TV Review: Up All Night (NBC)
UP ALL NIGHT
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
Having been a fan of Christina Applegate since her debut on Married with Children in 1987 and following her career, it was good to see her back on the small screen. Jesse was a role given to her by NBC where she gained praise along with a People's Choice Award. This half hour sitcom also starred Liza Snyder (Yes Dear ), David Deluise , Bruno Campos and was set in Buffalo, New York. With the changes made for the second season, the show was unable to sustain the fan base from season one. In 1996, NBC took a chance on a very funny show ABC was releasing called The Naked Truth starring Tea Leoni . NBC revamped the show which left it limp and dull. Their ability to rework a show is a trait better left for others as they take great and work it to boring.
Applegate took time to venture down other avenues until 2007, when she starred in ABC's Samantha Who? This was the best half hour sitcom cast in many years. Jean Smart taking on the role of Samantha's mother took her comedic skills to a whole new level. Jennifer Esposito (Blue Bloods ) was the perfect choice to play her uppity best friend Andrea Belladonna. Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly ) showed her comedy timing to be above all else playing Samantha's corny and often invisible friend Dena. Kevin Dunn, who's filmography is lengthy and dates back to 1988 with "Mississippi Burning ", played her dad. ABC has struggled with keeping half hour sitcoms alive on their network.
Now Applegate (Reagan Brinkley) finds herself carrying another sitcom and back with NBC. Will Arnett (Chris Brinkley) stars as her husband, and together they struggle with raising a newborn. The remaining cast; Maya Rudolph (Ava), Nick Cannon (Calvin) and Jennifer Hall (Missy), are just vehicles for the main couple to vent and get from scene to scene.
The cast is good, but the writing often talks down to the audience and that is the one thing dialogue should never do. They premiered the pilot episode at such a late time slot, where their fan base would probably be dead asleep. The audience that would be appealed by the show have busy home schedules and most likely would be hard pressed to stay up past 10pm.
Following in the footsteps of some NBC's shows like Community, 30 Rock , and The Office which, although they get the ratings, are less than sea level laugh out loud comedies. Both Applegate and Will Arnett can find more challenging writing that allows them to show the talent that made them stars.
Someone take notes from shows like Happily Divorced,Mike & Molly, Hot in Cleveland, The Big Bang Theory and Melissa & Joey, who have the live audience vibe that makes the writers push their skills to the limit. When you rely on the cast and crew to respond to the lines and the set ups, it leaves the show murky with the audience smiling underneath.
There are, however, shows that are extremely well written that do not even need a laugh track such as Raising Hope, Cougar Town and The Middle . The inbreeding of reality television has reduced the population of talented comedy writers and dumbed down the half hour comedy genre.
Personally I will keep pushing for smart comedy for children in the 8-9pm time slot and adults between 9-10pm. So here is my challenge, comedy writers: if you can make me laugh out loud at least once in every scene, a fan for life I will be.