Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pop Mid-Season Pilot Review: Return of the Mac - Premieres Tonight (April 12); GSN to Air Hollywood Game Night Reruns

Return of the Mac

Return of the Mac - Wednesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Pop
Premieres Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Return of the Mac is a scripted comedy starring boy band heartthrob Joey McIntyre as a version of himself alongside his real-life family - wife Barrett and their three children, Griffin (8), Rhys (6) and Kira (5). As he embarks on a hilarious quest to be taken seriously as a legit actor, Joey is thrown into the reluctant role of a talk show host at a fledgling cable network called The Comfy Channel. As Joey starts to navigate the talk show circuit, he is joined by his often misguided manager and team played by a hysterical cast.

Cast Details:

Joey McIntyre as Himself
Adam Ray as Alex
Jamie Denbo as Sam
Punam Patel as Soozie
Jordan Black as Jordan

Joey McIntyre is a music artist and actor formerly of the popular boy band New Kids on the Block. He is also an actor, appearing in films such as The Heat and Tony n Tina's Wedding and in several off-Broadway productions along with the sitcom The McCarthys.

Adam Ray (Alex) is a comic actor who has appeared in comedy films such as The Heat and Ghostbusters (2016), as well as in TV series such as MAD TV and Rick and Morty.

Jamie Denbo (Sam) is a television actress and comedian known for her role on the FX cult classic Terriers. She also appeared on various other television shows, including Happy Endings, How I Met Your Mother, Speechless, and The Real O'Neals.

Punam Patel (Soozie) is an actress known for her roles in series such as Kevin from Work, Life in Pieces, East Los High, and Movie Nights.

Jordan Black (Jordan) is an actor who has appeared in films such as Bridesmaids and Bewitched and in various television shows, such as Community, Life in Pieces, and True Jackson VP.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs April 12 at 8:30PM ET)

Joe goes to the Comfy Channel to pitch a drama series but is bait-and-switched into hosting his own late night talk show instead.

Analysis:

TV shows that center around show business can be tricky. There are many that succeed – in fact, shows centering around people working in the industry has been a bit of a trend in the last 10 years or so – but it's so easy for shows about, well, shows to feel self-congratulatory and exclusive, given that the large majority of television viewers are completely unfamiliar with the inner workings of the industry. "Inside baseball" shows need to prove their worth – why should we interested in watching a show about people whose everyday lives are so far removed from ours? Some shows answer this quandary by being bitingly satirical, getting laughs out of making fun of the grand excess of show business (such as 30 Rock or The Larry Sanders Show), while others take an earnest approach and attempt to focus on celebrities as people rather than, well, celebrities (such as autobiographical comedies like Louie or Maron). Return of the Mac seems to want to handle both approaches – at times, it feels like it's trying to be an off-the-wall, 30 Rock-esque take down of the entertainment industry, and at other times it wants us to truly understand and sympathize with Joey's struggles. Unfortunately, this unsteady balance makes Return of the Mac feel unformed and directionless, and as a result, the show just never quite works.

The show's satire is far less pointed than it wants to be, but there are times where it does land, particularly when it's hanging out with the Cozy Network executives, who are genuinely funny and even feel like a somewhat fresh angle on bland network content directions. The show feels like it's at its most comfortable when it's lampooning some of the more left-field antics of the industry that a former child star might have to deal with, such as when it's tearing down the fake artificial sweetness of network exec meetings or a Dancing With the Stars-spoofing Celebrity Trapeeze show in the pilot. What really lets the show down is the lack of any reason why we should be expected to care about anything that happens to Joey other than the fact that he's a former boy band member who was pretty famous once. Joey is pretty awful to his wife and kids through-out the two episodes screened for critics, and it's not apparent that the show is aware of it or interested in calling him out on it. We're constantly told that he's a great actor, but we don't see any real evidence of it, which makes it hard to root for his successes. Really, all you need to know about the show's priorities comes from the fact that "Joey settles for a late-night talk show gig" is apparently supposed to elicit sympathy from the audience. The characters of Return of the Mac are incredibly privileged, shallow and have little self-awareness, which would be fine if the show seemed interested in calling them out on it – unfortunately, it doesn't, and the show ultimately feels like a lot of narcissistic navel-gazing, with the occasional funny punchline.

