Tuesday, October 01, 2013

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Super Fun Night - Premieres Oct. 2; Fox Flips Those Burgers for Season 5 of Bob's Burgers

Super Fun Night

Super Fun Night - Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Super Fun Night is a new single-camera comedy from Conan O'Brien starring breakout actress Rebel Wilson that stars a group of misfit young adults vowing to get out of their houses every Friday night and have a "super fun night" together. The series also follows Wilson's character Kimmy Boubier as she attempts to sustain a successful career as a lawyer while still maintaining her unique personality.

Cast Details:

Rebel Wilson as Kimmy Boubier
Liza Lipara as Helen-Alice
Lauren Ash as Marika
Kevin Bishop as Richard Lovell
Kate Jenkinson as Kendall

Rebel Wilson (Kimmy Boubier) is an Australian actress with a large background in comedy, including the Australian comedy Pizza and the musical comedy series Bogan Pride – which she wrote, produced, and starred in. Her breakout role in the United States came in 2011's Bridesmaids, and her fame escalated in 2012 after starring in the popular musical-comedy film Pitch Perfect.

Liza Lipara (Helen-Alice) has recently starred in sitcoms such as Traffic Light and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. She has also appeared in a handful of films, including Domino, The Big Band Swim, and Crazy Stupid Love. She has also guest starred in many shows, including NCIS, Dexter, ER, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos.

Lauren Ash (Marika) has starred in several television series, including Almost Heroes and Howie Do It. She also has written for several shorts and mini-seires, including Trashy Affair and Facebook of Revelations.

Kevin Bishop (Richard Lovell) is an English comedian best known for his show The Kevin Bishop Show. He has also starred in films such as Muppet Treasure Island, Grange Hill, and Dick Whittington.

Kate Jenkinson (Kendall) is an Australian actress best known for her work on the comedy The Wedge. She has also starred in films such as Rush, Bogan Pride, Canal Road, and Newstopia.


Pilot Plot:

"Anything for Love" (airs Wednesday, October 2 at 9:30 PM ET/PT)

In the premiere episode of Super Fun Night, Kimmie wants the gang to broaden their horizons and try something they've never done before – but her attitude changes when she is forced to face her fear of singing in public and perform at a piano bar. Meanwhile, Kendall can't understand why Richard and Kimmie are friends and plans to do something about it. This episode is actually the second episode of the series - ABC appears to be skipping the pilot for now.

Analysis:

It is not hard to see how Super Fun Night could be a good show. Rebel Wilson almost seems born to be a big TV star, with an appealing personality and a great sense of humor that's destined to appeal to mass audiences. The show also has a pretty impressive writing staff on deck - most notably its showrunner, longtime 30 Rock writer John Riggi. It has a vibe that is very reminiscent of the dearly departed Happy Endings, a hilarious show with an all-star cast that unfortunately never picked up enough of an audience. It desperately wants to capture that hang-out vibe that Happy Endings as well as shows like New Girl and Cougar Town have been able to nail down to a tee, the kind of show where you almost feel like you're just hanging out with a bunch of friends every time you sit down and watch it. When done right, these kinds of comedies are often some of the most fun shows on TV, and maintain a connection to their audience that few shows can match. But a hang-out comedy is really hard to do right. It needs incredibly strong jokes and intensely relatable characters that can keep its viewers entertained, despite the relative lack of premise. Without this, the show can feel cloying and directionless, meandering around and trying to do just about anything to keep you entertained. That's why I'm always really weary of hang-out comedies. The good ones are often among my favorite shows on TV, but the bad ones are always a serious chore to sit through.

