Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pilot Review: Rel

Rel (FOX)
Premiered September 9 at 8pm

Most of the broadcast network pilots are starting towards the end of the month, but for some strange reason, we get this one as the first early premiere. I wasn’t familiar with actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery, who I now recognize from his minor role as the TSA agent best friend in “Get Out.” We’ve mostly moved away from people getting shows just because they’ve been funnier in other venues, but it still does happen and the result is often what happens here. This show feels like it’s straight out of the late 1990s or early 2000s, exhibiting very few signs of creativity and even fewer laughs. When the laugh track starts right away before anything funny happens, it’s evident that there’s a whole lot of overcompensation at play. The whole premise here is very overdrawn, with everyone somehow knowing that his wife had sex with his barber. The fact that Monica had “loose boots” and that was the problem that he had with her was silly at best, and it only went downhill from there. Howery playing the pastor who was oversharing everything about his life means that this show isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and Sinbad’s entire role is the most thinly written. This feels like so many sitcoms that have been forgotten through the years, and Howery playing a version of himself doesn’t make it stand out at all. Premiering it before the rest of the fall slate isn’t doing this show any favors – it’s not good even with no competition.

How will it work as a series? He managed to confront the barber and somehow seem inferior, and so presumably he’s going to have to restart his life on his own. We haven’t seen his kids yet, and so it’s possible they’ll be a positive addition to the show and make him slightly more endearing and tolerable, but I doubt that.
How long will it last? The reviews are predictably poor, but the ratings weren’t all that bad. Starting out early is a good thing for this show, though I’m not sure how well it will do when it’s puzzlingly tacked on to FOX’s Sunday night animated lineup. I don’t think it’s going to make it to the end of the season.

Pilot grade: F

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