The Crazy Ones
CBS, Thursdays 9/8 Central
Sep 26, 2013
Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT
A few years ago, the buzz about television centered on the new TV renaissance and how shows like Breaking Bad, Louie, and Mad Men were completely redefining the artistic spectrum of American programming. Now, we're living in a post-renaissance world, and the stragglers desperate to recreate the formulas that worked for those shows are catching up and completely missing the point. The Crazy Ones, starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a perfect example. Williams and Gellar play a father-daughter team of ad execs at a firm handling big accounts—like a certain major fast-food chain. The premise is harmless enough, but the show plays out as if a McDonald's executive watched an episode of Mad Men, completely missed the irony, and thought the format of a drama-centered ad agency would be a perfect vehicle to sell hamburgers. The story is one-third family dynamics (centered on Williams' eccentricities) and two-thirds commercial taglines. Even the show's title is derivative of Mad Men, but without the clever pun.
That said, Robin Williams is still a welcome presence on network TV, and the laughs are barely hampered by the overhanded commercialism. James Wolk—also stolen from Mad Men—works really well with Williams, and the structure and characters are obviously well developed and have potential. It's still a shameless corporate ripoff of a once-original idea. The TV renaissance is being infiltrated by the minions it set out to subvert, but in all honesty, it could be a lot worse. (www.cbs.com/shows/the-crazy-ones)
Author rating: 5/10