Monday, March 14, 2016

NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Crowded - Premieres Tuesday (March 15); The CW Renews 11 Series for 2016-17

Crowded

Crowded - Sundays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Special Premiere Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT, then Sunday, March 20 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Crowded is a timely comedy that proves life is crazy with a full house, especially the second time around. After 20 years of parenting, empty nesters Mike and Martina are finally reclaiming their wild side. But when both of their two grown unexpectedly move back in and Mike's parents scratch their plans to spend their golden years in Florida, their roost is full again.

Cast Details:

Miranda Cosgrove as Shea Moore
Carrie Preston as Martina Moore
Stacy Keach as Bob Moore
Carlease Burke as Alice Moore
Mia Serafino as Stella Moore
Patrick Warburton as Mike Moore

Miranda Cosgrove (Shea) is an actress and singer best known for her work in Nickelodeon sitcoms Drake & Josh and iCarly. She has also appeared on Smallville, Grounded for Life, and The Good Wife, and the hit comedy film School of Rock.

Carrie Preston (Martina) is an actress known for her roles on the hit shows True Blood and Person of Interest, opposite husband Michael Emerson. She has also appeared on Getting On, The Good Wife, The Following, and Royal Pains.

Stacy Keach (Bob) is a comic actor known for his role on the popular SiriusXM radio show The Opie and Anthony Show. He also has a long and distinguished career in television and film, including roles in shows such as Titus, ER, Prison Break, and 30 Rock.

Carlease Burke (Alice) is an actress known for her roles in shows such as Key & Peele, Dads, NCIS, and Switched at Birth.

Mia Serafino (Stella) is an actress who has appeared on shows such as Shameless, NCIS: Los Angeles, Undateable, and Scorpion.

Patrick Warburton (Mike) is known for his role as David Puddy on Seinfeld, and other sitcoms like The Tick, Rules of Engagement, NewsRadio and Less than Perfect. He has also done extensive voice work on animated shows such as Family Guy, Archer, and The Venture Brothers.

Pilot Plot:

We have watched the first two episodes for review and also another episode airing later in the season.

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00PM ET)

Like millions of millennials, Mike and Martina's two daughters back home after college and they all have to deal with the new reality.

"Present Tense" (Airs Tuesday, March 15 at 10:30PM ET)

Mike and Martina haven't had sex since the girls moved back in and they're not sure why. Each tries to spice things up in their own way. Meanwhile, Stella coaches Shea on how to snag boys with a dating app.

"Daughter" (tentatively Airs Sunday, May 8 at 9:30PM ET)

TBD

Analysis:

It's no secret that, creatively speaking, the multi-camera sitcom has fallen upon some hard times. For much of the 2000s and early 2010s, the format was marred by lazy writing, an over-reliance on clichés, and a warmed over feeling that paled in comparison to the creatively exciting single-cams dominating the airwaves at the time. But over the past few years, the multi-cam sitcom has been experiencing a quiet quality renaissance. The Carmichael Show (Crowded's timeslot companion) has used the format to throwback to its golden age, focusing on strong characters and a deft understanding of political issues not unlike classic Norman Lear sitcoms. And Mom on CBS has shed its initial Two and a Half Men-esque vibe and become a surprisingly strong character study of what it's like to live in a world when you're recovering from an addiction. With these shows, it seems reasonable to ask: could there be a renaissance of respect for the old multi-camera sitcom? Unfortunately, Crowded, despite a promising cast, is a multi-cam that doesn't seem interested in that renaissance. As a mostly generic bore that relies on tired clichés and obvious punchlines for its humor, it's an unwelcome reminder of how the multi-camera sitcom has fallen so hard from grace over the past 15 years. Crowded's entire premise basically comes down to "millennials are living with their parents because they're lazy and their parents babied them," which is a narrative that has been trite and outdated pretty much from the moment it began circulating. Of course, a show can overcome a bad premise if the writing and characters are strong enough to hold up the fort – all you need to do is look at a show like Cougar Town or New Girl to see how a questionable premise can turn into a great show if all of the other elements are there.

But Crowded's characters never manage to feel like anything more than archetypes. The girls, despite valiant efforts by Cosgrove and Serafino, have exactly one joke to their personas and, in the three episodes I watched, never manage to gain any other traits that make them feel like actual human beings rather than just ideas. The parents fare a little better, but they're still not much more than exactly what you would expect a married couple on this kind of show to be – did you guess that the mother is the rock of the family who struggles to keep it together? You're right! Did you guess that the father tries to bury his emotions and just wants to act manly and have sex with his wife? You got it again! It doesn't speak much to the show when a guest character played by Betty White is the only character I ever had any desire to learn more about. (White is basically playing the stereotypical 'grandma who says things a grandma shouldn't' role she's been playing non-stop for the past ten years, but she plays it well, and she actually gets a little more shading in her one episode than any of the main cast got in three.) If the show has one thing going for it, it's that by the third episode I watched, there were some actual strong punchlines that got some chuckles out of me. Unfortunately, an occasional funny line is not really enough to save a show that's otherwise a generic disaster all-around. I don't see much hope in Crowded, which is a shame because the cast is strong and the joke writing isn't even so bad. But it's going to take a lot of work to get this to be anything more than another multi-camera sitcom that totally misses the mark.

