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David T. Cole

Mulaney

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I genuinely laughed at all the standup parts. The rest of the trailer? Not so much. This has me worried. 

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John has been one of my favorite standups for the past couple years, since I saw him at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2010 mere hours removed from his Trans-Pacific flight. But the trailer has me worried too, it's laugh track humor and the characters appear pretty one note, even with Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, and Elliot Gould. 

 

And why is he performing standup in front of the set at the end? Is the show going to be about him making a show about his fictional life in the actual show? Ow!

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@Kromm thanks! I don't know why they did that, I have the official fox YouTube one up now so that should stay. 

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I watched New in Town a little while ago to prep for Mulaney. I can definitely see how they could spin some of those jokes into a show but if they do it badly it can easily go sitcom-y in the worst way.

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That promo needs music with funny popping noises.  Also more Elliot Gould, but less Martin Short.

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John, a struggling stand-up comedian, takes a job writing for a difficult game-show host in the premiere of this sitcom based on the life and comedy of entertainer John Mulaney. Meanwhile, John's roommate Jane tries to prove to an ex that she isn't crazy; and his other roommate Motif attempts to write a joke with a great punch line.

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I think I should watch this just for how bad it will be. Mulaney is so funny, he was on both Late Night and The Tonight Show and was awesome, so why couldn't he do a better sitcom? And why do we need Martin Short? He's always so over the top, it's clear his character will be way more interesting and get more funny stuff to do than anyone else in the cast?

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It's airing right now, in Canada, 7 PM EST.

 

It will also air later at the regular premiere time.

 

I'm kind of enjoying it, but so much is based on his stand-up, which of course I've seen because I'm a fan of his!  So those jokes are obviously not going to be surprises.

 

I don't know why so many sitcoms (today, still) insist on the laugh track.  It was passe when HIMYM was doing it and it's passe now.  Nothing's going to change my mind on that....  However, I'll be sticking with him because I really like him.  I'm a big fan of Martin Short and Nasim also.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay

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.............WTF did I just watch?

And I like Mulaney's stand up.

Could have done without the "hilarious" prostate exam.

Martin Short just made me sad.

HASHTAG!

:-(

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I liked this show the first time I saw it -- it appears to be a carbon copy of the Dave Foley series "Spun Out".

 

Young guy starting a new job (who plays the straight man for all the jokes) -- check

Whacky boss played by an established comedian -- check

Goofy roommate -- check

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I fear there's no hope for this.

 

But, I kept repeating to myself, "this is just the pilot," "Seinfeld wasn't great at first."

 

But, we already have a Seinfeld.

 

I don't watch any other traditional sitcoms anymore. But, I don't remember any of the good ones playing to the camera like this. The acting was very amateur for John, Nasim, and the Motif guy. And I love Martin Short, but he didn't help. I guess he's the Kramer of this show.

 

The only person who seemed comfortable and easy was Elliott Gould.

 

How did they explain all three of them being at the doctor at the same time on the same day?

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Every review I've read says this gets waaay better after the pilot (I believe they sent the first three eps to critics). I sure hope so, because it stunk.

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I love John Mulaney's stand-up.

 

But this pilot was a disappointment on so many levels; John's delivery was just.. off? He seemed stilted and wooden. And it was trying way too hard for a "Seinfeld-esque" vibe.

 

I'll stick with it far a few more eps, if word is that it gets better.  BUt I hope they utilize more Elliout Gould and way less Martin Short in the future. (Seriously, have none of them seen "Celebrity Game Night"?)

 

 

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I will say I didn't think it was that bad.  It wasn't great - it needs work.  I would dump the dealer character in a nanosecond but with some minor adjustments, I think it could grow to be a very funny show. I agree we need more Elliot Gould and less Martin Short - or at least a slightly less manic Martin Short. 

 

I had heard so many bad things, I guess my expectations were very low. 

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My love for John as a stand-up and SNL writer makes me want to believe this gets better, but Alan Sepinwall's review made me a little leery:
 

 

FOX made five episodes available to critics. There's no tangible sense of improvement over the course of those five episodes, but there are occasional glimpses of a version of the show that could work down the road once Mulaney relaxes on camera and he and the other writers sharpen their approach.

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I do think the biggest issue is that John Mulaney just clearly isn't as comfortable on camera yet, as an actor (vs as a standup).  The material is funny, but he is delivering them like he delivers his standup, which doesn't work when it's supposed to be in conversation.  But that's an easier thing to fix that bad material; he can work through that part.

 

I do think the critics went WAY over the top in saying how "terrible" this was.  It's not the best pilot I've ever seen, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the critics were making it out to be.

