Tuesday, August 04, 2015

NBC Summer Pilot Review: Mr. Robinson - Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 5; CBS Fall 2015 Preview Hosted by Jane Lynch

Mr. Robinson

Mr. Robinson - Wednesdays at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

As lead singer and keyboardist of the funk band Nasty Delicious, Craig knows a thing or two about working the crowd, but his day job is where he really makes the grade. Every struggling artist knows the drill: You've got to pay the bills while you wait for that big break. It's a constant struggle for Craig, having one foot in the music world with his band, Nasty Delicious, and having one foot in the teaching world. But if Craig wants to get the girl of his dreams and teach these kids the joys of music, he'll have to buckle down, shape up and get the funk out.

Cast Details:

Craig Robinson as Craig Robinson
Peri Gilpin as Principal Christine Taylor
Brandon T. Jackson as Ben Robinson
Ben Koldyke as Jimmy Hooper
Amandla Stenberg as Halle Foster
Spencer Grammer as Ashleigh Fellows
Tim Bagley as Supervisor Dalton

Craig Robinson (Craig) is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and singer. He is best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on The Office. He has also starred in many films, including Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Hot Tub Time Machine and This Is the End.

Peri Gilpin (Principal Christine Taylor) has a long history of television credits, including the popular role of Roz on Fraiser. She has also appeared in series such as 21 Jump Street, Cheers, Matlock, Hot in Cleveland, Drop Dead Diva, and CSI.

Brandon Timothy Jackson (Ben) is a comedian with a long list of film and TV credits. He is known for his roles in the films Roll Bounce, Tropic Thunder, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Lottery Ticket, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters.

Ben Koldyke (Jimmy) is an actor known for recurring roles on popular series such as Big Love and How I Met Your Mother. He also appeared in shows such as Back in the Game, The Newsroom, and 24.

Spencer Grammer (Ashleigh) is known for her appearance on series such as Greek, Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Royals Pains, and Chicago PD. She is the daughter of TV great Kelsey Grammer.

Tim Bagley (Dalton) has appeared in a long list of television shows, including $#!t My Dad Says, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The King of Queens, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Pilot Plot:

We have watched all six episodes for review. The first two will air this Wednesday night. The plots for these episodes are listed below:

"Pilot" (Airs August 5 at 9:00PM ET)

Per a chance encounter, musician Craig (Craig Robinson) decides take a substitute music teacher gig to win over his high-school sweetheart, Victoria (guest star Meagan Good). Things don't go exactly as planned with Victoria, but he connects with the students and colorful faculty.

"Flesh for Fantasy" (Airs August 5 at 9:30PM ET)

When rock legend Neville Rex (guest star Gary Cole) teases Nasty Delicious with a possible record contract, Craig (Craig Robinson) invites Neville to speak to his class in hopes of sealing the deal. But when Neville shows up at school, Craig learns that Principal Taylor (Peri Gilpin) used to date him. And when she falls into her old groupie habits, the faculty is forced to take action. Meanwhile, Victoria (guest star Meagan Good) advises the other teachers on a good investment, but their spending habits get out of control.

Analysis:

Historically, summer has been known as a dead time for television. While everyone is busy frolicking and vacationing in the sun, the networks are counting the days until fall while filling their airwaves with contractual burn-offs and cheap reality programming. Over the past several years, though, the rise of cable and streaming services has led to summer producing just as many worthwhile TV endeavors as any other time of year – if not more. Just this summer we've seen shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Mr. Robot, BoJack Horseman, Rick and Morty, Review and countless others producing top-notch content. Even the broadcast networks are getting in on the trend, with shows like Under the Dome and Wayward Pines generating buzz equal to some of their regular season counterparts. Even on NBC, shows like like The Night Shift and Undateable performed well enough last summer to wind up getting plush spring timeslots the following year. But then we have shows like Mr. Robinson, an obvious burn-off that NBC is throwing to the wolves in the dog days of summer hoping no one will notice. Mr. Robinson has been in development for seemingly forever (NBC gave it a series order way back in January 2014) and the initial excitement over the series has dwindled as its premiere has been constantly pushed back later and later, until it initially became clear that the show had become another victim of NBC's seemingly endless comedy woes.

Mr. Robinson has a talented cast, a somewhat original premise, and some talented writers on board. It's a show that could've theoretically worked – and yet, the final product is a complete mess of a sitcom that has very little idea of what it wants to be. The show completely wastes its talented ensemble with awkward, forced lines, conventional sitcom plots that would've seemed trite even in the 1960s, and an overall sense of intensely embarrassing flopsweat. The pilot follows breaks nearly every rule of a good pilot there is – the dialogue is unnatural and horribly expository (nearly every character has a line in which they clumsily introduce their profession and purpose on the show), the characters are paper-thin and stereotypical, and everything just feels unnecessarily mean-spirited, meaning that not only is the show not funny – it's straight-up unbearable. In a way, it feels like a combination of every accusation thrown against modern multi-camera sitcoms – it's forced, it's awkward, it's not funny despite a roaring laugh track exploding after nearly every line, and everything from the sets to the dialogue to the characters themselves feels painfully artificial.

