Friday, November 4, 2016

Pilot Review: The Great Indoors

The Great Indoors (CBS)
Premiered October 27 at 8:30pm

I’m very pleased to report that this show really surprised me. I’m not a huge fan of laugh-track sitcoms, and I didn’t like “Community” so seeing Joel McHale in a new series was hardly as enticing for me as I imagine it may have been for many others. I sat down to watch this pilot expecting to hate it, and I actually laughed quite a few times, something I don’t even do all that much with shows I do enjoy. The premise of this show is one that almost sets itself up for failure, an established adventurer who is forced to work with annoying twentysomethings in an office where they have to pretend that they’re living in and exploring the outdoors. But there’s something about the attitude that McHale’s Jack expresses and the way those around him respond to him that really works. Responding to the prompt “Name one thing to do if a bear attacks” with “Die” and launching into a rant about how the team that won also tried so hard and that trophies should be for winners were two particularly great moments. I’m happy to see Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who got his start in “Superbad,” in a role perfectly suited for his talents, and he’s definitely the best of the younger generation. The real standout, however, is Stephen Fry, who casually talks about carrying a man down a mountain because he wasn’t as heavy as his pack and demonstrates that the can make anything sound like a question. I would never have predicted it, but I’m excited to give this show another chance.

How will it work as a series? From this start, we can tell that Jack is going to have a tough time adjusting to reporting about outdoor adventures while stuck inside, and I suspect that journey is going to be a lot of fun. It could become repetitive or uncreative, but I think there’s good comedy potential here.
How long will it last? Airing after “The Big Bang Theory” worked out well for this premiere, which scored decent if not spectacular ratings. I think I enjoyed this show a lot more than most, but quality doesn’t always mean much when it comes to CBS sitcoms. At the moment, I’d give this one a solid shot at landing a season two renewal.

Pilot grade: B+

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