 

I am curious to see what the ratings will look like - early ratings weren't terrible (worst of the night, but better than the Tuesday night Fox shows), but the official ratings won't be out until later today.  It's biggest issue might be that the initial ratings say it lost quite a bit of Family Guy's audience.

Edited by Princess Sparkle
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It's biggest issue might be that the initial ratings say it lost quite a bit of Family Guy's audience.

 

I don't think FG and Mulananey have the same target audience at all, so I would have expected that to be the case. (Though FG hasn't been consistently good and/or funny in YEARS.)

 

But even so Sunday seemed like a really bad place to put this show to begin with; Fox has had the "Amimation Domination" thing down, it seems silly to break that trend now..  And with the other Live-Action shows on Sunday, this show could just get lost in the shuffle.

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Maybe it was just me getting numb to it, but I thought the show got better as it progressed. The first 10 minutes or so was bascially a "Tonight Show style" set-up for his stand up. I think the parallels drawn to Spun Out are apt. That show was pretty uncomfortable early on as nearly everyone was new to the game, but it did find it's feet.

 

Overall the show just felt...forced. Yeah, I think that's a good word. It's a pilot, and I like the cast so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but I really hope everyone settles in. John needs to relax. Nasim and Martin don't have to overact quite so much. I hope the drug dealer character gets canned. And then I think you've got the makings of a sitcom.

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I bailed out after the first ten minutes. I don't have time to waste on things I'm not getting interested in. Didn't laugh once. Acting made me cringe. No thank you.

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I don't think FG and Mulananey have the same target audience at all, so I would have expected that to be the case. (Though FG hasn't been consistently good and/or funny in YEARS.)

 

But even so Sunday seemed like a really bad place to put this show to begin with; Fox has had the "Amimation Domination" thing down, it seems silly to break that trend now..  And with the other Live-Action shows on Sunday, this show could just get lost in the shuffle.

Oh, I totally agree they don't have the same audience, but I think Fox was hoping Mulaney would hold onto some of that lead in. And I think we're on the same page with the move to Sunday - I wish Fox had left Tuesday as their "Comedy Night" and paired this directly with Brooklyn Nine Nine, since I think that would've worked better.

 

But ratings are in, and the biggest issue is probably the key demo rating - it went from a 1.9 with Family Guy to a 1.0 with Mulaney. 

 

ETA: Zap2It has slightly higher ratings, so I'm not sure which is correct.  If Zap2It's are correct, then Mulaney is on par with New Girl and The Mindy Project.

Edited by Princess Sparkle

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Pilots don't have to be bad, I get that perhaps a character needs to go, or a set needs to be changed. I'm disappointed because Mulaney is a very funny guy, perhaps a sitcom is not his forte. I admit, I only caught the last ten minutes, but what I saw was awful. Yes, forced is a great word, and my presumption on Martin Short was correct. And I didn't get why Elliot Gould was there. To think there are talented writers who would like to be in TV who could have done a thousand times better than this.

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The show was better than I expected from the reviews, but my biggest takeaway is that while John Mulaney is funny, he cannot act to save his life. I thought Martin Short was a bit more toned down than usual. I hope the show can find its stride before it gets cancelled. 

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I am a huge fan of his stand-up, so I'm going to give the show at least a few episodes to find its groove. But, good lord, that was really painful for me. The acting was terrible, and I hated Martin Short's character. Like the poster above said, someone clearly didn't see him on Hollywood Game Night. I'm actually worried about the show hurting his stand-up career. It'd be a shame if someone didn't try his stand-up based on this awful show!

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I'm in the minority but I actually really enjoyed it. It was just what I expected. I like John's comedy so much because it's awkward and wooden. I loved Nasim and the roommate as well, and I kept seeing so much overlap with Martin Short being Marshall's boss on HIMYM, but this character is like a weird hybrid with Russell from Rules of Engagement.

Favorite moments were Nasim's character assaulting the hand sanitizer dispenser and John's roommate saying that his "problem bitch" idea was "in the zeitgeist now".

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One thing I do wish is that the first episode hadn't relied so heavily on his standup. There were so many parts where I knew exactly what was coming because I heard it in his standup already. I get why he did it - not everyone is going to have heard the standup already, so they're fresh jokes to them- but I hated knowing 95% of the set-ups. And not all work as "conversation" bits - for example, the prostate exam is one of his funniest jokes in his standup, but seeing it play out as a storyline really didn't hit as well.

I did appreciate the two nods to his Law and Order: SVU bits, since they weren't as overt: Ice-T doing the initial voice over, and Dean Cain as the celebrity guest in the game show.

