and as Lucy and Ethel start to bake their own bread and churn their own butter, the men become acquainted with straight-blade shaving and riding home from work on horseback. They all have some “‘splainin’” to do when two ladies from the Society Matrons’ League stop by for an unexpected visit.

    “Pioneer Women” was originally broadcast on March 31, 1952, and became an immediate viewer favorite.

    The Dick Van Dyke Show - "The Dick Van Dyke Show -- Now in Living Color!" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    The special features the season one episode “Where Did I Come From,” written by Carl Reiner, and the season four episode “Never Bathe on Saturday,” also written by Reiner. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set – at the beginning and end of the hour – with no interruption between the episodes.

    The Emmy Award-winning series starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as television comedy writer Rob and his wife, Laura Petrie; Larry Matthews as their son, Ritchie; Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie as Buddy Sorrell and Sally Rogers, co-writers on the fictional “The Alan Brady Show”; Carl Reiner as Alan Brady; Richard Deacon as Mel Cooley; Jerry Paris as Dr. Jerry Helper; and Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie Krumbermacher Helper.

    In “Where Did I Come From,” 6-year-old Ritchie asks his parents the inevitable “where did I come from?” question, and they recall the days before his birth. The episode was first presented on Jan. 3, 1961 during the series’ first season.

    In “Never Bathe on Saturday,” the Petries’ romantic second honeymoon becomes a disaster when Laura’s toe gets caught in a bath spout. The episode was first presented on March 31, 1965, during season four.

    Last Man Standing - "The Gift of the Mike Guy" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Vanessa helps the family realize the importance of its long-standing holiday family traditions.

    The Cool Kids - "Margaret Dates the Zodiac Killer" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Margaret begins dating Karl, a fellow resident who may or may not be the "Zodiac Killer."

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

    Friday, December 14

    • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Watch Karen on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She talks about The Party's Just Beginning on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
    • Tony Shalhoub (Wings/We Are Men) - Watch Tony on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Laura Linney (The Big C) and Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Bryan, Laura and Nick make special guest appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Bill is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Romany Malco (Weeds/Blunt Talk) - Romany is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn talks about the film Private Life on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Minnie Driver (Speechless/About a Boy) - Minnie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Angela Kinsey (The Office/Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Angela and her husband Joshua Snyder serve up monkey bread and chocolate peppermint cupcakes on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa talks about Second Act on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Chris Elliott (Schitt's Creek/Get a Life) - Chris talks about Clara's Ghost on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Tia Mowry (Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about Hallmark Channel's A Gingerbread Romance on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.


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

    The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
    10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
    10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
    10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
    10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
    11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
    11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
    11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
    11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
    11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
    11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
    12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
    12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
    12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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