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.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, April 25

    The Big Bang Theory - "The Decision Reverberation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Koothrappali is worried people won’t take him seriously in his own field after publishing a paper that suggests he may have discovered alien life. Also, Leonard wants to be the principal investigator on a plasma physics study.

    Young Sheldon - "A Political Campaign and a Candy Land Cheater" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Unhappy that school funds are going towards football rather than academics, Sheldon decides to run for class president.

    Mom - "Triple Dip and an Overhand Grip" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Bonnie and Tammy revisit childhood memories on a trip to their old foster home. Also, Christy and Jill regret accepting a date with two guys from their AA meeting.

    Life in Pieces - "Misery Turd Name Pills" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    While Joan is bedridden recovering from surgery, she persuades Sophia to spend time with her, which she quickly regrets. Also, Jen and Greg select a name for their new baby only to learn that Matt and Colleen chose the same one; Colleen and Matt invite the family over to get to know Morgan (Joey King); and Heather has a new business idea.

    Superstore - "QuinceaƱera" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Jonah (Ben Feldman) struggles to find his place at Amy’s (America Ferrera) daughter Emma’s quinceaƱera, while Dina (Lauren Ash) proves very popular with some teenage boys. Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Mateo (Nico Santos) are obsessed with seeing Amy cry.

    A.P. Bio - "Sweet Low Road" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When budget cuts threaten to gut Whitlock and put his job in jeopardy, Jack recruits Mary, Stef, and Michelle to take down the Superintendent. Durbin plans an appeal to the heart, while the students plan an appeal to the soul.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Tickling Clocks" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    In an episode that takes place in real time, Jake and the squad must track down a hacker who has infiltrated the Nine-Nine's servers. Rosa deals with relationship issues. Hitchcock and Scully attempt to cook the perfect lasagna.

    Abby's - "Mail Bin" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Abby finds a letter from her estranged father in a pile of unopened mail and opens up to the group about their fraught relationship.

    Better Things - "The Unknown" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Sam gets theatrical.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

    Thursday, April 25

    • Paul Rudd (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/Wild Oats) - Catch Paul on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) - Susan is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Lake Bell (Bless This Mess/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/How to Make It in America) - Lake visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
    • Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan (Tacoma PD) - Steve and Kevin are guests on E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
    • Bradley Cooper (Kitchen Confidential) - Bradley stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Diedrich Bader (American Housewife/Veep/The Drew Carey Show) - Diedrich visits The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James talks about Life in Pieces on People Now at 12pm.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • Laurie Metcalf (The Conners/The McCarthys/Getting On/Roseanne) - Laurie talks about Hillary & Clinton on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the BUILD SERIES at 3pm.
    • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali is a guest on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
    • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) - Billy and Ben talk about Standing Up, Falling Down on the BUILD Series at 1pm.


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

    Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
    02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
    02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
    02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
    02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
    02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
    02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
    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)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    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
    04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2019)
    04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Early Look at 2019-2020 Pilots; Fox Cancels Rel
    04/19 - Fri-Yay: Can One Day at a Time Be Saved?; ABC Honors All in the Family and The Jeffersons For One-Night Only and It's LIVE!
    04/18 - Netflix Gets More Original Comedies Including Mike Myers Series; The CW Summer 2019 Schedule
    04/17 - Archer: 1999 Launches May 29; Hulu Gets More Aidy Bryant
    04/16 - Remembering Georgia Engel of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; BET Gets Another Comedy Series
    04/15 - ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart
    04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2019) 04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Disney Announces New Streaming Service Including Every Episode of The Simpsons; NCIS Gets Renewal from CBS
    04/12 - Fri-Yay: Why NBC's Abby's Deserves a Chance; Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy Q-Force
    04/11 - ABC Summer 2019 Schedule; HBO Renews Barry for 3rd Season
    04/10 - Younger Stays on TV Land for Season 6; ABC Gets Game Show from Ryan Reynolds
    04/09 - Joel McHale Set for Card Sharks on ABC; Christine Lakin to Guest Star on American Housewife
    04/08 - MeTV Presents Rarely Seen Carol Burnett Show Episodes; Sherri Shepherd to Host GSN Trivia Series
    04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2019)
    04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could One Day at a Time Move From Netflix to a Linear Network?; Adam Sandler to Host SNL in May
    04/05 - Fri-Yay: You’re the Worst Ends with a Memorable Finale; Family Guy Heads to Freeform and FXX
    04/04 - ABC Season Finales for May 2019; Lily Collins Set to Star in Paramount Network Series
    04/03 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Boomerang; FX Scores with Vampire Comedy Series
    04/02 - Netflix Schedules Applegate & Cardellini Comedy; NBC Adds More to Summer 2019 Schedule
    04/01 - Better Things Gets 4th Season in 2020; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Returns in May on Fridays
    03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2019)
    03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals for Law & Order SVU and More; Evening Shade Complete Series DVD Release Coming Soon
    03/29 - Fri-Yay: Broad City Goes Out on a High Note; Freeform Summer 2019 Premieres Includes grown-ish
    03/28 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Abby's - Premieres Tonight (March 28); Fox 2019 Finales and Summer 2019 Premieres
    03/27 - Tiffany Haddish Says 'They Ready' for Netflix; CBS Summer 2019 Drama Schedule
    03/26 - TBS Celebrates Family Guy's 20th Anniversary; Apple TV+ Launching This Fall
    03/25 - Hallmark Channel Upfront: New Podcast; ABC Gets 2nd Season of The Conners