Monday, March 23, 2015

Pilot Review: One Big Happy

One Big Happy (NBC)
Premiered March 17 at 9:30pm

How many times have we seen stories in film or television about a woman preparing to have a baby with her gay male friend? This show puts a slight twist on that by making the mother-to-be the one interested in the same gender, and, of course, the guy meets the girl of his dreams just as he’s about to start a family with someone he loves, but not in that way. This show, most of all, feels like someone plucked directly from the early 2000s when “Will and Grace” was in its heyday, complete with an obnoxious laugh track that cues the audience to laugh when there isn’t really anything funny happening. A major reason that it feels more than a decade old is that all three of its stars had roles on shows in the early aughts. Elisha Cuthbert will forever be remembered as Jack Bauer’s daughter Kim on "24," known for getting stuck in bear traps and kidnapped repeatedly. Though she is beloved by “Happy Endings” fans, it appears that Cuthbert’s acting chops have not improved in the past fifteen years, as she possesses little charisma in a role that should be inherently endearing. Nick Zano was on The WB’s “What I Like About You” with a then-normal Amanda Bynes, and here he gets to be passionate, energetic, and not entirely grating as the relatively clueless guy who doesn’t understand that he’s abandoning his best friend just after she realizes that she’s pregnant. And then there’s Kelly Brook, whose name I recognized from her stint as Lex Luthor’s girlfriend in season one of “Smallville” way back in 2001. It’s as if she doesn’t realize that there are other people on this show, determined to overplay her already over-the-top character as much as possible. The concept, in theory, is cute, but these three just don’t jell together as well as they should. I’m willing to give it another chance, but I’m not optimistic.

How will it work as a series? Brook’s Prudence isn’t going anywhere, and I’m sure that Cuthbert’s Lizzy will regret running to the airport to beg her not to leave. What this show needs to do most of all is tone down Prudence and her nonstop nudity, and give Lizzy a personality of some sort aside from just being uptight and talking about how she’s a lesbian.
How long will it last? It actually got off to a decent start in terms of ratings, but the reviews for this show were pretty poor. That doesn’t spell doom, of course, but it means that NBC isn’t likely to fight for it if it has other possibilities to take its place. Right now, I’d bet on it being taken off the air at the end of its first season.

Pilot grade: C-

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