Thursday, October 15, 2015

NBC Fall Pilot Review: Truth Be Told - Premieres Friday, Oct. 16; CBS Brings Back 2 Broke Girls in November, Pushes Back New Comedy Angel from Hell


Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told - Fridays at 8:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

If you can think it, they will most likely say it in this unabashed new comedy about two diverse couples — Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saved by the Bell) and Tracy (Vanessa Lachey, Dads), and Russell (Tone Bell, Bad Judge) and Angie (Bresha Webb, Love That Girl) — a fearless foursome who are both neighbors and best friends. As they navigate through life side by side, they can’t help but analyze and obsess about everything. From sex and race to anything else your parents told you never to talk about, absolutely no topic is out of bounds for this wildly outspoken group.

Mitch is a college ethics professor, which might explain why he goes through life with a heightened attention to justice. He knows he can’t change the world but is quite determined to change his corner of it. At his side is his beautiful wife of five years, Tracy, who, by day is a tough-as-nails attorney and by night a nurturing mom to their 4-year-old daughter, Sadie.

Their best friends, Russell and Angie, live next door. Russell is Mitch’s male voice of reason. A stand-up comic, Russell has absolutely no fear when it comes to talking to someone or making a scene in public to prove his point. His new bride, Angie, is that spirited special kind of woman who, while married to a guy that’s quite a handful, is able to go toe-to-toe with him at a moment’s notice.

These four friends love and support each other so much that they can talk about any topic in the most honest, candid and humorous ways. They are the kind of conversations people have with their real friends.

Cast Details:


Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Mitch
Tone Bell as Russell
Vanessa Lachey as Tracy
Bresha Webb as Angie

Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Mitch) is best known for his television role as Zack Morris in NBC's Saved by the Bell. Some of his sitcom guest appearances include Murphy Brown, Blossom, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Men at Work and Happy Endings. His drama starring roles include NYPD Blue, Commander in Chief, Raising the Bar and Franklin & Bash.

Tone Bell (Russell) is a stand-up comedian and actor who had a recurring role in VH1's Single Ladies. He starred as RJ the bartender in NBC's Whitney and as Tedward Mulray in Bad Judge. He appeared on Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Mind of a Man and Chelsea Lately.

Vanessa Lachey (Tracy) most recently starred in Fox's Dads, which was executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. She served as co-host served for Total Request Live, MTV Hits, True Beauty and Wipeout. She has guest starred on How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock.

Bresha Webb (Angie) starred in the TV One sitcom Love That Girl. She has had recurring roles in ER and Grey's Anatomy. Some of her other guest appearances include Hung, Raising the Bar, Private Practice and Weeds.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Friday, October 16 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

Angie's (Bresha Webb) ex-boyfriend hooks her up with four tickets to the Jay-Z concert. Her husband, Russell (Tone Bell), is wary, but her best friends Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Tracy (Vanessa Lachey) are thrilled with the opportunity to have a fun night out. But first, Tracy and Mitch have to scramble to find a babysitter for their daughter. Mitch fears Kimberly (guest star Antonimar Murphy), the leading candidate, is too attractive. Meanwhile, Russell voices an even bigger concern about the babysitter.

Analysis:

Truth Be Told is a multi-camera sitcom produced by Universal Television and Will Packer Productions. It's loosely based on the life of writer and executive producer DJ Nash (Growing Up Fisher). Pamela Fryman (How I Met Your Mother) directed the pilot episode. She also serves as an executive producer along with Will Packer (Ride Along). The series was known during production as People Are Talking before the title was changed in July.

In the "Pilot" episode, Mitch and Tracy desperately search for a sitter so they can go to a Jay-Z concert with Russell and Angie. Mitch and Russell debate whether the worker at the Chinese restaurant is faking her accent. Bresha texts Russell that they have four tickets to the Jay-Z concert from her ex-boyfriend, Marcus. The valet mistakenly gives the keys to the Porsche to Mitch because it has a John Mayer cd in it. Tracy and Mitch have dinner at Angie and Russell's, who live 30 feet away. Mitch and Tracy ask their neighbors the Goldmans about their babysitter. Bresha catches Russell mistakenly trying to check her messages on her phone. Russell and Mitch talk about their plans in the car while they sing. Mitch and Tracy interview the hot babysitter, Kimberly. The gang has high tea with Tracy and Mitch's daughter, Sadie, when they meet Kimberly again. Russell thinks Kimberly has done porn in the past, so he and Mitch do an internet search in the car. As everybody is leaving to go to the Jay-Z concert, Mitch blurts out that Kimberly may have possibly done porn. They look at her photos and videos on Facebook before they are confronted by her asking them what they are doing.

