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Friday, September 16, 2011

Keep or Delete: Up All Night/Free Agents

I think NBC's new series Up All Night is smart, well written, amusing and features a strong core cast with great chemistry. I will likely not watch another episode.  I know that seems contradictory but its not, not when you think a little about the subject matter at hand and my particular circumstances. I am a father of a young boy; I am Will Arnett three years later.  I understand not being able to find the right cheese in the supermarket and creepy old ladies that appear everywhere and ogle your child.  My body is more "Body by Dunking Donuts" than "by Nordic Track" but in almost every other way -- I am Will Arnett.  And, my wife is Christina Applegate (metaphorically, not literally).  So, I don't want to watch an accurate depiction of the more horrible parts of early parenthood, not when I went through the real thing such a short time ago. I think other people are going to agree with me.  The show is DEAD-ON accurate in how it handles the first few months of caregiving for new life ... what person in their right mind would want to relive that so soon thereafter. And, if you don't have kids, I think you're going to find the show boring, or at the least unrelateable. So, who is the audience here?  Standing Blogger and I decided its people with older children who remember vaguely what it was like to have an infant but that enough time has passed to find others suffering through it, funny. Like sadistic grandparents or co-workers with kids about to go off to college.  A niche audience to be sure but I hope it succeeds ... because in 15 years, I'll be ready to watch reruns of the show and laugh.

Free Agents is a hot mess. It wants to be a raunchy workplace comedy with a river of heart and sentiment.  Except, its on broadcast TV and once in its regular time slot, it'll be on before the kids are asleep so how edgy will it be?  Can it be?  If Up All Night is too realistic, Free Agents is its bizzarro world opposite. I work in a fairly relaxed environment and I can tell you, we have never had a full company meeting where Agenda Item #1 was all of the sexual positions I employed the night before.  That's not to say that on a pay-for-cable channel, they couldn't have gone further and made it outrageously funny .. but , that's not the circumstance.  It has to be either edgy or not, brash or not. You can't wink and nod at the audience expecting them to use their imagination to fill in the blanks of debauchery that might have been, if only it weren't for the damn corporate censors and/or sponsors.  Move it SkineMax and unleash the show for what it wants to be. Or else, cancel it.

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