Super Fun Night, unfortunately, mostly falls into the latter category. It's not terrible, and there are some really funny jokes in the mix. Rebel Wilson remains an appealing comic force, although her energy is toned down a lot from her Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect characters (not necessarily a bad decision, because those characters would be far too broad to build a good sitcom around). The other performances are mostly fine, although Liza Lipara is the only one who really gets a chance to do anything at all. It's just sort of a show that really has almost nothing to it at this point, other than "here's Rebel Wilson in a sitcom." The premise is paper-thin and the show barely pays any attention to it at all, instead relying on a very contrived storyline about Kimmy facing stage fright that wouldn't feel out of place on a Disney or Nick sitcom. There's weirdly a total lack of comic momentum, as the show will move from periods of rapid-fire jokes to long stretches without anything resembling jokes at all. I'm not expecting to laugh too much at a pilot, but there are periods where it feels like the show just flat-out forgot that it's a comedy and it's supposed to be funny. We don't really get any sense of why these people are friends with each other or what kind of relationship they have with each other - there's a mild resentment forming between Kimmy and Kendall that apparently is related to their affection for Richard, but it's not given the development it needs to make an impact. It's possible that some of this was explained in the scrapped pilot, but none of it's made clear in the episode that's now being used as the shows' premiere. In short, there's really nothing here to hate – it's not, say, Dads - but there's really nothing to like, either.

Having said that, I wouldn't be completely surprised if this show became the best comedy on TV by the end of its first season (assuming it lasts that long). These kinds of shows take time to develop into something worthwhile – the early episodes of Happy Endings, New Girl, and Cougar Town had some of the same issues, before eventually finding their voice, developing their characters and turning into top-notch hang-out sitcoms. I'm not completely optimistic, because the problems here feel more significant than the problems with any of those shows at their starts. But it's not a show I'm willing to write off completely just yet.

Conclusion:

Super Fun Night isn't a trainwreck, but it's also really nothing worth checking out at this point, unless you're a big Rebel Wilson fan and want to see her in a TV comedy. There are promising elements at play here – a solid creative team, a great leading lady, some pretty good joke writing – but the show is held back by its aimlessness and its lack of definition in just about every category. There's no clear premise or brand of humor, and any character that isn't played by Rebel Wilson feels like a hollow archetype. These are fixable problems, and hopefully the show will remedy them over the course of the first season. Until then, this feels very much like a sitcom that should amount to much more than it does.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Super Fun Night Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • Bob's Burgers

    Fox has renewed the Emmy Award-nominated Bob's Burgers for a fifth season, ordering 22 additional episodes of the hit animated series. The fourth "broadcast" season premiered on Sunday night (Sept. 29). The series is still fulfilling its third season episode order to start this fourth season. The fifth season order will have episodes airing through the 2015-16 season. Last season, Bob's Burgers was a Top 10 comedy among Men 18-49, Men 18-34 and is one of the Top 10 comedies among Male Teens. Additionally, Bob's Burgers was one of only two broadcast comedies to post year-over-year gains (+10%) among Adults 18-49. On the season premiere this past Sunday, "A River Runs Through Bob," Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Linda (John Roberts) and the kids go on a camping adventure and face the perils of nature...and Bob's intestines.

    Bob's Burgers follows the ups and downs of Bob (Benjamin), who runs Bob's Burgers with the help of his wife, Linda (Roberts), and their three kids, Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal). Bob has big ideas about burgers, but his family falls short on service. Despite the greasy counters and lousy location, Bob and his family are determined to make every "Grand Re-Re-Re-opening" a success. This past season, the series received its second Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Animated Comedy Series."


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, July 30

    Bunk'd - "Moose Queens and Possum Kings" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Destiny needs someone old enough to enter the Summer Moose Queen Pageant, she enlists Parker and Ava for help.

