Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pilot Review: Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (FOX)
Premiered January 3 at 8:30pm

There are a few things about this new show that I think should have been questioned before it ever got to air. The title, for one, is horrendously obnoxious, and includes far too many details – namely a random character’s name – for it to actually mean anything. Debuting it at the very beginning of January doesn’t make it seem like FOX has too much confidence in it, and lumping it in with the network’s animation block is a puzzling move since, I’d hope at least, it’s not nearly as good as that already niche fare. When you get down to it, however, what really matters is that this show is absolutely terrible. Titling a first episode “How to Survive Your Loveable Jackass” is bad enough, and having to explain what that means by featuring the incredibly obnoxious Barry just makes it worse. This show, which received a thirteen-episode order that I hope it won’t complete, isn’t worried about keeping a lot of its plot for the remaining installments, since it covered 2011, 2013, and 2015 and managed to show that lead Cooper doesn’t make a move on his best friend Kelly until 2015 and still bombs it then. This show feels like a pale, unwelcome rip-off of “The Hangover,” and Justin Bartha’s starring role on this show as a minivan-driving older brother doesn’t help matters at all. It’s just a shame to see the one other familiar face, Meaghan Rath, who has appeared on “Banshee,” “New Girl,” and “Being Human,” as the one saving grace who can’t even come close to making up for everything else that’s bad about this show. Please, no more – get this show off the air as quickly as possible.

How will it work as a series? As mentioned above, this episode lumped five years together into just one half-hour, and so I don’t know how it’s going to manage to tell the rest of its story without employing similar time-jumping techniques which will surely become tiresome. Otherwise, expect plenty of immaturity on behalf of both the characters and the show itself.
How long will it last? Not long. It’s possible that, sandwiched between two long-running popular animated series, no one will notice this show and bother to cancel it, but I think that its initial thirteen episodes will probably be all this show will see, if even that.

Pilot grade: F-

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