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

    Tuesday, August 3

    The Goldbergs - "Alligator Schwartz" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Erica fears that Geoff has moved on from their breakup and started dating someone else. Meanwhile, Adam decides to find Dave Kim a date to prom, once he remembers his pact with Dave that they won’t go to prom if they both don’t have dates.

    Home Economics - "Bounce Hospital Rental, $250" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Connor invites all the cousins over for an epic sleepover to cheer up his daughter, Gretchen. Meanwhile, Tom is determined to prove he can be a fun uncle too.

    The Conners - "A Cold Mom, a Brother Daddy and a Prison Baby" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Ben’s mom, Barb, arrives in town after an unexpected death and unveils shocking information from the past. Meanwhile, Becky and Emilio spend more time together.

    black-ish - "Snitches Get Boundaries" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After one of Dre’s secrets with Pops is spilled to Ruby, he realizes that his relationships with each of his parents have changed since they got married and he no longer knows in whom to confide. Meanwhile, Bow surprises Jack and Diane with a brand-new car and tries to teach the twins how to drive.

    Miracle Workers - "Oregon Trail: What Happens in Branchwater" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
    The wagon train stops in the sinful town of Branchwater, luring Ezekiel into a night of debauchery and temptation; Benny finds his favorite saloon has transformed into an inauthentic tourist trap.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 2)

    Tuesday, August 3

    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Catch Christian on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen/The Ellen Show) - Ellen is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Kristen and Dax chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • John Corbett (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky/Sex and the City) - John appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mr. Corman/3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph talks about his role in the new series Mr. Corman on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Kat Dennings (Dollface/2 Broke Girls/Raising Dad) - Kat appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Pooch Hall (The Game/Accidentally on Purpose) - Pooch is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tisha Campell (Outmatched/Dr. Ken/My Wife and Kids/Martin) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - A repeat of Tamron Hall celebrates the power of friendships with actresses and childhood friends Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold, who co-starred in the classic sitcom Martin and are now working on a new talk show, so check your local lisitngs.
    • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
    • Laura Prepon (Are You There, Chelsea?/That '70s Show) - Laura talks about the joys and challenges of being a new mother of two, and makes a quick and easy Mediterranean salad on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

    Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

    04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
    05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
    06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
    06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
    06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
    06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
    06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
    07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
    07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
    07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
    07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/02 - Antenna TV Fall 2021 Schedule; Rewind TV Launch Schedule Beginning September 1
    08/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 2, 2021)
    07/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Remake for TBS; Schitt's Creek Producer Hoping to Replicate Success with Son of a Critch
    07/30 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest Are Promising Comedies on Apple TV+; Paramount+ Announces Cast for The Game Revival
    07/29 - Sarah Silverman Hosting David Letterman Produced TBS Series; More Stars Joining And Just Like That...
    07/28 - Game Show Network Announces New Original Series; Retta Hosting New HGTV Show
    07/27 - Fox Fall 2021 Premiere Dates; B.J. Novak's The Premise to Premiere on FX on Hulu
    07/26 - Damon Wayans Jr. to Host Frogger; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Getting All-Star Guests
    07/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 26, 2021)
    07/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Manifest Cancellation Being Reconsidered; American Housewife Sold for Broadcast Syndication
    07/23 - Fri-Yay: 2021 Emmy Nominations Heavy on New Comedies, Light on Traditional Sitcoms; That Damn Michael Che Gets a Second Season
    07/22 - Lifetime Announces Justina Machado TV Movie; ABC News to Focus on Superstars
    07/21 - HBO Max's Love Life Season 2 Announces Cast; Kevin Hart and Jason Biggs Host Back-to-Back Shows on E!
    07/20 - Peacock's Superfan Episodes of The Office; The Other Two Season 2 Launch Date on New Network HBO Max
    07/19 - Melrose Place Reunion on Fox's New Fantasy Island; Tacoma FD Returns Sept. 16 on truTV
    07/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 19, 2021)
    07/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jerry O'Connell Joins the Conversation on The Talk; Norman Lear Sitcoms Arrive on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV
    07/16 - ABC Fall 2021 Premiere Dates Includes The Wonder Years; Paramount+ Renews iCarly
    07/15 - Norman Lear Classics to Stream on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV; Cristela Alonzo to Host Hidden Temple on The CW
    07/14 - 73rd Emmy Awards Nominations; Showtime Orders Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Comedy
    07/13 - Emmy Awards Slated for Sep. 19, CBS Fall Premiere Dates; Remembering Charlie Robinson - Mac from Night Court
    07/12 - Huge Star Joining Season 5 of Search Party on HBO Max; Late Night Talk Show Pause with Sam Jay to Return
    07/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 12, 2021)
    07/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting News for Night Court Reboot; Rutherford Falls Renewed for Second Season
    07/09 - Fri-Yay: CNN's History of the Sitcom Looks Like a Treat for Sitcom Fans; Rutherford Falls Renewed for 2nd Season; Remembering Suzzanne Douglas of The Parent 'Hood
    07/08 - COZI TV Acquires 3rd Rock from the Sun and Quincy, M.E. This Summer; The Standups to Return to Netflix After Long Hiatus
    07/07 - AnTENna TV's Birthday Party Continues on July 10; HBO Max's Our Flag Means Death Adds More to Cast
    07/06 - Netflix Cancels 4 Sitcoms Including Kevin James Series; HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars Casts Two Leads
    07/05 - Happy 4th of July; Limited Edition Younger Vinyl Soundtrack Coming July 16; Seinfeld Soundtrack Released
    07/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 5, 2021)
    07/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Cancels Several Sitcoms; Telma Hopkins Cast in NBC Dark Dramedy Pilot
    07/02 - Fri-Yay: Modern Family is a Perfect Holiday Weekend Binge; Spike Lee to Open NBA Finals