Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pilot Review: The Kominsky Method

The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Premiered November 16

When I sit down to watch a Chuck Lorre sitcom, I expect to chuck a bit and maybe even laugh loudly once or twice. I don’t, however, expect something mature and sentimental. After making a name for himself with “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” among others, Lorre went to Netflix a couple years ago with “Disjointed,” another laugh-track comedy starring Kathy Bates as a weed dispensary operator, that didn’t suggest much creativity and ended up being quickly cancelled. Now, unexpectedly, Lorre is teaming with two veteran Oscars who are also Oscar winners for something that’s much more sophisticate and successful on a number of levels. We’ve seen plenty of shows about those who are way past the prime of their lives trying to stay relevant by being acting coaches, including another one just this year, “Barry.” This one is nice because it features two much older actors, Michael Douglas, who is 74, and Alan Arkin, who is 84. The best part is that they’re both great, and this show serves as a slightly more dramatic counterpart to the similarly charming “Grace and Frankie.” I’m also very happy to see Sarah Baker from “Louie” as Sandy’s daughter, and Nancy Travis, most recently seen on “Last Man Standing,” seems like a great addition as Sandy’s new date who’s going to do a deep dive into their relationship. I didn’t recognize Emily Osment as Theresa, the student who did the “Steel Magnolias” scene, but she was great. I didn’t have high expectations for this one despite seeing Douglas’ name listed on Golden Globe predictions list, but now I’m more than ready to settle in for its eight-episode first season.

How will it work as a series? Eileen dying at the end of the episode was certainly a sad direction to go, but it’s going to help Sandy realize that he’s mortal and that he should be thinking more about what he’s really doing with his life. Following his relationship with Lisa and his difficulty relating to these young, entitled acting students should prove to be a lot of fun, with some drama mixed in along the way.
How long will it last? The reviews seem to be mostly positive, but given how popular Lorre is and how respected his stars are, I assume this one will keep going as long as he and the actors are interested in continuing to produce it. I’d expect a renewal very, very soon.

Pilot grade: B+

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