Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CBS Fall Pilot Review: The Crazy Ones - Premieres September 26; Phil Dunphy Takes Over the Santa Monica Pier

Mom

The Crazy Ones - Thursdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:00PM ET/PT


by Todd

Academy Award winner Robin Williams returns to series television in The Crazy Ones, a single-camera workplace comedy about a larger-than-life advertising genius whose unorthodox methods and unpredictable behavior would get him fired… if he weren't the boss. Simon Roberts is the head of a powerful agency, with the biggest clients and brands in the world, but even more important to him is having his daughter Sydney by his side. As his partner, Sydney is Simon’s exact opposite – focused, organized and eager to make a name for herself, but also too busy parenting her father, which she'd resent if he wasn't so brilliant at what he does. Joining them in the firm are the dashing and talented Zach; art director Andrew, who’s as hard-working as he is neurotic; and the beautiful and deceptively smart assistant Lauren. With his team and his daughter behind him, Simon continues to set the advertising world on fire, and it looks like they are definitely buying what these crazy ones are selling.

Cast Details:
Robin Williams as Simon Roberts
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Sydney Roberts
James Wolk as Zach Cropper
Hamish Linklater as Andrew Keanelly
Amanda Setton as Lauren Slotsky

Robin Williams (Simon Roberts) first gained attention as Mork from Ork in the hit television series Mork & Mindy.. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He was previously nominated for Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King.. His many other film credits include Popeye, Patch Adams,, Awakenings, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, One Hour Photo and Night at the Museum.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Sydney Roberts) is best known for her iconic role as Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most recently, she starred in and also served as the executive producer of The Ringer. Her many film credits include I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, Cruel Intentions, Scooby-Doo and The Grudge..

James Wolk (Zach Cropper) joined the cast of Mad Men in the show's sixth season as junior account man Bob Benson. His other television credits include the miniseries Political Animals, Happy Endings, Shameless and Lone Star.

Hamish Linklater (Andrew Keanelly) is best known as Matthew Kimble in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine. His other television credits include The Newsroom, The Good Wife, The Big C and Gideon's Crossing. He has appeared in films such as 42, Lola Versus, Battleship and The Future.

Amanda Setton (Lauren Slotsky) is best known to television audiences for her recurring role as Penelope Shafai in Gossip Girl. Her other television credits include The Mindy Project, Golden Boy, Blue Bloods and One Life to Live.



Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Thursday, September 26 at 9:00PM ET/PT)

Simon must pull out all the stops and convince Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson to record a new twist on a classic advertising jingle for their biggest client.

In the pilot's opening scene, we meet Sydney and Andrew directing some kids in a cookies commercial. Zach talks to Sydney about a meeting with McDonald's executives. Simon boxes with a toy robot and is worried about talking to the executive, Hannah Sharples. Sydney starts the pitch before Simon arrives. He shows them a commercial from 1972 and says they should redo the spot with updated images and a new voice. They are given just one day to find the right voice - somebody who is famous. Sydney, Zach and Andrew have problems finding anybody who is willing to help them. Simon tells them that he is having drinks with Kelly Clarkson in Chicago. Simon and Zach make the trip to pitch the commercial to Kelly. However, Kelly tells them she doesn't do jingles and wants to change her image and talk about sex. After arriving back at the agency, Simon tells Sydney and Andrew that Kelly has agreed to the commercial. Sydney and company are surprised to hear Kelly's rendition of the song. They ask her to make it unsexy. Sydney is finally able to sell the song to Kelly after performing it for her in the cafeteria. The episode closes with Kelly singing the updated song. Simon and Sydney are proud of each other as they leave the office for the day.

Written by David E. Kelley
Directed by Jason Winer
Guest stars: Gail O'Grady as Hannah Sharples, Kelly Clarkson as Herself

Analysis:

The Crazy Ones marks Robin Williams' first regular television role since Mork & Mindy ended in 1982. The series was created by David E. Kelley who has brought audiences many critically-acclaimed television series such as Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal, and Harry's Law. Emmy nominated director Jason Winer, who has worked on Modern Family, directed the pilot episode. He also serves as an executive producer.

