Wednesday, January 06, 2021

NBC Midseason Pilot Review: Mr. Mayor - Premieres Thursday (Jan. 7); One Tree Hill Duo Return for Comedy Series on Hulu

Mr. Mayor


Mr. Mayor - Thursdays at 8:00PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 8:00PM & 8:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Mr. Mayor follows a retired businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he's "still got it." Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America's second weirdest city.

Cast Details:

Ted Danson as Mayor Neil Bremer
Bobby Moynihan as Jayden Kwapis
Holly Hunter as Arpi Meskimen
Mike Cabellon as Tommy Tomás
Vella Lovell as Mikaela Shaw
Kyla Kennedy as Orly Bremer

Ted Danson (Mayor Neil Bremer) is a veteran sitcom actor known, of course, for his iconic role as Sam Malone on the classic NBC comedy Cheers. More recently, he was known as Michael on the critic and fan beloved sitcom The Good Place and his other TV work includes Becker, CSI, Damages and Help Me Help You.

Bobby Moynihan (Jayden Kwapis) is best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2008 to 2017. He is also known for his voice work on TV shows and films such as DuckTales, The Secret Life of Pets and Monsters University.

Holly Hunter (Arpi Meskimen) is an actress known for her roles in films such as The Incredibles, Raising Arizona, and Crash, as well as her role in TV shows Saving Grace and Succession.

Mike Cabellon (Tommy Tomás) is a comedian known for his role on shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Crashing, and High Maintenance.

Vella Lovell (Mikaela Shaw) is an actress best known as Heather on the fan beloved musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and for her guest roles on shows such as Younger and Girls.

Kyla Kennedy (Orly Bremer) is an actress best known for playing Dylan DiMeo on the ABC sitcom Speechless. She also starred in the television film Raising Izzie and the AMC horror series The Walking Dead.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Thursday, January 7 at 8:00PM ET)

In the series premiere, Neil Bremer (Ted Danson) starts his first day as mayor of Los Angeles, where he faces new challenges on the job and at home. Also starring Holly Hunter, Bobby Moynihan, Mike Cabellon, Vella Lovell and Kyla Kenedy.

Analysis:

Mr. Mayor is one of the most anticipated new shows of the TV season, and not only because this is a TV season fairly light on new TV shows. The sitcom comes from the minds of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, who have been some of the most respected modern comedy writers. They, of course, were the creators of the brilliant 30 Rock, which I'd rank among the best sitcoms of all time, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I wouldn't rank quite as highly but was still an incredibly creative and hilarious show, and one of the funniest sitcoms of the streaming era. So Mr. Mayor has some pretty big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, at least in its first two episodes, Mr. Mayor doesn't seem able to do that, as it simply doesn't live up to the lofty expectations I had for a Fey/Carlock sitcom. Looked at as a regular broadcast sitcom, it's a solid example of the form, with a killer cast and a handful of funny lines. But whereas 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt felt like unique breaths of fresh air in their own rights, Mr. Mayor feels like a slightly above average NBC sitcom.

The biggest issue I have with Mr. Mayor is the the characters, at this point, simply feel too generic, lacking the funny specificity that made the characters of 30 Rock and Kimmy Schmidt so iconic. Danson's Mayor Brenner specifically is a problem, not due to any fault of his own, but he just doesn't really have much of a point of view other than "guy who is mayor who probably shouldn't be." I do think that part of this is because Mr. Mayor was initially envisioned as a 30 Rock spin-off with Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy in the place of Danson, and it feels like in these early episodes, the writers haven't quite figured out what makes Brenner tick yet. However, some of the other characters are also issues. Holly Hunter's Apri is too screechy and one-dimensional, recalling some of Kimmy Schmidt's most groan-worthy political satire. There is certainly room for satire of the social justice orientated crowd, but as was the issue on Kimmy Schmidt, the satire is just a bit too broad here, nothing more interesting than what you’d find in a Twitter thread. The best character so far is Bobby Moynihan's Jayden (he has the best line in either episode when he declares himself "the first Jayden, the original Jayden," referring to the fact that he's seemingly the only Jaden born before the '90s), who taps into that 30 Rock/Kimmy Schmidt specific weirdness the most. I'd like to see more of that kind of humor, as that's where Fey/Carlock really shine in their writing.

