Tuesday, October 03, 2017

ABC Fall Pilot Review: The Mayor - Premieres Tonight (Oct. 3); Best of Jamie Farr Week on MeTV Network

The Mayor

The Mayor - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Struggling young rapper Courtney Rose, tired of waiting for opportunity, cooks up the publicity stunt of the century: Running for mayor of his hometown in California to generate buzz for his music career. Unfortunately for Courtney, his master plan goes wildly awry, ending in the most terrifying of outcomes: An election victory. With the help of his mother and friends, Courtney will have to overcome his hubris if he wants to transform the struggling city he loves.

Cast Details:

Brandon Micheal Hall as Courtney Rose
Bernard Jones as Jermaine Hardaway
Lea Michele as Valentina "Val" Flores
Marcel Spears as TK
Yvette Nicole Brown as Dina

Brandon Micheal Hall (Courtney) is an actor best known for his role as Julian on the critically acclaimed TBS comedy Search Party. He has also appeared in guest roles on shows such as Broad City, The Characters and Unforgettable.

Bernard Jones (Jermaine) is a comedic actor and writer. Prior to The Mayor, he was known for his role in comedic shorts on CollegeHumor, as well as his television roles on shows such as House of Payne and Meet the Browns.

Lea Michele (Val) is best known for her role as Rachel Berry on the musical comedy-drama Glee. She also starred in the drama-horror series Scream Queens and in several hit Broadway musicals, including Spring Awakening and Les Miserables.

Marcel Spears (TK) is a young comedic actor, and The Mayor will be his first starring role.

Yvette Nicole Brown (Dina) is best known for her role as Shirley Bennett on the cult classic sitcom Community. She is also well-known for her role as Helen on the 2000s Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh, and for her role as Dani on the recent reboot of The Odd Couple.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs October 2 at 9:30PM ET)

Young rapper Courney Rose has a genuis plan to beef up his music career: throwing his hat into his town's local mayor race. But his plan goes awry when something unexpected happens: he actually wins. Courtney's charisma and outspoken optimism are what helped him get elected as the Mayor, but even though he's an outsider when it comes to politics, he finds that he's actually good at it. Courtney has smarts, swagger and creativity, but has never worked a full-time job in his life. Luckily for him, he has the right people around him to shepherd his growth, both as a person and a politician.

Analysis:

The Mayor has a premise that could be very difficult to make work. It's the kind of premise that probably seemed like a really great idea a year or so ago when it was likely first developed, when the concept of a non-political entertainer surprisingly being elected to office seemed unlikely enough that you could laugh about it. Of course, this is 2017, and as we know, it's very much our reality. That makes a show like The Mayor potentially kind of worthless. Why do we need a show that poses a hypothetical world where a non-politician who seems unlikely to take office winds up winning an election? We already live in that world.

Yet somehow, The Mayor works, and it works well enough that it's easily the most (and perhaps only) promising new show of overall kind of dull 2017-2018 new sitcoms slate. In general, The Mayor's success is mostly "despite" its premise rather than because of it - although the show gets some interesting points out of its rapper-turned-mayor premise and some potential to dig deeper and get even more meaning out of it, what's really great about The Mayor is mostly just its cast and characters, which already feel funny and fully realized out of the gate - a rarity for early sitcom episodes, which as we all know, can often take a handful of episodes or even entire first seasons to fully gel. Courtney is a character that, so far, has done a good job of maintaining the balance between being self-centered enough that we understand he needs to improve himself along with being likable enough that we don't hate watching him. Courtney isn't a bad person, but his determination can sometimes cause him to forget that he needs to focus on people other than himself, and that, obviously, conflicts in interesting ways with his brand new, incredibly important job title. In many ways, The Mayor is less of a show about "what if an entertainer became president?" and more of a story about "what if this specific entertainer became president?". In other words, it's more of a character story about Courtney and the people he surrounds himself with rather than a piece of social commentary.

Of course, it's hard not to at least have a little bit of social commentary when you have a premise that's so tied to current events, and while I wouldn't say The Mayor is exactly a scathing take on the current political scene in America (the only time it references our own presidential election is through one blink-and-you'll miss-it joke about Russian hacking), there are some subtle themes and character arcs that have an interesting perspective viewed through the lens of our current world. The Mayor's belief seems to boil down to the fact that if people in public office can get through their own selfishness and realize the importance of their roles and how they truly can make a difference, then maybe we'd start seeing some real change and improvement in people's lives. If it continues down that path, The Mayor has the potential to be a Parks & Rec-esque beacon of light in our turbulent political times. Even if it doesn't, though, it still promises to be an entertaining sitcom with a killer cast, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Conclusion:

The Mayor is one of the most fully-formed new sitcoms on network television in quite some time, with a strong cast, a snappy sense of humor, and characters that already feel real and lived in. The show's premise seems like it would be difficult to stomach, but The Mayor treats it with enough respect and light-hearted inspiration that it never feels too cloying or heavy-handed. There are bits and pieces here that show potential for a genuinely uplifting and inspiring political sitcom, which would be quite a feat in a time when Americans' attitudes towards politics seem to be at an all-time low. Even if it doesn't reach those lofty heights, though, it still seems like it'll be a fun, often hilarious sitcom to add to ABC's rock-solid stable of comedy.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, October 2, 2017 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Mayor Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Jamie Farr - MeTV

    Back by popular demand, actor Jamie Farr will present more of his favorite M*A*S*H episodes, sharing his comments, memories, and stories from his time as costar of one of television's greatest series of all time. MeTV's special week of "M*A*S*H: More of The Best by Farr" airs Monday, October 9, through Friday, October 13, from 7-8pm ET/PT. Schedule of episodes...

    Monday, October 9: "Welcome to Korea" (one hour), 7:00pm ET/PT
    Tuesday, October 10: "Fade Out, Fade In" (one hour), 7:00pm ET/PT
    Wednesday, October 11: "A Night At Rosie's" 7:00pm ET/PT and "Period of Adjustment" 7:30pm ET/PT
    Thursday, October 12: "April Fools" 7:00pm ET/PT and "Birthday Girls" 7:30pm ET/PT
    Friday, October 13: "Friends and Enemies" 7:00pm ET/PT and "As Time Goes By" 7:30pm ET/PT

    When Jamie Farr was cast in M*A*S*H as Corporal Klinger, the character loosely based on the real-life activities of legendary satirist Lenny Bruce was intended to be temporary. The audience response to the character and Farr’s portrayal was so overwhelmingly positive that Klinger eventually became permanent and Farr a cast regular. In a show that often veered from moments of hilarious comedy to sober social commentary, Corporal Klinger (later Sergeant Klinger) provided comic relief as he pursued a Section 8 discharge by cross-dressing and engaging in antics designed to bring his mental health into question. A veteran of both television comedy and American armed services, Farr brought a level of depth and realism to a character that could have easily been one-dimensional in the hands of a lesser talent. (The dog tags Farr wore on the show were his actual tags from his service in the U.S. Army.) Like most of the M*A*S*H characters, Klinger evolved and changed over time.


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