Truth Be Told is NBC's only new sitcom this fall. This is a pretty standard multi-camera sitcom, but it has some potential for some funny lines and situations. It's a bit refreshing to see a comedy that doesn't rely on any narration, talking to the camera, flashbacks, quick cutaways or other gimmicks. It's very much an old school sitcom that NBC has brought back in recent seasons after focusing more on single-camera comedies. The cast has some good chemistry already. The scenes with Gosselaar and Bell are very funny, especially when they are singing in the car. There are some good one-liners and even an Urkel reference. Bell is a rising star who has done some under the radar work in Whitney and Bad Judge. The pilot doesn't really provide any background on the characters and their jobs, so it will be interesting to see how they develop. This would have been considered an edgy comedy five or ten years ago, but it seems pretty tame by today's standards.

The cast is talented, experienced and diverse. They would have been hard pressed to put together a more attractive cast and guest stars in the pilot episode. Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns to the network where he got his big starring role in Saved by the Bell. He has mostly starred in dramas, so it's nice to see him in another comedy. Tone Bell is a stand-up comic who looks like a good fit here. Vanessa Lachey has starred in only one other comedy, but she seems like a more experienced veteran. I haven't seen Bresha Webb in many other television appearances, so I look forward to seeing more of her character. The show relies heavily on its four stars, so I thought they could use a few more characters for upcoming storylines. Ashley Tisdale will be recurring as Mitch's younger sister, Sam, in future episodes.


Conclusion:

Truth Be Told has a likable and funny cast. This isn't a groundbreaking comedy, but it does deliver some good laughs. It's not as edgy or controversial with race issues as I had originally thought it would be, but it's clearly geared more towards adults with some of the references. Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns to NBC where he got his break. He shows that he hasn't lost his touch with comedy despite appearing in mostly dramas in recent years. The success of a series often depends on the cast's chemistry. Everybody seems to click in the pilot episode, especially Gosselaar and Bell. Stand-up comic Bell could be one of the breakout stars of the season if he continues to bring the funny every week.

NBC has really abandoned their sitcoms this season. Truth Be Told was the only new comedy to make the fall schedule. It appears to be a good match with Undateable, which is doing all live episodes this season. They are buried on Friday nights, so it will be difficult for them to develop a big audience. This is more of a comedy that you can catch up on a few days later. Truth be told, this is a sitcom worth checking out and sampling. It's not going to appeal to everybody, but I think it has the potential for a decent run on a low rated night where not much will be expected from it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Truth Be Told Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • 2 Broke Girls

    CBS has made a change to its upcoming Thursday comedy return following the conclusion of Thursday Night Football. The fifth season of 2 Broke Girls will premiere Thursday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 PM ET/PT, on the CBS Television Network. The Beth Behrs/Kat Dennings sitcom was due back sometime in 2016, but CBS is bringing it back earlier. As a result, the series premiere of Angel from Hell will move to February 2016. A premiere date will be announced at a later date. Angel from Hell stars Golden Globe and multiple Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch in a single-camera comedy about Amy (Lynch), a colorful, brassy woman who insinuates herself into Allison's (Maggie Lawson) organized and seemingly perfect life, claiming to be her "guardian angel." Allison is an intense, driven doctor who is sure that Amy is just an inebriated, outspoken nut, until every one of her warnings proves true. Cautioned by Amy not tell anyone about her, Allison can't discuss this over-the-top oddball with her father and business partner, Marv (Kevin Pollak), a sunburned dermatologist who shares an office with Allison, or her younger brother, Brad (Kyle Bornheimer), a pharmaceutical sales rep who lives over her garage. As Allison tries to push Amy away, Amy makes her final pitch: her sole mission is to provide Allison with helpful guidance that nudges her in the right direction in life - and it's her final chance to prove herself as an angel. With that, Allison agrees to this unlikely relationship because maybe a weird friend is exactly what she needs... and what if Amy really is her "guardian angel"?

    The CBS Thursday lineup will look like this come November:

    CBS Thursday, Nov. 5
    8:00-8:31 PM The Big Bang Theory (Regular time period)
    8:31-9:01 PM Life In Pieces (Regular time period)
    9:01-9:30 PM Mom (3rd season premiere)
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    CBS Thursday, Effective Nov. 12
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    9:01-9:30 PM Mom
    9:30-10:00 PM 2 Broke Girls (5th season premiere)
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