Tag Archives: Super Fun Night

Fall 2013 Review: Super Fun Night

1 Nov

Super Fun Night every night

Super Fun Night borrows from a set up that pops up over and over again in movies and television and has worked plenty of times before in movies like Old School and Animal House among many others. The main characters are self-aware and self-appointed losers. In this case, they’re three best friends who normally stay at home on Friday night, confident in their friendship but not so much in anything else. Like in any of these shows or movies, the losers are our heroes, and the story is about how they break out of their shells and show their worth to the rest of non-loser society.

Rebel Wilson plays the group’s nominal leader Kimmie, a lawyer who just got a promotion at her firm. The aggressive Marika and the diminutive Heather-Alice back her up. Kimmie has a crush on British lawyer Richard Royce who seems to genuinely like her in spite of her constantly embarrassing herself at work, as we see in several flashback cutaways.

Like in many of these types of shows and movies, there’s a clear antagonist, who is a conventional winner and was always a winner. Someone who’s great at everything, who is used to treating losers like dirt and getting away with it, but who is personally despicable by the viewer. More than winning, these characters are obsessed with making sure the losers know their place. The winners will always be winners and the losers will always be losers, and the loser best give up all hope of ever becoming a winner. These television shows and movies often take place in high school and if they don’t it’s like high school all over again with their sense of clear social strata. The British lawyer, Richard, just happens to also be in a position of power, as son of the head of the firm, thus making him an object of interest for Kendall. Kimmie likes him for him, Kendall likes him because his daddy is important.

The pilot is a first battle between our villain Kendall (by the way, even the names tell you who are the winners and who are the losers – given Kendall, Kimmie, Marika, and Heather-Alice, I’d bet you could pick out the villain) and Kimmie for Richard, and luckily for her, Richard seems much more on her page, personality-wise. Unfortunately, apparently just getting along better and having compatible personalities isn’t enough; Kimmie has to defeat, or at least equal, her rival in a karaoke sing-off to prove her worth.

I thought Super Fun Night would be like The Crazy Ones, a sitcom whose value depending almost entirely on your opinion of its polarizing and screen-hogging star, in this case Rebel Wilson. Your opinion about Wilson will have a large impact on how you feel about the show, indisputably, but it’s not dominated by her personality the way The Crazy Ones is by Robin Williams. She’s still the dominant force of the show, and if you don’t like her you probably won’t like the show, but it doesn’t scream Rebel Wilson just starring in a sketch show.

Super Fun Night’s sense of humor is well over the top and not in a good way. Most of the over-the-topness is through cringe-worthy moments where Kimmie embarrasses herself. It’s hard to watch at times. It aims for British awkward comedy combined with American physical comedy and neither work. Cringe comedy is difficult, Peep Show and the original British The Office are two of the most successful examples. In this show, unlike those, we’re unapologetically supposed to be rooting for the main character who is the cause of all the cringe-worthiness. Was I rooting for her? I was, relatively, but only because of a kind of cheat, as the villain was so obviously terrible that there’s really no other option. Given a real choice, I doubt I would root for her. Maybe this is malecentric but I feel bad for the guy who they’re competing over. Rebel Wilson’s clearly well-meaning but doing frustratingly stupid things time and again.

We get it. Kimmie makes a fool of herself a lot at work by accident with all manner of physical pratfall or her kind of disgusting habits. That point is hammered home again and again. Some of them are innocent accidents, some are poor social judgments that she really should know better than to make, and some fall in the middle. I generally keep these reviews link free, but Vulture penned an article that happened to hit the nail right on the head. In order for a show like this to work, you have to really have to buy in to the losers – you have to make them your own. Here, you don’t want to. I want to root for the underdog but they just turn me off here. People can be losers and behave like somewhat normal humans.

Will I watch it again? No.  The set up is a common one but Super Fun Night got it wrong, and Wilson’s brand of self-deflating physical humor is too much.

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Fall 2013 Previews and Predictions: ABC

16 Sep

ABC

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

ABC is the last of the four major networks to get predictions and previews here (CW does not count).  They’ve also got the most new fall shows with 8 and I feel less confident about predictions their shows than any network I’ve done so far.  Still, I’ll have a got at it.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 9/24

Agents of Shield

Probably the most anticipated show of the fall season, Agents represents Marvel’s first foray into live television since the beginning of the new Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with Iron Man. Agents also represents Joss Whedon’s first return to television since Dollhouse. Though he won’t be working on this show day-to-day like he has on his other shows (Avengers 2 requires a lot of work), he co-created the show with his brother Jed Whedon and his brother’s wife, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Joss directs the first episode, which all three co-wrote.  Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg returns to lead a group of eccentric characters who try to solve weekly supernatural action mysteries.

Prediction: Renewal – my most confident renewal pick, along with The Blacklist, though since it’s network television, anything can happen – still it’s a pretty good bet, I think the Marvel name, shepherded by the Whedon writing and sensibility will carry the day.