I've been a long-time fan of Robin Williams since his Mork & Mindy days. My initial thoughts when I heard that he was returning to television were that I would have preferred to see him in a multi-camera sitcom where he could perform in front of a studio audience and improvise. After viewing the pilot, I think this is the perfect vehicle and character for him. They allow him to do what he does best - be crazy. He does physical comedy, sings, dances and sashays, and performs wacky impressions and voices. Simon Roberts is just a charming and interesting character. The role was written with Williams in mind, so I would expect them to allow him to bring his real life background and events into the series. It seems he will be given plenty of freedom to be himself and improvise. The rest of the cast is strong and work well together as a team. Sarah Michelle Gellar has shown she is a talented and versatile actress. Williams and Gellar have an instant chemistry and a certain sweetness together. I thought Hamish Linklater was an underrated actor on The New Adventures of Old Christine, so it is nice to see him return to another CBS comedy as the neurotic Andrew. I wasn't familiar with Amanda Setton before seeing her here. She doesn't have many scenes or lines in the pilot, but I look forward to seeing her more. The biggest surprise and scene stealer to me in the cast is James Wolk. His scenes with Robin Williams and singing are very funny. They are almost like a father and son duo.

This pilot is well-written, well-acted, and well-produced. It's a fast-paced and crisp episode that wraps up neatly in around 20 minutes. There's a nice mix of comedy, drama and music. The production design is very good. The sets and shooting locations make it look like a real workplace. I like the large caricature painting of Simon above the elevator. There are just fun props to look for in the background. Another factor that adds to the realism is the mention of McDonald's and the display of their logo in the production meeting. It may seem like a bit of a commercial for McDonald's, but the companies who will be referenced apparently don't pay for being included and have no final script approval. The product placement for McDonald's reminds me of the film Mac and Me, but this episode is funny in a good way. Some of the highlights are the pitches and renditions of the song by the cast and guest star Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson is hilarious and delightful playing a version of herself that you've never seen before. Her sexed up version of the McDonald's song is wild. Due to the small size of the main cast, I would expect them to bring in many big name stars as guests. Josh Groban is scheduled to appear in an upcoming episode. Brad Garrett will also be appearing in at least two episodes as the co-founder of the advertising agency.


Conclusion:

The Crazy Ones was one of my most anticipated new comedies of the fall season. The pilot episode doesn't disappoint. It's slickly produced and entertaining. There's something for everybody in this workplace comedy. Robin Williams is back and makes a triumphant return to television. He puts the fun in funny. I can't believe that he is 62 already. He looks good and energetic here. Hopefully he can bring the same level of energy every week. The rest of the ensemble cast is a strong and likable one. I like the chemistry between Williams and Gellar as father and daughter. The tandem of Williams and Wolk also have some funny scenes together. It's pretty clear that the entire cast will enjoy working with a comedic genius like Williams on a weekly basis.

The star power of Williams and Gellar plus airing after the season premiere of the top-rated The Big Bang Theory should bring the pilot a large opening audience. It's a strong pilot that should bring people back for more episodes. This is a promising show that should only get better. The production team led by creator David E. Kelley are proven winners. CBS must have some faith in it to put it at 9pm following another rookie comedy in The Millers. It's an interesting strategy to bookend the two established sitcom hits in The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men around the two freshmen shows. This is the only single-camera comedy on Thursdays, but it should be a good fit and have mass appeal. It will be so nice to see Robin Williams again every week. It's been far too long since he's been on television. Somebody should have been offering him lead roles and the opportunity to bring his humor to the small screen. Get crazy with The Crazy Ones this fall on Thursdays at 9pm on CBS!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Crazy Ones Photo Gallery

    Preview:








  • For one day only Phil Dunphy's bench ad was available for your sitting and viewing pleasure at the Santa Monica Pier in celebration of Modern Family: The Complete Fourth Season's arrival on Blu-ray/DVD. Currently, there 245 Phil Dunphy benches in Los Angeles County not including the one that will be on display in Santa Monica. The area included Claire and Phil Dunphy cut outs so that fans can take and share pictures of themselves with them by the bench. In addition to the benches, they also created a fun Twitter sweeps asking fans to post fun pictures of themselves sitting on a bench. If they tweet one picture to @FoxHomeEnt using the hashtag #ninjainablazer, they will have a chance to win prizes. The sweeps began Monday, September 23 and ends on Monday, September 30. Finally, if you have a moment, dial the number: 1-866-5DUNPHY. Phil Dunphy himself recorded two messages for all fans!

    This past weekend, Modern Family won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series, for the fourth consecutive year. And tonight the fifth season premiere will air on ABC with back-to-back episodes starting at 9|8c. Go Phil!


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Thursday, December 5

    Young Sheldon - "A Party Invitation, Football Grapes and an Earth Chicken" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mary gets Pastor Jeff involved when Sheldon isn’t invited to Billy’s birthday party. Also, George Sr. has “male-bonding time” with Dr. Sturgis.

    The Unicorn - "No Pressure" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Wade pretends to be dating Caroline (Betsy Brandt) to avoid being set up on blind dates by Delia. Also, Ben and Michelle throw an anniversary party for themselves, but have issues with the catering.

