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

    Friday, September 18

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 14)

    Friday, September 18

    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) - Dan appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • John Cleese (Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)) - John will be on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Glenn Howerton (A.P. Bio/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/The Mindy Project/That '80s Show) - Glenn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen will be on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/The Millers/Sean Saves the World) - Sean is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany appears on repeats of The Wendy Williams Show and The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) and Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - The Kelly Clarkson Show has the most uplifting moments featuring Tracee and Olivia, so check your local listings.
    • Gabourey Sidibe (Difficult People/The Big C) and Kiersey Clemons (Angie Tribeca/Transparent) - Gabourey and Kiersey talk about Antebellum on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death) - Jason talks about Fargo on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August/September)

    Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season

    06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
    06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
    06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
    06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
    06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
    06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
    06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
    06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
    06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
    06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
    06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
    07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
    07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
    07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
    07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
    07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
    08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
    08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
    08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
    08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)

    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    09/17 - ABC Officially Orders Katey Sagal Series, Cancels Stumptown; SNL Goes Live All October
    09/16 - CBS All Access to Rebrand as Paramount+ in 2021; Fox Says Let's Be Real About Election
    09/15 - Netflix Announces Good Times Animated Comedy; More Details on Fresh Prince Reunion on HBO Max
    09/14 - Disney+ Orders Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.; TBS Version of Wipeout Announces Hosts
    09/13 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 14, 2020)
    09/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Prince Reunion Brings Unexpected Pair Back Together; Doogie Howser Reboot Officially Picked Up
    09/11 - Fri-Yay: Sister, Sister Soars on Netflix; ABC Comedies Returning October 21 for New Seasons
    09/10 - TBS Celebrates American Dad! 300th Episode with Special Night; NBC Alters Schedule Due to Possible NHL Stanley Cup Finals
    09/09 - COZI TV's The Lone Ranger The Masked Man Marathon; Peacock Gets Fresh Prince Dramatic Series
    09/08 - TNT Salutes 15th Anniversary of Supernatural; Alyssa Milano Says Own the Vote 2020 in Webinar Series
    09/07 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2020
    09/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 7, 2020)
    09/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mom Set for New Season Without Star; Chelsea Handler Sells Half Hour Comedies to Peacock and HBO Max
    09/04 - Fri-Yay: Fall Network TV Schedule Is Scarce on Sitcoms; Laff's How I Met Your Mother Labor Day Weekend Launch Marathon
    09/03 - Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween 2020 Schedule; Dancing with the Stars Season 29 Cast
    09/02 - black-ish Returns with Special Episodes on Election; Shout! Factory TV and Pluto TV Launches The Carol Burnett Show Channel
    09/01 - HBO Max Slates The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special; Ayo Edebiri Replaces Jenny Slate as Missy on Big Mouth
    08/31 - Home Improvement Tool Time Reunion on History Series; Bunk'd Adds to Cast
    08/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 31, 2020)
    08/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Series to Begin Production; Fox Eyeing X-Files as Animated Comedy
    08/28 - Fri-Yay: Another Sitcom Lookback - Cheers; ABC and NBC Alter Fall 2020 Schedules
    08/27 - Nick at Nite Acquires Young Sheldon for November 2020; CBS and Fox Alter Fall 2020 Lineup
    08/26 - MeTV Fall 2020 Schedule; REELZ Announces Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy Special
    08/25 - Has America Jumped the Shark? Hollywood TV Writers Join Forces for Special; Kelly Clarkson Show Premieres Season 2 on Sept. 21
    08/24 - Showtime Picks Up Comedy Series with Big Stars; Three Comedians Get Comedy Specials on HBO Max
    08/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 24, 2020)
    08/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Comedy Central Cancels Tosh.0 Despite Four Season Renewal; Saved by the Bell Pop Up Experience Arrives in Social Distancing Era
    08/21 - Fri-Yay: The Lasting Impact of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; BET Sets Premiere Date for Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Assisted Living
    08/20 - Apple TV+ Comedy Ted Lasso Scores 2nd Season; Lilly Singh Goes Primetime; 15 Years of the SitcomsOnline Blog
    08/19 - ABC Sets Sept. 14 Premiere for Dancing with the Stars with Tyra Banks; A.P. Bio Gets Podcast on Peacock As Well
    08/18 - The CW Fall 2020 Premiere Dates; grown-ish All Nighter-ish Marathon
    08/17 - E! Orders More Celebrity Game Face Episodes; Nina Dobrev Gets Romantic on Netflix