Sunday, April 7, 2019

Pilot Review: Abby’s

Abby’s (NBC)
Premiered March 28 at 9:30pm

I was thinking about this show recently after remembering seeing something about a series with Natalie Morales as a bartender and Neil Flynn as her number one customer. I like Morales a lot from her work on “Parks and Recreation,” and while I do think she’s been great in roles on “The Grinder” and “Santa Clarita Diet,” neither has given her as much to do as I would have hoped. Flynn spent a long time on “The Middle,” a show I didn’t watch, after making a big name for himself as the janitor on “Scrubs.” It’s good to see both of them here in a show that might not be high-concept but is actually pretty entertaining, joined by Nelson Franklin, a familiar face from the likes of “New Girl” and “Veep.” I did crack up at a few lines, including Bill’s assessment of the small rectangle that he could see all of because he’s tall and Abby thinking that her landlord lived at the civic center. This does feel in many ways like a comedy straight out of twenty years ago, though it has some charm, and I like the stars enough to give it another chance and see where it goes. Bill giving Abby the ultimate test by having her make him a Mai Tai just to see if she’d do it was a fun way to end things, and it shows that Bill, even if most at the bar would consider him a square, has a sense of humor too.

How will it work as a series? Shows like this tend to demonstrate their quality early, following up on a decent, setup-heavy installment like this with either an equally engaging episode or something that shows considerably less promise. I hope that it will be the former, but we’ll have to see if Abby’s sardonic charm can carry this show or if this will be just another workplace comedy set in a bar.
How long will it last? I know that, even if I like it, I shouldn’t get too attached because it’s very unlikely that this show is going to be around for long. The reviews aren’t great even if they’re better than a bunch of other sitcoms that have premiered lately, but the more problematic thing is that the ratings weren’t good at all. NBC hasn’t been doing fantastically in recent years, and it’s going to be much likelier to hold on to established hits than something like this. I predict that the ten ordered episodes will air and that will be it.

Pilot grade: B+

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