Luckily, if NBC gives it a chance, I think there's a lot of potential for Mr. Mayor to eventually work out its kinks and become a great sitcom. The cast is excellent, doing their best with mostly average material, and the concept certainly has promise. It would be fun to see the unique eye that Fey/Carlock had on NYC in their previous sitcoms be transported to LA. And it's important to note that sitcoms, even great ones, often don't come out of the gate swinging. 30 Rock's first few episodes were fairly average as well, and like Mr. Mayor, felt more like a generic broadcast sitcom than what the show would become. (Kimmy Schmidt was weird and proud pretty much right out of the gate, but that's probably why NBC had cold feet about it and sent it to Netflix.) The world could use some great new Fey/Carlock comedy, so hopefully Mr. Mayor sticks around long enough to discover what really makes it work.

Conclusion:

Mr. Mayor is a funny enough distraction during a season with less broadcast content than usual, even if it doesn't live up to the standards of its predecessors 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, at least not yet. There are hints of things that could eventually turn this into must-watch TV in the way those shows were, as long as the show can find a more original and funny pathways for humor with its characters than the first two episodes provide. Still, in a world desperately in need of some laughs, Mr. Mayor can provide those, even if it's not quite as many as I hoped for.



Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

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

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 8:00PM & 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Mr. Mayor Photo Gallery

    Preview:

  • Everyone Is Doing Great

    The boys are back and...better than ever? Watch James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti in Everyone Is Doing Great, a new comedy series on January 13, only on Hulu. 8 episodes will premiere. Hulu released the first teaser of the comedy, which the former One Tree Hill cast members also wrote and produced. The series follows Seth Stewart (Colletti) and Jeremy Davis (Lafferty), who enjoyed relative success from Eternal, a hit television vampire drama, according to IMDb. Five years after their show has ended, they lean on each other as they struggle to reclaim their previous level of success and relevance, awkwardly navigating the perils of life and love amidst a humorously painful coming of age. The series also stars Alexandra Park (The Royals), as Andrea Cooper-Davis, Jeremy's wife who supports her husband both financially and emotionally.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 5

    The Conners - "Driving, Dating and Deceit" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Mark is anxious to get his driver’s license when a job opportunity presents itself across town. Darlene attempts to teach him to drive, but her frantic energy sends him running to Ben for help. Meanwhile, Harris meets a new guy online, whom Becky recognizes from her past.

    The Golbergs - "Jenkintown After Dark" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Despite promising to keep distance from Brea so they can each establish themselves at college, Adam calls her, sending Beverly into a tailspin. Meanwhile, Joanne lands a coveted job at a posh Philly law firm and Barry takes full advantage of the perks of her new gig, blinding him from the reality of the situation.

    Abbott Elementary - "Story Samurai" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    A traveling storytelling troupe Jacob used to be in visits Abbott Elementary for a day of education and entertainment. Jacob can’t wait to share this part of his past with his colleagues; but when he realizes they think the performers are corny, Janine does her best to help him embrace his nerdy side. Meanwhile, Melissa struggles with the new normal of her combined second and third grade class.

    Home Economics - "Sushi for Twelve, $482 Plus Delivery" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    With a house full of Hayworths, nothing is off limits for discussion – including Tom and Marina’s lives in, and out, of the bedroom. Connor’s patience as host is running thin so as a thank you, Sarah and Denise strategize a creative way to show their appreciation.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 3)

    Wednesday, October 5

    • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Watch Kevin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space), Ana Fabrega (Los Espookys) and Julio Torres (Los Espookys) - Fred, Ana and Julio are guests on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Lena Dunham (Girls) - Lena is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Jennifer Tilly (Out of Practice) - Jennifer appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.
    • Lea Thompson (Caroline in the City) - Lea is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men/How I Met Your Mother) - Kal discusses his impressive journey from former White House staffer and actor to author, and why he chose to share details about his engagement to his fiancé, Josh, in his book, You Can't Be Serious, on Tamron Hall, so check your local istings.
    • Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts/White Famous) - Utkarsh talks about Ghosts on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
    • Wendell Pierce (The Odd Couple/The Michael J. Fox Show/The Weber/The Brian Benben Show/The Gregory Hines Show) - Wendell talks about Death of a Salesman on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Tamera Mowry-Housley (Sister, Sister/Roommates) - Tamera talks about You Should Sit Down For This on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June-October)

