So then…we hustle inside the Paley Center in Beverly Hills for a private screening of two new fall TV shows.
“Wow! Are you that well-connected in Hollywood?”
I just happen to have a teen daughter who fell in love with the sneak preview of Red Band Society TV show about teen hospital patients – and used her resourceful, nimble digits online to find out Paley’s hosting a private screening followed by a live interview with some of the cast! $20 per ticket!
So Chloe, 14, grabs her two pals and off we go to Beverly Hills!
They don’t actually travel with giant sunglasses like this – I’m just trying to protect their anonymity. But now that I’ve SEEN how cool this looks, I’m going to insist they wear giant sunglasses to ALL future events!
As we watch the pilot of Red Band Society, Chloe and her teen gal pals wonder which of the dreamy teen boys who play the PATIENTS might be interviewed afterwards.
Um…turns out – none. Two of the show’s NURSES are interviewed. The teen boys are back in Atlanta still filming.
But no fear, the actor and actress playing the nurses are engaging and funny. If you have teens or tweens, they’ll probably enjoy this dramedy about teens in a funky, unique hospital. Red Band Society on Wednesdays on FOX.
So I’d like to tell you about the other show we’re sneak-peeking – it’s called Mulaney.
Well, you remember Stefon, one of my favorite SNL characters played by Bill Hader?
Well, Bill co-wrote all of Stefon’s lines with John Mulaney. Lines like:
New York’s hottest club is: Heeyyyyy!
Description: Built from the bucket list of a dying pervert, this Battery Park bitch parade is now managed by overweight game show host Fat Sajak.
This place has everything: Tweekers, skeevies, Spud Webb, a child, and a Russian guy who runs on a treadmill in a Cosby sweater.
Bonus: The bouncer’s a bulldog who looks like Wilford Brimley, and the password is “dia-beat-us!”
So you’d almost expect the co-writer to look as hip, crazy, and whacked-out as Stefon’s character, right?
THIS is John Mulaney.
He looks like the most straight-up clean-cut white guy in the history of white guys.
Honestly, it’s like he’s a cross between a Boy Scout and Snow White – pure as the driven snow.
A Midwestern broadcaster maybe? – or a Mormon junior accountant?
I would buy insurance from this man!
I can hardly believe this mild-mannered fellow co-wrote the hilariously borderline offensive Stefon lines.
So the new TV show Mulaney is an “ensemble comedy series about a rising stand-up comic trying to take his career to the next level and the friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around.”
Mulaney’s hired as “a writer by self-centered comedy legend Lou Cannon (Martin Short) — but still tries to be there for his roommates Jane (Nasim Pedrad from SNL) and Motif (comedian Seaton Smith) – and friend/dealer Andre (Zack Pearlman), a trust-fund baby. Mulaney’s counseled by Oscar (Elliott Gould), a 71-year-old gay veteran of New York who’s seen it all.”
After the show, the whole cast comes out to answer questions. They’re all funny and charming, but alas, none of them are teen boys, so they’re not quite as appealing to Chloe and her pals. But they enjoy the interview anyway!
Martin Short and John Mulaney
“So what’d you think, Darcy?”
CONS: The sitcom beats are a little predictable. Sample:
Mulaney: I don’t think I’ll ever be booked on Letterman.
Other person: What makes you say that? What did the Letterman booker say?
Mulaney: He said “You’ll never be booked on Letterman.”
You can almost HEAR the rim shot.
I can’t stand sitcoms who follow that tired punchline formula. I call it the “My brother NEVER visits me. Knock Knock. Who’s there? It’s your brother!” cliché.
(Now you could accuse me of just critiquing the show because I’m so profoundly jealous that I’m not a TV comedy writer myself — and that I’d probably give my right
arm leg spleen to work in entertainment… and you’d be right. Ha! BUT…I will say I saw some positive sparks in the show too! And I think it has some great potential, as seen below…)
PROS: Our Boy Scout Accountant may LOOK like a mild-mannered and straight-up white boy – but he is actually a bit dark and perverse – which I like. I like A LOT.
In one scene, Mulaney’s apology to another character goes something like this:
Mulaney, with disturbed expression: “I’m sorry I’m late. I’m a little rattled. I saw a wheelchair on the First Avenue L platform. It was lying on its side. No one was in it. That’s a bad thing to see. (pause) Something happened there.” His expression turns optimistic: “You HOPE it was a miracle…(pause)…but probably not.”
He acts the scene superbly and it’s obvious this is a bit from his stand-up act. But that’s what makes Mulaney unique – his own special perspective on the world.
I hope we get to see a lot more of that type of humor throughout the scenes with other characters – and not just in the few minutes of stand-up he performs on the show.
Yes, it’ll be more difficult for the show’s writers to weave comedy monologue lines into an ensemble sitcom – but I hope they accept that challenge, rather than rely on the old tired shtick of most sitcoms: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that hat!” Cut to: character wearing that hat.
As for the other characters, I’m hopeful they’ll become a little less “one-note” as the series continues. Typically a pilot episode needs to hit the character traits a little hard so the new viewers know what to expect, but I hope the writers trust us enough to move beyond caricature to character. This will make it much less predictable, more authentic, and vastly more enjoyable.
So there you have it: my first TV show review! I’m now supremely qualified to be invited on-set to ALL Hollywood TV shows to interview cast members, review programs, appear as an extra, raid the craft services table, and sneak into the dressing rooms to take selfies with napping actors.
So spread the word to the Hollywood execs: I’m ready for my close-up!
— Darcy Perdu
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(If you watch Mulaney TV show premiere on FOX on October 5, let me know what you think! Have you found any new fall shows you like yet? What are your favorite comedy sitcoms of all-time?)