Friday, October 10, 2014


After years of Animation Domination on Sunday nights, Fox now splits its cartoons, such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, with sitcoms starring actual humans.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine, one of the best comedies on TV, is in there, and so is a new show, Mulaney.

The title gives you the impression that the star, John Mulaney, is someone we should know. But though he's a standup and former Saturday Night Live writer, I'd never heard of him, so my main reaction was why did this guy get a sitcom.

The show is produced by SNL guru Lorne Michaels, and also features Nasim Pedrad, who's done great work at the sketch show for the last five years, but really the feeling is more an updated version of Seinfeld.  And just like Black-ish would like to be the new Cosby Show, I'm sure they wouldn't mind the comparison.  (The reason the show isn't on Michael's home network NBC is that they rejected it.  It was reworked for Fox.)

Mulaney plays a young comedian named John Mulaney who's trying to make it.  The pilot, in fact, started with Mulaney doing some standup, just like Seinfeld did in his early episodes.   Mulaney shares his place with Pedrad, playing personal trainer Jane (only Mulaney gets to keep his name), and also hangs out with two friends, Motif and Andre.  They tend to do riffs on what life is like, not unlike Seinfeld, and most other sitcoms out there now featuring unmarried people in their 20s or 30s living in a big city.

But there's more.  Following a different tack many sitcoms have followed, Mulaney gets a job with a successful but jerky mentor.  It's legendary (in his own mind) comedian and game show host Lou Cannon, played by Martin Short.

Another big name in a supporting role is Elliott Gould as a bizarre neighbor who dispenses gnomic advice.  Not quite sure where they're going with this, but the bizarre neighbor is always a safe standby, I guess.

While the actors are reasonably appealing, the show isn't much.  Not yet, anyway.  Though with such a lackluster opening I'm not sure how many more chances it'll get.  So if you want to check it out, I'd suggest you do it soon.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I knew Mulaney's stand-up a bit going in, so it's not a surprise that's the part of the pilot I liked best. I also liked Pedrad, though I'm concerned she's starting off as too extreme a characterization of a neurotic woman. She's good at it, but it seems to me Julia Louis-Dreyfus grew into her final incarnation. And I thought trying to force their version of "Neuman" into the pilot was a mistake. Again, that character (the guy we could hate) was very funny in Seinfeld, but he started as a very infrequent character.

5:26 AM, October 10, 2014  

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