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, November 20

    The Goldbergs - "Angst-Giving" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Even though Beverly’s patience with Pop Pop is put to the test due to his endless Thanksgiving demands, she is able to put aside her own feelings to help heal the longstanding rift between Murray and Pop Pop. Meanwhile, Barry and Erica are ready to return home for the holiday, but Uncle Marvin accidentally drives them to Pittsburgh. Marvin attempts to make it right not knowing if they will make it to Jenkintown in time to celebrate the holiday. Judd Hirsch and Dan Fogler return to guest star as Pop Pop and Uncle Marvin.

    Schooled - "Friendsgiving" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    CB celebrates Thanksgiving by having all of William Penn rally around him after a cooking incident at his house, while the alumni faculty football game brings out the competitive sides of Wilma and Coach Mellor.

    Modern Family - "The Last Thanksgiving" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Cameron and Mitchell’s friends mistakenly assume they have split up and have definitely chosen a side; and Haley attempts to cook Thanksgiving dinner as a thank you for Claire and Phil’s support with the twins. Meanwhile, Jay invites Phil and Dylan out to fly his model plane, and Phil thinks this is his chance to reclaim his dignity after their first outing 10 years ago went so wrong.

    Single Parents - "Every Thursday Should Be Like This" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    When Will gets busy cooking Thanksgiving dinner at Douglas’ home, he asks Angie to hang out with Tracy Freeze (guest star Jama Williamson). Angie reluctantly does so, only to realize that Tracy is actually wonderful, except for a secret she’s keeping from Will. Meanwhile, Miggy shows up to Thanksgiving dinner with the kids’ teacher, Ms. Pronstroller (Sarah Yarkin), as his date, and he enlists Douglas’ assistance in helping them form an in-person connection, given all of their previous communication has been via texts, DMs and memes.

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "A Woman's Right to Chop" / "Waiting for Big Mo" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Trapped inside Paddy's with a suicidal jumper on the roof, the gang wonders if it should bother intervening; Dennis ponders the reasons of playing laser tag and if the pursuit of a victory is worth the effort.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 18)

    Wednesday, November 20

    • Adam Driver (Girls) - Watch Adam on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Julie Andrews (Julie) - Julie stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Michael Rapaport (Awkward/The War at Home) and Tony Rock (Living Biblically/All of Us) - Michael and Tony are panelists on Lights Out with David Spade at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
    • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Dax visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne) - Johnny is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Ed Quinn (One Day at a Time/2 Broke Girls) - Ed visits The Real, do check your local listings.
    • Tisha Campbell (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura talks about The Report on People Now at 12pm.
    • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin talks about OWN's Ambition on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee talks about Knives Out on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Ashley Williams (The Jim Gaffigan Show/Good Morning, Miami) - Ashley talks about Holiday Hearts on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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