It’s tough to judge a show from its pilot. They’re shot months before the season starts in order to sell the series to the networks and they have to introduce the basic premise of the show while getting us invested in the characters. Quite the task. Needless to say the first episode of The Crazy Ones left me a little cold, but I wanted to give the show a chance.
So did the second episode win me over? Or am I throwing in the towel?
Let’s break it down…
The story this week focuses on two plot lines, one involving Sidney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) trying to come up with a ‘spectacular’ media event and the rivalry between Zach (James Wolk) and Andrew (Hamish Linklater) who are both vying for the attention and love of Simon (Robin Williams). While the story lines are fairly straightforward and not necessarily original, what saves them from being snoozeworthy are the actors and their chemistry. These are all great comedians working hard to sell us what little they are given.
While Sidney tries to go the safe route on one of their campaigns, the clients aren’t blown away so Simon decides to throw her into the deep end by suggesting a spectacular event that will generate buzz. This is the basic premise of their work relationship: he’s the risk taker and she’s the conservative one. So it’s kinda nice that Sidney does come up with a spectacular marketing plan in the form of a giant coffee pot pouring coffee into a cup…ta-da – jazz hands. Of course things don’t quite go according to plan and hilarity ensues (insert a few chuckles). The funniest part of all of this is the horror commercial that’s created at the end using all the news footage of the event.
Meanwhile the rivalry between Zach and Andrew plays out with Linklater stealing the show this week with his awkward nerd routine. Linklater has a way of saying so much with just a frown and his relationship with the ducklings is both adorable and funny. Wolk, on the other hand, remains charismatic (as always) but I am worried about his character after this week’s episode. He’s flat and the whole bit about feeling jealous for the first time doesn’t work for me at all. He just ends up coming off as stupid, which I don’t think is the right road to go down.
And then, of course, there’s Williams who does a better job at keeping the energy level high. While there are still some moments of improvisation, they’re kept to a minimum and he allows the other actors an opportunity to shine as well. As I mentioned in my previous review, I am really enjoying the relationship between Simon and his daughter. While they might bicker, they are still close and have a mutual respect and love for each other. They share some lovely scenes together where Simon encourages Sidney in her pursuit of the spectacular event. He, of course, infuses this exchange with a few funny moments as well.
And then there’s Lauren (Amanda Setton). Last week she was gracious enough to let Simon smell her hair for inspiration, and this week…well she’s…um…there. In what seems like a meta-moment, when Sidney asks for her opinion she responds, “Oh, I’m just the assistant.” Indeed you are, sweet Lauren, indeed you are.
- Judging from the outtakes it looks like that flashback might have been a bigger idea, but since I didn’t find any of it funny, I’m glad it was cut down to just 30 seconds.
What are your thoughts about this second episode? Do you agree that there’s more heart than humour in the Sidney storyline? Are you worried that James Wolk is flat? Glad to see a chance for Linklater to shine? Wondering why Setton is even on the show? Have your say in the comments below.
The Crazy Ones airs Thursday nights at 9 pm EST on CBS. Be sure to sign up on the right hand side for all of the latest reviews and news via email or Facebook.