There have been two television comebacks that have both been widely anticipated and met with some reservations. Namely Michael J. Fox of The Michael J. Fox Show and Robin Williams on The Crazy Ones. So it seemed appropriate for me to give my first impressions on both these programs at the same time.
The Michael J. Fox Show is about Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox), a beloved NBC news anchor, who gives up his career after receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson Disease. Five years later, he decides to return to work balancing his work and family life.
The Crazy Ones is about Simon Roberts (Robin Williams) who is an eccentric executive at a Chicago advertising agency, Lewis, Roberts & Roberts, and runs the agency with his tightly wound, neurotic daughter, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Together with their ad team, they get into wacky situations as they try to pitch the perfect idea for their clients.
I have to admit that I was torn about which one to watch and ended up watching them both. I really wanted both sitcoms to do well as I love the actors in them but I’m wondering if I expected too much out of both.
The Michael J. Fox Show is definitely the funnier show out of the two as I found myself laughing at the family dynamic and the socially awkward moments the characters find themselves in. The sitcom is filmed in the mockumentary style which reminded me too much of Modern Family. Not that Modern Family is the first sitcom that adopted this style but when it comes to family sitcoms, that’s what comes to mind.
The characters are all pretty well-defined except for Ian (Conor Romero), the eldest son. He feels like the Winston (from New Girl) out of the groups as Ian dropped out of college to startup his own internet company but mostly lounges around the house after losing his room to his the youngest, Graham (Jack Gore). The writers should really figure out what to do with his character rather than making him the booksmart freeloader.
The Crazy Ones is an entirely different story. I really, really, really wanted to like this show. I mean, it’s Robin Williams and he has the ability to make a simple interview be sidesplittingly funny. Plus, there’s Sarah Michelle Gellar. I mean, ‘Hellooo Buffy.’ Sure, The Ringer wasn’t a great drama but I did mildly enjoy it. Finally, it’s a David E. Kelley show and with a resume that includes Picket Fences, The Practice and Ally McBeal, I thought at the very least I would get some wry humor even though his past successes were mostly 1-hour dramedies.
Sadly, this sitcom doesn’t live up to the names of the people who are involved in it. I’ve only laughed once and it was in last week’s episode where Simon, Zach (James Wolk) and Sydney fought over the attention of Helena (played by guest actress Saffron Burrows) in different ways. Five episodes in is a long time to laugh and although I do enjoy the outtakes at the end of each episode, it was still not enough to garner a chuckle out of me.
Although I am surprised at the casting of James Wolk, I’ve been enjoying his performance in the show as I’ve only previously seen in him dramas (Political Animals, Mad Men) even though he does have previous experience in sitcoms (Happy Endings). He just plays straight-laced very well but here he does have a nice chemistry with Robin Williams.
Perhaps these shows may improve as it goes on but I won’t be holding my breath. These days when the viewers have a plethora of choices the entertainment industry, patience can run thin very quickly. While these shows have the star power and certainly that was a big draw for me, the story needs to be at the same level as the talent that’s represented in each.
The Michael J. Fox Show
The Crazy Ones