    The Neighborhood - Season Four Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season The Adventues of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (DVD) Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season

    06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
    06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / The Complete Season Two
    07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
    07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / The Complete Season Four
    08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
    08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    09/06 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    09/20 - Kim's Convenience - The Complete Series
    09/27 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five / The Complete Season Six
    10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
    10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    10/05 - HBO Max Orders Chuck Lorre Sitcom; Acapulco Returns Oct. 21, Trailer Released
    10/04 - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Premiere Soars in Viewership; Sarah Hyland Heads to Freevee to Host Series
    10/03 - Community the Movie Set for Peacock; Finding Happy Hits Big on Bounce TV
    10/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 3, 2022)
    10/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Community to Finally Get a Movie; Marla Gibbs to Appear on Grey's Anatomy
    09/30 - NBC Orders Mike O'Malley Sitcom with Jon Cryer; Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin Premieres Nov. 23; Remembering Mork & Mindy and Perfect Strangers Creator Dale McRaven
    09/29 - Epix Rebrands to MGM+ in January 2023; Jack's Back with More Kindness on Apple TV+
    09/28 - Mike Epps Gets HGTV Series; black-ish's Marsai Martin Headlines Paramount+ Comedy Film
    09/27 - COZI TV Fall 2022 Schedule; FX Announces New Drama Premiere Date for Hulu
    09/26 - Tudum: A Netflix Global Fan Event Recap; The White Lotus Season 2 Premieres Oct. 30
    09/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 26, 2022)
    09/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Addams Family Based Series Wednesday; Peacock Cancels Queer as Folk
    09/23 - FX Renews Reservation Dogs for Season 3; Stars of Young Sheldon Head to The Price Is Right at Night
    09/22 - Bounce Dramedy Finding Happy Premieres Saturday (Sept. 24); Roku's Kevin Hart Comedy Adds More Stars for Season 2
    09/21 - ABC Extends Jimmy Kimmel Live Through Season 23; Peacock Orders Animated Comedy
    09/20 - CBS Announces New Holiday Special; The CW Halloween Specials
    09/19 - Rewind TV's Sabrina, The Teenage Witch-O-Ween Halloween Marathon; Iliza Shlesinger Returns to Netflix
    09/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 19, 2022)
    09/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saturday Night Live Adds New Cast Members for New Season; Streaming Media Mergers in the Works?
    09/16 - The CW's A Waltons Thanksgiving Airs Nov. 20; Rewind TV's A Week of Very Special Episodes Includes Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life and More; Remembering Mark Miller of Please Don't Eat the Daisies
    09/15 - Antenna TV Celebrates The Bewitched Witch-O-Ween Marathon; Avenue 5 Returns October 10 on HBO
    09/14 - Rick and Morty Season 6 Premiere Is a Hit; FX Brings Comedy Specials to Hulu
    09/13 - 74th Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; HBO Max Renews Rap Sh!t for Season 2
    09/12 - MeTV Celebrates M*A*S*H 50th Anniversary with The Best by Farr; The Simpsons Season 33 Coming to Disney+
    09/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 12, 2022)
    09/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Laverne Cox Comedy from Norman Lear Lands Freevee Series Order; Fox Looking Into Adult Animated Drama
    09/09 - Dancing with the Stars Season 31 Cast; Great Scott! Back to the Future Reunion at New York Comic Con This Fall
    09/08 - COZI TV Acquires Monk, Bones and Las Vegas; HBO Max Renews Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
    09/07 - Rewind TV Fall 2022 Schedule; Back to School Abbott Elementary Marathon
    09/06 - Antenna TV Fall 2022 Schedule; BUZZR Celebrates 50 Years of The Price Is Right
    09/05 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2022