Edited by Princess Sparkle
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This was really bad. The only thing that was amusing for me was noticing that Mulaney was a close-talker. He was like 6 inches away from the other person whenever he talked to them. At one point Nasim's character sits on the couch and then he walks over right next to her, practically leaning on her while standing over her and having a conversation, it was so weird.

Edited by Nellise
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Pilots don't have to be bad, I get that perhaps a character needs to go, or a set needs to be changed. I'm disappointed because Mulaney is a very funny guy, perhaps a sitcom is not his forte. I admit, I only caught the last ten minutes, but what I saw was awful. Yes, forced is a great word, and my presumption on Martin Short was correct. And I didn't get why Elliot Gould was there. To think there are talented writers who would like to be in TV who could have done a thousand times better than this.

 

I agree with you.  I love Mulaney but this show doesn't do him nor the great cast justice at all.  Yet.

All the tools and parts are there. It just needs a very good mechanic

 

I wouldn't even mind a Seinfeld 2.0 but I doubt the FOX network has the patience to allow this show to grow into its own the way NBC did with Seinfeld.

Edited by Fisher King

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If I were the mechanic...

 

I'd drop Andre right away. You need the viewer to care about the core cast, having too many fringe characters early on is just going to bog it down.

Keep Martin Short and Elliot Gould in minor supporting roles. I think the show needs them for the veteran acting presence with so many inexperienced talent. Let them carry and support the main characters though, not over power...I'm looking at you Martin.

Keep Nasim's dating stories to a minimum. Right now she has an, 'all I care about is dating" vibe. Give her some of the real struggles of a real woman.

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It was very weird how the show treated the only female character, and it doesn't bode well.  I'll keep an open mind for now.... but side-eyeing the show for that weird characterization.  

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My biggest issue was I was not at all clear on a lot of the relationships. I mean clearly, "bitches" guy is his comedian friend, Elliot Gould and Martin Short were clearly established... They made it clear Nasim was supposed to be basically a psycho ex-girlfriend type. And the drug dealer guy is a pop-in friend. But I noticed some people referring to Other Comedian as Mulaney's roommate; I thought Nasim was the roommate. Or do all three live together? Basically, when they were in Mulaney's apartment I couldn't figure out why they were there, who lived there, who was just hanging out, whatnot. I was like...did I miss something. Is Nasim his sister? Best friend? I mean, it wouldn't really matter the exact relationship if the whole thing were hilarious, but it wasn't, so I was busy being distracted and feeling like I missed something. Which maybe I did? I mean, I usually will tolerate a certain amount of exposition from a pilot, and I don't necessarily mind that they (seem to have) skipped a lot of exposition, but it played like they forgot to establish the relationships (by stating them or otherwise). Plus the oh-so-very-not-subtle Seinfeldian vibe with the stand up sections.

Edited by theatremouse

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Yeah, the stand-up stuff is ridiculous in that they show it in front of the set. So, the real John Mulaney is the warm up comedian for the Mulaney show? And we're including this in the episodes? Oy!

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Why do they make such a big point of announcing "Mulanay is filmed in front of a studio audience" only to follow that up with the most obvious laugh track I've heard in years?


That insults me on such a deep level. A mere laugh track would have been bad enough, but the juxtaposition to that statement comes off as a "Fuck you, viewer--we think you are goddam idiots". 


Mind you, it's not that I think they're lying saying it's filmed in front of a studio audience.  But making sure that's shoved in our face seconds before illustrating to us that this audience's reactions were DELETED (but presenting it to us in a form that invites us to believe it's really that studio audience DOING that fake overdone laughing) is enraging.

 

BTW: Martin Short needs to be put down. And the moment we saw the Prostate exam joke (in a pilot?) that should have told us how bad this was going to get.  The female character getting a Crazy Stalker storyline?  I'd buy that if she was an established character we knew had other qualities.  But in a Pilot to establish her character? That's low.  Really low.

 

So overall... does the world need "Seinfeld meets Rob Petrie"?  Not really.  Not unless it was damn good--and this wasn't even SLIGHTLY good. I'll give it a few more episodes to see if it turns around, but this was so bad I'm not hopeful.

 

I will say this, amongst the river of shit, Elliot Gould was somehow weirdly wonderful.  But it's not HIS show.  A minute per show of that bizarrely interesting character won't make up for 22 minutes of other utter bullshit.

Edited by Kromm
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Why do they make such a big point of announcing "Mulanay is filmed in front of a studio audience" only to follow that up with the most obvious laugh track I've heard in years?

