ConStar’s Pilot Watch: Mulaney

So I know this show was slated for last season’s pilot season, so maybe that contributed to how I felt about it, but I was SO disappointed. Mulaney’s acting was a bit stilted (explained, I guess, as a character trait?), Nasim Pedrad’s character was funny but unfortunately terribly written and one dimensional in the way she was obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, and the black sidekick literally couldn’t get a joke out. His character couldn’t find a punchline. It was too on the nose for how the show seems to make a splash but goes nowhere. The Seinfeldy stand up bits were okay, but not seamlessly tied in OR completely removed the way Seinfeld’s were. They felt a bit abrupt.

The characterization was so lacking. Neither of the sidekick characters had anything other than that episode’s schtick; no real jobs (the black sidekick is also a comedian) or goals or backstory. Only Mulaney’s character, in his job working for Martin Short (who didn’t really grab my attention), had any kind of arc given to him. Nasim worked really hard with what she got, I enjoyed her performance, though not the ridiculous caricature of a character.

Also, there’s a random Ice-T voice over at the beginning explaining “This is filmed in front of a live studio audience.” Very 90s, which might’ve been the point, but also feels different than any other modern comedy on TV and not in a good way.

I’m hoping that because this show is two years old, it means that Mulaney and the writers were able to tweak the things that aren’t working in the pilot. Maybe it will still have the 90s multi-cam feel to it, but perhaps it will be smarter and have better characterization. Maybe Mulaney will be more relaxed as an actor. It’d be nice to see this do well, if just for the fact that it was stuck in development for so long, but I’m not sure on this one.

Verdict: I might watch episode two to see if the writing has changed, but I’m not sure this is gonna remain in my line up. Here’s hoping episode 2 is two years improved.

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