Fall TV Breakdown Session: ‘The Crazy Ones’ is….ok

Look at that guy sticking light bulbs on his face, he’s crazy!

The Crazy Ones is a big deal. You cannot think otherwise, because it’s pretty much fact, so get over it. It’s been decades (32 years to be exact) since Robin Williams graced us with a weekly cable presence, and now he’s featured in a show produced by a practical television legend, David E. Kelly, who was behind Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal, and a slew of others. There’s even a cute little background story between our co-stars: when Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer was awful, honey) heard that Robin Willams was gonna be in a comedy show, she contacted a friend of Williams’ family and lobbied herself for the part.

The first episode doesn’t shy away from the limelight, either; the story focuses around building a new ad campaign for McDonalds of all things, and Kelly Clarkson shows up, singing and acting promiscuous with the firm’s official lady man.

It’s all very big, isn’t it? So why did it feel so…alright?

I definitely won’t say it was bad, persay, and it could have been the fault of such lofty expectations. Somehow, I couldn’t help feeling The Crazy Ones wasn’t doing anything particularly special, nor was it being particularly funny.

Don’t worry Miss Gellar, this is definitely better than Ringer

Robin Williams plays Simon Roberts, the main man of Roberts & Roberts, a long-successful advertising company located in Chicago. The other Roberts stands for his partner, Sydney Roberts, who also happens to be his daughter. As you might guess, they have conflicting personalities. Simon likes the guns-blazing, whirlwind approach while Sydney is a planner to the bitter end, and she often finds herself having to hone her father in.

Overall,  found the writing to be pretty flat, and I have sinking feeling the whole daughter-does-something-like-her-father finish that they used here is probably something we’re gonna see a lot. Hopefully they can make her character a bit less limited in upcoming episodes, or maybe at least Gellar can give a real engaging performance. As for Williams, he did his shtick, what with the weird mumblings, whimsical phrases and silly puns, but it was far from his finest work, and it may get a bit tiresome even by mid-season.

Throwing in McDonalds and Kelly Clarkson seemed to almost assure admittance that this was not a finely tuned machine coming in. When in doubt, throw big names at people. At least Clarkson delivered a slightly memorable scene in which she made a sexy McDonalds theme song, while grinding up on Zach Cropper, played by James Wolk. Interestingly enough, James Wolk was probably the most compelling part of the episode, and hopefully this Ladies’ Man thing survives the week and becomes a bit of a running gag. Even I was feeling some charms from that handsome gent.

There’s obvious potential here; no one should even have to explain that. You’d also be hard-pressed to find a show where the very first episode was the best. But The Crazy Ones didn’t have a start that built a whole lot of confidence. Now, I haven’t done much research on the ratings, but from what I did gather, it was a smash hit for CBS. It’s hard to argue with that saying much to the quality because this show was getting ratings in the first week no matter what. I’m more interested to see how many watch it this upcoming week, and see if it dips at all.

Perhaps I’m the crazy one, because I’m already having doubts. But if there’s one thing that yearly fall debuts show us, it doesn’t matter how many big names you throw at us, some shows are just doomed to fail.

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