Conclusion:

Crowded is a trite, boring sitcom that feels mass-produced from the same soulless entity that has given us so many painfully bad multi-camera sitcoms over the past 15 years. The format has proven recently that it has some life left in it, demonstrated by the show that airs just a half-hour before this one on the same network. But Crowded, with its lazy premise, paper-thin characters and inconsistent writing, is more of a sign of what the format is trying to leave behind than where it's (hopefully) headed. It would be nice if Crowded could figure itself out, because the jokes are sometimes there and it's got an all-around solid cast, but given how painfully it started out, I don't hold out a lot of hope that it'll get better.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 2/5
Funniness: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 10:00PM & 10:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Crowded Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • The CW

    The CW has picked up and renewed many of the current batch of programming. Returning in 2016-17 are: Arrow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, iZombie, Jane The Virgin, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and The 100. They will continue their strategy of more proven original series year-round, including Fall 2016, midseason 2017 and summer 2017. Specific premiere dates for each series will be announced at a later time. The CW still hasn't given a status on last summer's comedy Significant Mother starring Krista Allen. New series Containment will premiere April 19 and the final season of Beauty & the Beast starts June 2.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Sunday, August 18

    Last Man Standing - "One Flew Into the Empty Nest" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Vanessa wants to board a foreign exchange student, Mike must work overtime to impress her father; Kristen and Ryan try to remain cool when Boyd invites a girl over.

    Last Man Standing - "Bride of Prankenstein" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Mike and Chuck find the perfect target for a prank while working late to set up a security system at the store on Halloween; Mandy, Kyle, Kristen and Ryan hold a séance.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 12)

    Friday, August 16

    • Lenny Clarke (Are You There, Chelsea?/It's All Relative/The Job/The John Larroquette Show/Lenny) - Watch Lenny on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Billy Eichner (Difficult People) - Billy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Bradley Whitford (Perfect Harmony/Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy talks about When They See Us on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Tate Donovan (Partners) - Tate appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Christopher Abbott (Girls) - Christopher is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Henry Winkler (Barry/Out of Practice/Monty/Happy Days) - Henry is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Loretta talks about Family Reunion on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens) - Leah will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon talks about Sextuplets on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace prepares a warm, zesty zoodle salad on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Marilu Henner (Evening Shade/Taxi) - Marilu appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

    The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six

    06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
    06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
    07/08 - Man with a Plan - Season Two
    07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
    07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
    07/09 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season
    07/09 - Speechless - The Complete Third Season
    07/16 - Eight Is Enough - The Complete First Season
    07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
    07/23 - Brockmire - The Complete First Season
    07/23 - What I Like About You - The Complete First Season
    07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
    08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
    08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
    08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
    08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
    08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 19, 2019)
    08/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Paley Center to Honor TV Legends; NBC Developing St. Elmo's Fire TV Series
    08/16 - Fri-Yay: Fall Sitcom Slate Check-In: CBS; E! Gets Reality Sitcom Meet the Frasers
    08/15 - Comedy Central Gets Phoebe Robinson Series; Crank Yankers Returns for 5th Season
    08/14 - Fox to Air Holiday Comedy Series; CBS and Viacom to Combine
    08/13 - The Flintstones Coming to MeTV in Fall 2019; Lifetime Tackles The College Admissions Scandal
    08/12 - Freeform Celebrates 30 Days of Disney in September; A-List Stars Visit Fox's Animation Domination This Fall
    08/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 12, 2019)
    08/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Emmy Awards to Go Without Host; New Caroline in the City DVDs Arrive
    08/09 - Fri-Yay: Pop TV: The Next Home for Great Sitcoms?; The Tonight Show Gets 5 Sunday Specials and Premiere Week Live Episodes
    08/08 - Archie Bunker's Place 40th Anniversary Marathon on Antenna TV; Mariah Carey to Sing mixed-ish Theme Song
    08/07 - FX Orders Atlanta Season 4; Netflix to Turn The Baby-Sitters Club Into Series
    08/06 - ABC to Air 2 More Live in Front of a Studio Audience Specials; The Goldbergs Head to Disneyland
    08/05 - CW Seed Gets Schitt's Creek Streaming Rights; Adam Scott to Host ABC Comedic Game Show
    08/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 5, 2019)
    08/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires BBC Library; Loretta Devine to Recur on black-ish
    08/02 - FX's Baskets to End After This Season; GSN's Catch 21 Returns with Dancing with the Stars Duo Reunion
    08/01 - Ovation Airs Classic Episodes of Actors Studio; FX Orders Limited Series Starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson
    07/31 - Netflix Goes Big with New Sitcom; CW Seed Expands to 24/7 Linear Channel
    07/30 - A Very Brady Renovation Premieres Sept. 9 on HGTV; Trinkets Gets Conclusion Season in 2020 on Netflix
    07/29 - Hulu Nabs Designing Women, More from TCA Tour; Exclusive: Modern Family's Ariel Winter to Guest Star on Law & Order: SVU
    07/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 29, 2019)
    07/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brady Kids Reunite; DVDs for The Simpsons and Lucille Ball's Final Sitcom on the Way
    07/26 - Fri-Yay: What Sitcoms Can We Expect on Disney+?; National Golden Girls Day on July 30, Event in Florida
    07/25 - TV Land Gets Lucky 7 with Younger; The Last O.G. Enlists Keenen Ivory Wayans
    07/24 - getTV Acquires Hot in Cleveland in August; Sean Hayes to Roast Alec Baldwin
    07/23 - Stars from Fan-Favorite Series Reunite on It's a Wonderful Lifetime; HGTV's A Very Brady Contest
    07/22 - FXX Comedy Archer Gets 11th Season; TBS Sets Date for Comedy Game Show with The Good Place Star
    07/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 22, 2019)
    07/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: New Tina Fey Sitcom Starring Ted Danson in the Works; A.P. Bio Gets a Reprieve
    07/19 - Fri-Yay: Beyond Friends and The Office: Other Great Sitcoms on Streaming Services; Mad About You Launches During Holiday 2019 Season
    07/18 - HBO Max Revives Gossip Girl; Mario Lopez Leaves Extra and Moves to Access Hollywood