Conclusion:

Return of the Mac has some glimmers of being a solid showbiz satire, and there are moments where it's genuinely funny, particularly when it's leaning into its more biting side. Unfortunately, the show struggles with a cast of characters who are pretty unlikable, and it's not apparent that the show is aware of it. While it could be a show that calls out some of the more ridiculous aspects of working in the entertainment industry, it seems more interested in exploring those excesses rather than satirizing them, which makes the show feel self-obsessed and hollow, with an occasional solid punchline that's not enough to make it feel worthwhile.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2.5/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Pop Official Site
  • TV.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Return of the Mac Photo Gallery

    Preview:




  • Hollywood Game Night - Jane Lynch

    GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced it will begin airing the first four seasons of the hit game show, Hollywood Game Night, beginning with a special five-night event, with the show airing Monday through Friday at 9:00pm ET (8pm CT) beginning Monday, April 17. The show will then move into its regular Tuesdays at 9:00pm and 10:00pm timeslots beginning April 25.

    Jane Lynch, multiple Emmy and Golden Globe award winner, including two Emmys for Hollywood Game Night, serves as host of the show, which features two contestants who are transported from their everyday lives into a night of fun and celebration with two teams of celebrities. At the end, one of the two contestants will walk away with a cash prize and a night of stories and memories. Part Hollywood club and part casual game night, the series features well-known names from the world of television, film, sports, politics and more. Celebrities featured during the first week of shows includes Jason Alexander, Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell, Allison Hannigan, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Martin Short and many more.


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

    The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

    03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
    03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
    03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
    03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
    03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
    03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
    03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
    03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
    03/21 - Master of None - Season One
    04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
    04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
    04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
    04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, April 26

    The Goldbergs - "Fonzie Scheme" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Murray is honored as one of Jenkintown’s top businessmen, his plaque is hung on a wall with all of the other honorees. And soon Beverly is dismayed to learn he has no discernable hobbies, and her attempts to help him find some backfire. Meanwhile, Barry creates a scheme stealing golf carts, but the situation goes awry and Erica comes to save the day.

    Speechless - "R-U-N-- RUNAWAY" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Maya learns JJ attempted to run away, she is determined to help him complete the task as any able-bodied person could, but her actions exasperate JJ, as he longs for independence. Meanwhile, Jimmy struggles to have hard talks with the kids without Maya, and Dylan tries to get Kenneth to revive his glory days as a high school sports star.

    black-ish - "Sister, Sister" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Bow’s sister comes to town after filming a stint on a reality show, and they couldn’t have less in common. Meanwhile, Zoey suggests that Dre spend more time with Junior since she’s leaving for college, and Jack and Diane decide to rebrand themselves.

    black-ish - "All Groan Up" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Zoey gets into several colleges around the country, Dre and Bow begin to feel worried and sentimental. They reflect back on memories they’ve had with the family and wonder what life will be like without her around all the time. Pops enlists the twins to try and sway Zoey to go to college in a city they want to visit.

    Nobodies - "Not the Emmys" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    It’s Award season! Larry, Rachel and Hugh are going to the Annies… while all their Groundlings friends are going to the Emmys.

    Lopez - "No Country Club for Young Men" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    George gets Hector a job at his country club, but he falls in with a bad crowd of rich kids. Olly's little sister rolls back into town while Manolo struggles to stay focused in his GED class.

    Hollywood Darlings - "Driving Miss Jodie" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Jodie must choose between a sports car and a minivan; Christine's dream of participating in an exclusive yoga class is thwarted by a loud-breathing celebrity classmate.

    Return of the Mac - "The Wrong Stuff" (Pop, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Feeling threatened by newly appointed sidekick Joey Fatone, Joe heads to a comedy club to hone his comedy monologue skills.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 24)

    Wednesday, April 26

    • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris and the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite) - Maria appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • Henry Zebrowski (A to Z) - Henry is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
    • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Anna Chlumsky (Veep) - Anna stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri talks about the disease she won’t let destroy her on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your loclal listings.
    • Felicity Huffman (Sports Night) - Felicity makes pecan bars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
    • Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Full House) - Jodie is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.