Thursday, October 4, 2018

Pilot Review: The Cool Kids

The Cool Kids (FOX)
Premiered September 28 at 8:30pm

When I look at the evolution of the sitcom over the past two decades, this show feels like a purposely backwards step, one designed to highlight the comedy that can be found in being old-fashioned. Unsurprisingly, it’s not a very successful enterprise, namely because it wouldn’t have worked well or felt highly original back when this type of format was in vogue. What this show does do is bring together four actors whose careers span back many years for what I certainly hope won’t be their final TV credits, though they’re also not quite as old as their characters are supposed to be. The two I recognize from recent work are Martin Mull, who I first saw on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and more recently in his Emmy-nominated turn on “Veep,” and Leslie Jordan, who won an Emmy for his recurring role as Beverly Leslie on “Will and Grace.” The four of them do cover a range of bases, which allow them to make off-color remarks that feel more acceptable because they’re the ones saying them. Ultimately, though, this is a show about three old guys who don’t want a woman to take a seat at their dinner table, which is far from sophisticated or creative. This show may be okay with that description, but it’s not funny either, so there really isn’t much of a point in getting to know these mostly irritating but occasionally endearing characters who are trying to make the most of their later years in life.

How will it work as a series? They’re not going to have a friend who dies in every episode, so that can be considered the equivalent of a sensational plotline for the sake of the pilot. I don’t expect that the sophistication level of the writing and the plotting is going to change though, so we can look forward to alternately lackluster and over-the-top antics from these four on a weekly basis.
How long will it last? The reviews aren’t great, but who would have thought that they would be? Ranking as the most-watched broadcast comedy debut on Friday night in six years, as reported by The Futon Critic, is a much bigger deal, and something that’s sure to keep this show on the air for a while as long as the audience doesn’t drop – which I think it might. For now, I’ll predict a two-season run based on a smart time slot.

Pilot grade: D+

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