Friday, June 19, 2015

Pilot Review: Clipped

Clipped (TBS)
Premiered June 16 at 10pm

I’m not sure why I keep expecting to like shows on TBS after giving the last three pilots I watched on this network – “Ground Floor,” “Sullivan and Son,” and “Men at Work” – a D+, D, and F, respectively. Apparently, all three shows have now been cancelled, and this could well be one of the network’s flagship comedies (though I think its reruns serve that purpose). This show feels like a firm and unwelcome return to the sitcoms of the 1990s, taking a location – a barbershop – and presuming that it speaks for itself in terms of its comedy. Sure, there are modern-day updates, like the same-sex relationship between George Wendt’s barber and Reginald VelJohnson’s traffic cop, bizarrely uniting two famous TV faces from the 1980s, but their relationship is really just fodder for gay joke after gay joke. Those quips feel even more tiring considering Wendt’s Buzzy sits next to the incomparable Charmaine Eskowitz, who gives Twofer of “30 Rock” a run for his money by being both black and Jewish. Lauren Lapkus, who played a sweet-natured prison guard on “Orange is the New Black,” is relegated to being an airy receptionist completely clueless to the fact that a coworker is in love with her. Ryan Pinkston’s Mo is a walking Boston accent, something that manages to, impossibly, speak louder than his stature. The only two sane, normal characters are Ashley Tisdale’s uninspired Danni and Mike Castle’s overly hopeful A.J. This show’s dialogue feels out of date, and nothing about any of its characters is inviting, funny, or worthwhile. This initial half-hour has been more than enough of a sample for me.

How will it work as a series? Firing someone could have happened, but now that it didn’t, it’s going to be a question of finding new reasons to keep the state of the barbershop in flux, which will likely include strange clients coming in and every member of the team trying not to engage in relationships with each other. That doesn’t sound appealing to me at all.
How long will it last? It’s hard to know what TBS is looking for at this point given that it dropped all three of those shows within the past year, but I don’t think this is it. It’s always possible it could get a reprieve, but I think one unmemorable season is all this show deserves and will earn.

Pilot grade: F

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