That Whitney Cummings sitcom did the same thing for its intro, too. "Whitney is taped in front of a live studio audience. Yeah, that's right." Or something like that. It's almost like they're saying, "Hey, we're trying to be meta by acknowledging that live studio audiences/laugh tracks are stilted and unfunny, but we're going to use one anyways."

 

I love John Mulaney's stand up. I've been to one of his live shows. I wanted to like this show so much, but... yeah. That was bad. He might just be one of those comedians who works better in the stand up world and not the television/acting world. Although, I do think this show would be 1000% funnier if it wasn't a multi-cam set up.

 

And not all work as "conversation" bits - for example, the prostate exam is one of his funniest jokes in his standup, but seeing it play out as a storyline really didn't hit as well.

I really hope they don't touch his Delta Airlines bit or the What's New Pussycat joke.

Edited by Curio

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John starts dating a doula who helps him deal with his fear of childbirth. Meanwhile, Lou's outrageous on-screen behavior warrants John's attention.

Guest Starring: Fortune Feimster as Mary Jo; Maria Thayer as The Doula

 

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This was even worse than the Pilot.  Martin Short is playing a waste of protoplasm, but that doesn't change the fact that he himself comes off as a waste of protoplasm, and it makes watching him difficult. The "filmed in front of a studio audience" followed by the horrible artificial laugh track is still there, and still doubly offensive in combination. The actual jokes of the show still seem to center overly much on bodily fluids, talking about naughty bits and playing with them, or things coming in or out of them, etc. Mulaney himself still comes off as smarmy more than interesting.  

 

And the Doula/Air conditioner joke was one of the most infantile things I've seen on TV in years.

 

And that final scene that relied on Mulaney fainting into the birthing pool so he falls between the birthing mother's legs lowered the bar beyond even how low I thought possible.  I actually threw a middle finger up at the TV screen after seeing it.  I am officially totally disgusted by this show now. 

 

Finally, the line readings on this show are among the worst I've ever heard anywhere, ever.  Even the GOOD actors, like Elliot Gould, sound like they are constantly reading off cards.

 

How bad is this?  It might be even worse than The Mysteries of Laura.  That's BAD.

Edited by Kromm
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I missed the pilot, and so this was my first exposure. It was ... not good. I wanted to like it because of John and Nasim, but the writing is not very sharp, the performances are stilted and the cast has negative chemistry. And haha, the Martin Short character is a lecherous sexual harasser--that's so charming! I'd love to spend another 20 episodes getting to know him.

I was trying to think of something positive to say but was coming up blank. I guess the woman playing the doula was pretty good? The episode lost me entirely when the Martin Short character showed up at the birth. Not funny in the slightest.

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Don't even waste your time going back to rewatch the Pilot. If this episode was a turd floating in a toilet bowl, then the Pilot was Mr. Mulaney browncapping on the way to the bathroom.

 

Oh wait. That's crass humor about bodily functions.  Help, I'm turning into a writer for THIS SHOW!!! Help me!  Heeeeeeeeelpppppppp!

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Don't even waste your time going back to rewatch the Pilot. If this episode was a turd floating in a toilet bowl, then the Pilot was Mr. Mulaney browncapping on the way to the bathroom.

 

Oh wait. That's crass humor about bodily functions.  Help, I'm turning into a writer for THIS SHOW!!! Help me!  Heeeeeeeeelpppppppp!

That was funnier than the 60 minutes worth of Mulaney I sat through! Time or you to go to Burbank & become a star!!!!

.......that is to say, I love your posts, Kromm!

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To my recollection, Martin Short has alwasy been spastic and annoying.

But this show does nothing to help get him out of either of those categories.

 

Everyone on this show is so wooden and unnautral. Which is a shame, cuz they're all funny in their own right.. Just not on this show.

 

This show gets like ONE more episode to show some improvement, or I am done.

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Did this episode explain how anyone knew each other? Specifically if Nasim is a roommate, or just a friend who hangs at the house a lot? I watched the first 20 minutes, but after the guy gave birth to an air conditioner, I changed the channel. 

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Did this episode explain how anyone knew each other? Specifically if Nasim is a roommate, or just a friend who hangs at the house a lot? I watched the first 20 minutes, but after the guy gave birth to an air conditioner, I changed the channel. 

It's hard to focus while watching this show, because it's so annoying and lame you spend most of the time enraged or sick, but one of the few things I did retain was a statement that both Nasim (aka "Jane") and the black guy, Motif, are his actual roomates.  Which didn't make sense completely, since there was also some statement about Mulaney paying them back for arranging for furniture and air conditioners to be delivered.  The best conclusion I can draw is that it's his apartment, and they either freeload or pay him rent (so stuff like couches and air conditioners are his).

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