    Mom - "Tuna Florentine and a Clean Handoff" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Christy and the ladies rally around Tammy when she has trouble adjusting to early release from parole. Also, Bonnie is disappointed when her perfect birthday gift for Adam gets a lukewarm response.

    Carol's Second Act - "Therapy Dogs" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    As the hospital hosts therapy dogs to help care for their patients, Carol helps Lexie when the emotional burden of being a doctor becomes too “ruff."

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 2)

    Thursday, December 5

    • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Catch Sam on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Lizzy Caplan (Party Down/The Class) - Lizzy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • John Lithgow (Trial and Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
    • Casey Wilson (The Hotwives/Marry Me/Happy Endings), Nico Santos (Superstore) and Chris Hardwick (Guys Like Us) - Casey, Nico and Chris are panelists on Lights Out with David Spade at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
    • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Lea Michele (The Mayor) - Lea appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. She talks about Same Time Next Christmas on ABC's GMA 3: Strahan, Sara & Keke at 1pm.
    • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/The Millers/Sean Saves the World) - Sean appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon) - Iain is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial and Error/Kristin) - Kristin talks about Hallmark Channel's A Christmas Love Story on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT and on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

    Life with Lucy - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season

    10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
    10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
    10/15 - Mom - The Complete Sixth Season
    10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
    10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
    11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
    11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
    11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
    11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
    11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
    11/18 - The Guest Book - Season Two
    11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
    12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
    12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
    12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    12/05 - Antenna TV's News Year's Day with NewsRadio Marathon; American Housewife Star Gets Netflix Comedy Specials
    12/04 - ABC's Schooled Gets Full Sophomore Year; Pop TV Rings in the New Year with Schitt's Creek
    12/03 - Special Guest Hosts on Late Late Show; A Very COZI Christmas Marathon on COZI TV
    12/02 - Roseanne Coming to COZI TV in January; Comedy Central Brings Back 31 Days of Holiday Survival
    12/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 2, 2019)
    11/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: A Look at the Party of Five Reboot; The Simpsons Not Ending Soon, Says Producer
    11/29 - Dove Channel Brings Out Holiday Classics; CW Gets DC Universe Series with Sitcom Star
    11/28 - 2019 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend
    11/27 - CBS Slates I Love Lucy Christmas Special on Dec. 20; Is 2020 the Year of the Rabbit?
    11/26 - New Ted Danson NBC Comedy Gets Holly Hunter; Mel Brooks Gets New HBO Comedy Special
    11/25 - TV One Gets Family Matters and Schedules Holiday Stunts; Disney Channel Sitcom Gets Season 3
    11/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 25, 2019)
    11/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Price is Right and Jeopardy Primetime Specials in the Horizon; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Coming to DVD and Blu-ray
    11/22 - Fri-Yay: Rick and Morty Season 4; ABC Midseason 2020 Schedule
    11/21 - Miracle Workers Returns to TBS; ABC's Summer Fun & Games Lineup Renewed for 2020
    11/20 - Lifetime's Winter Ripped from the Headlines; PIX11 Holiday Lineup
    11/19 - Showtime Gets Vanessa Bayer Comedy Pilot; Jeopardy! Sees Who's the GOAT on ABC Primetime
    11/18 - Viacom's Comedy Central Renews The Office & Parks and Recreation; E! Gets New Jason Kennedy Series
    11/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 18, 2019)
    11/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time Season Premiere Date Set; Brooklyn Nine-Nine Renewed
    11/15 - Fri-Yay: Disney+ Launches; NBC Orders 8th Season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    11/14 - Antenna TV's Classic Christmas Collection and Christmas Through the Years; TBS Orders a Fifth Season of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
    11/13 - 2019 A Very Merry MeTV Lineup; Ricky Gervais Returns to Host Golden Globe Awards
    11/12 - CBS Midseason 2020 Plans Include FBI Spin-off; E! Brings Back The Soup
    11/11 - NBC Midseason 2020 Schedule; The CW Announces Midseason 2020 Lineup
    11/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 11, 2019)
    11/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Off the Boat Coming to an End; Weeds Sequel in the Works
    11/08 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Netflix's Living with Yourself; ABC Orders More Episodes of American Housewife and Bless This Mess
    11/07 - COZI TV's Thanksgiving Weekend Unexpected Guests Marathon; MeTV Salutes Veteran's Day with M*A*S*H
    11/06 - Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family & Good Times on Dec. 18; NBC Orders More Superstore Episodes
    11/05 - ABC 2019 Holiday Specials and Episodes; E! Sets Date for Reality Sitcom