    Gabby Duran & the Unsittables - "A Song of Gabby & Susie" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Gabby teams up with her bitter rival, Susie, to masquerade as best friends to win a contest to meet her favorite book author.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 26)

    Friday, July 30

    • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Molly Ringwald (The Facts of Life/Townies) - Molly talks about The Kissing Booth 3 on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney chats about Touch Me with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Dove Cameron (Schmigadoon!/Liv and Maddie) - Dove appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jay Pharoah (White Famous/Champaign ILL) - Jay talks about his role in the new Netflix series Resort to Love on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Don Johnson (Kenan) - Don appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Julie Andrews (Julie) - Julie appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael appears on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen is a guest on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia whips up the perfect breakfast for kids, overnight oats in the shape of Elmo, on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

    Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)

    03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
    03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
    04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
    05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
    07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
    07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
    07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    08/03 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    07/30 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest Are Promising Comedies on Apple TV+; Paramount+ Announces Cast for The Game Revival
    07/29 - Sarah Silverman Hosting David Letterman Produced TBS Series; More Stars Joining And Just Like That...
    07/28 - Game Show Network Announces New Original Series; Retta Hosting New HGTV Show
    07/27 - Fox Fall 2021 Premiere Dates; B.J. Novak's The Premise to Premiere on FX on Hulu
    07/26 - Damon Wayans Jr. to Host Frogger; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Getting All-Star Guests
    07/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 26, 2021)
    07/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Manifest Cancellation Being Reconsidered; American Housewife Sold for Broadcast Syndication
    07/23 - Fri-Yay: 2021 Emmy Nominations Heavy on New Comedies, Light on Traditional Sitcoms; That Damn Michael Che Gets a Second Season
    07/22 - Lifetime Announces Justina Machado TV Movie; ABC News to Focus on Superstars
    07/21 - HBO Max's Love Life Season 2 Announces Cast; Kevin Hart and Jason Biggs Host Back-to-Back Shows on E!
    07/20 - Peacock's Superfan Episodes of The Office; The Other Two Season 2 Launch Date on New Network HBO Max
    07/19 - Melrose Place Reunion on Fox's New Fantasy Island; Tacoma FD Returns Sept. 16 on truTV
    07/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 19, 2021)
    07/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jerry O'Connell Joins the Conversation on The Talk; Norman Lear Sitcoms Arrive on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV
    07/16 - ABC Fall 2021 Premiere Dates Includes The Wonder Years; Paramount+ Renews iCarly
    07/15 - Norman Lear Classics to Stream on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV; Cristela Alonzo to Host Hidden Temple on The CW
    07/14 - 73rd Emmy Awards Nominations; Showtime Orders Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Comedy
    07/13 - Emmy Awards Slated for Sep. 19, CBS Fall Premiere Dates; Remembering Charlie Robinson - Mac from Night Court
    07/12 - Huge Star Joining Season 5 of Search Party on HBO Max; Late Night Talk Show Pause with Sam Jay to Return
    07/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 12, 2021)
    07/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting News for Night Court Reboot; Rutherford Falls Renewed for Second Season
    07/09 - Fri-Yay: CNN's History of the Sitcom Looks Like a Treat for Sitcom Fans; Rutherford Falls Renewed for 2nd Season; Remembering Suzzanne Douglas of The Parent 'Hood
    07/08 - COZI TV Acquires 3rd Rock from the Sun and Quincy, M.E. This Summer; The Standups to Return to Netflix After Long Hiatus
    07/07 - AnTENna TV's Birthday Party Continues on July 10; HBO Max's Our Flag Means Death Adds More to Cast
    07/06 - Netflix Cancels 4 Sitcoms Including Kevin James Series; HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars Casts Two Leads
    07/05 - Happy 4th of July; Limited Edition Younger Vinyl Soundtrack Coming July 16; Seinfeld Soundtrack Released
    07/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 5, 2021)
    07/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Cancels Several Sitcoms; Telma Hopkins Cast in NBC Dark Dramedy Pilot
    07/02 - Fri-Yay: Modern Family is a Perfect Holiday Weekend Binge; Spike Lee to Open NBA Finals
    07/01 - The Simpsons and Marvel Join Forces on Disney+; Netflix Orders Catherine Tate Comedy Series
    06/30 - Two Season 2 Premieres This August: Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens on Aug. 18; Work in Progress on Aug. 22