Conclusion:

Craig Robinson is a talented man, and he deserves some kind of star vehicle. But that star vehicle is absolutely not this mess, which combines all of the worst clich├ęs of a bad multi-camera sitcom into something that honestly kind of seems like it was created to be an argument for the "multi-camera comedy is dead" crowd. (It's not, but this show will briefly make you wish it was.) It's a shame that a show with such potential was ultimately squandered, but it's also not surprising come from NBC, a network that has squandered every bit of potential it's had in the comedy department for the past five years. Hopefully the members of this show's cast and crew can take their talents somewhere where they'll be put to better use.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 1.5/5
Funniness: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Fresh Off the Boat Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Jane Lynch - CBS Fall Preview

    CBS Fall Preview, hosted by the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winner Jane Lynch, star of CBS's new comedy series Angel from Hell, is a primetime special highlighting the Network's five new fall series. It will be broadcast Monday, Sept. 7 from 8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT on the CBS Television Network, and CBS All Access, the Network's digital subscription service. In addition, the special will be available on demand across multiple platforms through Sept. 30, providing viewers with convenient anytime access to information about the Network's new fall lineup. The platforms include CBS.com (http://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs-fall-previews-2015/), the CBS App (www.cbs.com/mobile/), select CBS Audience Network partner sites and participating CBS stations' sites, as well as on demand via the Network's various cable, satellite and telco partners. Throughout the special, Lynch will introduce "first look" behind-the-scenes moments and cast interviews from each of the Network's five new series: Life in Pieces, Limitless, Code Black, Supergirl and Jane Lynch's own series Angel from Hell.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 20

    The Goldbergs - "An Itch Like No Other" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    With Beverly’s encouragement, Mr. Glascott moves in next door to the Goldbergs and slowly goes from friendly neighbor to cluelessly intrusive. Adam and Murray become increasingly disgruntled while Beverly comes up with a plan to occupy Mr. Glascott’s time with a new friend, Mr. Woodburn. Meanwhile, Barry lands in urgent care with a case of poison ivy in a compromising area – his rear end. Erica and Geoff are called to task to take care of Barry and his ridiculous demands – inadvertently testing their parenting skills and patience with one another.

    The Wonder Years - "The Lock In" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Dean is reluctant to attend the annual church lock-in until Kim tells him it’s where she got her first kiss. He enlists his friends to help him pair up with Keisa, but his plans are thwarted when he instead gets paired up with the pastor’s daughter, Charlene.

    The Conners - "Trucking Live in Front of a Fully Vaccinated Studio Audience -- East Coast" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Lights, Camera, Action: “The Conners” is going live for both the East and West Coast broadcasts of the season four premiere episode. This iconic TV family continues to deal with the current pandemic while navigating breakups and newfound sobriety, all while planning an upcoming wedding.

    Home Economics - "Giant Jenga, $120" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Tom spirals when Connor dates a woman who broke his heart at summer camp. Then, family game night becomes an all-or-nothing competition between Marina and Denise.

    Superstar - "Robin Williams" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    The new episode recounts his life through Robin Williams’ own voice, describing “the spark of madness” which defined his life. From his early days in the San Francisco Bay Area comedy scene to his meteoric rise on “Mork & Mindy,” the one-hour special explores the experiences that made Williams into a one-of-a-kind talent and reveals what gave voice to the characters in his mind. It also chronicles the creative force driving critically acclaimed films like “Good Will Hunting” and “Dead Poets Society,” as well as fan favorites such as “Aladdin.” The special explores his personal struggles, including substance abuse and depression, and his battle with Lewy Body Dementia before his tragic death in 2014. “Superstar: Robin Williams” features interviews with famous comedians and actors who knew and admired Williams, including Margaret Cho, Howie Mandel, Lewis Black, Jimmie Walker, Paula Poundstone, Gina Hecht and Pauly Shore, as well as Barry Levinson, director of multiple films starring Williams including “Good Morning, Vietnam.” The program also contains interviews with Williams from the ABC News archives, in which he opens up about his life and the highs and lows of his distinguished career.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 18)

    Wednesday, October 20

    • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Watch Rami on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Billy Bob Thornton (Hearts Afire) - Billy Bob is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jamie Foxx (Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!/The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Debra Messing (Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey) - Debra talks about her latest project: how self-care can change the world on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
    • Ron Howard (Arrested Development/Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) and Clint Howard (Gung Ho) - Ron and Clint discuss their new book, The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Amy Sedaris (No Activity/BoJack Horseman/Strangers with Candy) - It's a TV exclusive with sister and brother duo Amy and David Sedaris appearing together for the first time on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory) - Jeremy talks about FBI on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • David Eigenberg (Sex and the City) - David talks about NBC's Chicago Fire on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick talks about Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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    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 Release)
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    08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
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    09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
    10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
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