The Goldbergs – 9/24

All Goldbergs

Television loves making trips to the past. In this case, The Goldbergs is the story of a family in the wacky and wild 1980s, complete with the fashions and music and everything else that comes to mind immediately when you think of the ’80s.  There’s the gruff and angry dad, played by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin, with his wife played by Bridesmaids and Rules of Engagement’s Wendi McLendon-Covey.  They have three kids, including a hot daughter, a goofy teenage son, and a younger son who videotapes all their exploits. They’re all joined by Grandpa, played by George Segal. It does not look promising, and the posters of the family dressed in matching striped shirts doesn’t help anything.

Prediction: 12- It’s getting a surprising amount of promotion; using my anecdotal ads-on-subway test, it’s among the most promoted shows in the ABC line up.  Still, I think it’s not going to work, and I think, looking at that poster, you probably think that too.

The Trophy Wife – 9/24

The Wife Trophy

Malin Akerman, a reformed party girl, marries older Bradley Whitford, who already had multiple kids with two separate ex-wives who both don’t care for her.  How will she navigate the difficulties of step-kids, ex-wifes, and a husband who might still be under the thumb of either?  ABC will hope she handles it hilariously and like Akerman and Whitford, but this looks fairly generic.  If The Goldbergs seems to be getting the most promotion, ,this seems to be getting the least. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden plays one of the ex-wives..

Prediction: 12- A few shows always go out early.  It’s a talented cast but when in doubt, bet against shows which the networks don’t seem to be promoting very heavily.

Lucky 7 – 9/24

Lucky 8 - Unlucky 1

A group of seven workers at a Queens gas station win the lottery, and their lives change, and not just for the better, or we’d have a pretty uninteresting television show.  It’s based off a similar British show, as most TV shows are nowadays. While the trailer was largely unmemorable, it’s actually a new idea, at least in America, which in and of itself is always impressive coming from a network. The cast features largely lesser known actors and actresses and I’m not sure how true to life or overdramatic it will be from the trailer, but it has a chance at being good, which is more than I can say about many network shows after watching the trailers.

Predictions: 13+ – It’s a legitimately interesting idea that could be good or bad depending on well writing, directing, and acting, and so forth.  I’ll take the middle position in lieu of any additional information.

Back in the Game – 9/25

Maggie Lawson's back is in the game

Psych’s Maggie Lawson dumps her terrible husband and returns to her hometown with her son, and moves in with her crotchety father played by James Caan.  When no one else steps up, she, a former softball player, decides to coach her son’s little league team which consists of a bunch of outcast kids. Caan and her are a two part Walter Matthau from Bad News Bears, as she does the baseball coaching and he does the grumpy old man act. Television “that guy” Ben Koldyke plays what I believe is the antagonist rival baseball coach; he was Don in How I Met Your Mother and one of the leads in Work It – I hope for your sake, you’re not familiar with the latter.

Predictions: 13+ It seems fairly generic and inoffensive which maybe will coast it along to half a season, but no more. I like Maggie Lawson in Psych, for what that’s worth.

Betrayal – 9/29

What is this poster about?

A beautiful married photographer begins an affair with a married lawyer, which leads to particular amounts of trouble when they turn out to be on opposite sides of a murder case.  I’m not sure about the tone for this show either, whether it’s over-dramatically sopay like Revenge, or maybe more series and emotional. I have no idea what to make of this show, but the leads are Hannah Ware, whose most famous role was as Kelsey Grammar’s daughter on the little-seen but fantastically over-the-top Boss, and Stuart Townsend who was in Queen of the Damned and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. James Cromwell also appears.

Prediction: 12- I have no idea what to make of this show.  I’m guessing, fairly arbitrarily, the public won’t either.

Super Fun Night – 10/2

Less Fun Day After

Rebel Wilson stars.  There’s a premise to the show, but that’s more or less all you need to know.  If you like her, there’s a good chance you’ll like the show, and if you don’t, well, you’ll probably hate it.  She stars as a young attorney who stays home with her friends every Friday night until she gets a promotion and a hot lawyer invites her out, and she invites her friends to come along and share the super fun times with her.  I’ve largely been in the anti-Rebel camp.  I’ll give the show a shot, because, well, I give all shows a shot, but I’m not hopeful from the trailer.

Prediction; 13+ – Rebel Wilson felt like she has had a TV show coming for some time. She definitely has a lot of fans but we’ll know in a few weeks exactly how many and how much they care.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland – 10/10

Once Upon a Time: Miami

Although I frequently do my best to forget about the existence of Once Upon a Time, the fairy tale drama has become a decent sized hit, with its share of critical fans as well.  The true sign of success on network television is the development of a spin off, and Once Upon a Time is getting that as it enters its third season.  Wonderland actually looks a bit darker than the original, and, despite my better instincts based on my dislike of Once Upon a Time, I’m actually kind of intrigued.  There’ll be plenty of crossover though it seems like, and it’ll be fairly tied in with the original, which means I’ll be cynical until convinced otherwise.

Prediction: Renewal – It’s a smart move and it’s set up well to succeed.  I’m not sure it will work, and spin-off fatigue happens all the time, but I this is a smart attempt by ABC even if it doesn’t work.