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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

    Friday, March 1

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 26)

    Friday, March 1

    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Watch Jesse on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Esther Povitsky (Dollface/Alone Together) - Esther appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation), Nico Santos (Superstore) and Pete Holmes (How We Roll/Crashing) - Billy, Nico and Pete are guests on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Sarah Paulson (Leap of Faith) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Punkie Johnson (Love Life) - Punkie is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Drew is chatting with legendary singer Reba McEntire in Las Vegas about singing at the Super Bowl and how far she's come to be where she is now on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott talks about The Girls on the Bus on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-February)

    Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Father Knows Best - The Complete Series The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
    12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
    12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
    12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
    12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
    12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
    01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
    01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
    02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One

    That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    03/01 - Lopez vs Lopez Season 2 Brings Out the Stars; Prime Video's Música Drops April 4
    02/29 - Season 3 of Hacks Adds Star Power; Remembering Richard Lewis
    02/28 - BUZZR Celebrates Women's History Month in March; 10th Anniversary of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
    02/27 - Little House on the Prairie Big 5-0 Stunt on COZI TV; Netflix Orders Tires Starring Shane Gillis
    02/26 - Hulu Orders Chad Powers Starring Glen Powell; Netflix's Mindy Kaling Produced Comedy Rounds Out Cast
    02/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 26, 2024)
    02/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Frasier Reboot Gets Second Season; Jimmy Kimmel Hints at End of Talk Show
    02/23 - Paramount+ Renews Frasier for Season 2; Netflix Orders Series from Maid Showrunner
    02/22 - 30th SAG Awards Presenters Announced; Jay Pharoah Heads to Fox
    02/21 - SNL Loads Up for Next 3 Weeks; Tig Notaro Prime Video Special
    02/20 - Brittany Snow to Star Opposite Malin Akerman in Starz Series; Dennis Quaid Joining Paramount+
    02/19 - Rewind TV's 227 on 2/27 Marathon; Dolly Parton's Pet Gala with Special Guests
    02/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 19, 2024)
    02/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Bewitched Reboot in the Works; Paramount+ and Peacock in Merger Talks
    02/16 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: The CW; Girls5eva Season 3 Premieres March 14
    02/15 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: Peacock, Syfy and NBC
    02/14 - Survival of the Thickest Gets 2nd Season; Roma Downey and Ted McGinley Set to Star on Prime Video
    02/13 - Netflix Announces Adam Sandler Special; Tyler Perry Gets Another Series
    02/12 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: ABC, Disney, Hulu, FX
    02/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 12, 2024)
    02/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: FX Sticking with Binge Drop for The Bear; Peak TV Declared to Be "Over"
    02/09 - More Stars for Netflix's No Good Deed; ID Premiering Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV; Remembering Carl Weathers
    02/08 - Apple TV+ Comedy Series Palm Royale Has Star Power; Katt Williams Gets New Netflix Comedy Special
    02/07 - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to Rebrand as Hallmark Mystery; Fox Renews Animal Control for Season 3 Ahead of Season 2 Launch
    02/06 - COZI TV's The Many Loves of Frasier Crane Marathon; Netflix Announces Cast for Ted Danson Comedy
    02/05 - Lopez vs Lopez Airing in April on NBC; Apple TV+ New Peanuts Special on February 16
    02/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 5, 2024)
    02/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Really Ending After 12 Seasons; Season Two Premiere Date Set for Lopez vs Lopez
    02/02 - Extraordinary Season 2 This March on Hulu; Great American Family Sets Hosts for Gala
    02/01 - Colin from Accounts Returning to Paramount+; Weakest Link Days of Our Lives Special
    01/31 - Hulu Black History Month Includes Timeless Classics; BUZZR Celebrates Black History Month, Too
    01/30 - Good Times 50th Anniversary Marathons on get.; Password Returns for Season 2 on NBC