Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pilot Review: Crowded

Crowded (NBC)
Premiered March 15 at 10pm

I saw posters for this show with the headline “They’re Baaack…” and the image of two parents barricading their adult children and adult parents from entering through a door all around New York City. Nothing about it looked appealing to me, save for the fact that Emmy winner Carrie Preston from “True Blood” and “The Good Wife” was one of the stars, and “Prison Break” star Stacy Keach played the grandfather. Unfortunately, their previous television experience doesn’t prove helpful or relevant here. I’m still always caught off guard by the use of laugh tracks in new sitcoms, which shouldn’t really be the case since it was such a popular thing for so many years and a defining aspect of television comedies. What’s far more grating is the premise of this show, which is that a couple has both their adult daughters move back in while the husband’s parents stick around much more than they would like. There’s little to nothing to be found in the way of freshness, save perhaps the fact that the rebel daughter, Stella, fluctuates freely between a very unimpressive male ex and a new female suitor. The sentimental bonding moment that she experienced with her nerdy sister Shea, played by Miranda Cosgrove, was sweet but hardly surprising. And I can’t think of a worse app for dating than one where someone scrapes off their toast as a way of rejecting you. That’s exactly what I’d like to do to this show, but I don’t think I need to be nearly that creative.

How will it work as a series? I gave this one another chance with its second half-hour that aired as part of its initial pilot presentation, and I can’t report any improvement over the first installment. This cast is better off in other roles, and the entire show is drowning in familiar and undesirable tropes.
How long will it last? This show did okay in its debut Tuesday airing, and then paled in comparison to the other shows with which it’s airing on Sunday nights at 9:30pm for episode three. I don’t expect this one to last more than the season, but it’s not likely that NBC would find a reason to pull it before it airs its commissioned thirteen episodes.

Pilot grade: D+

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