Most of the new primetime sitcoms for the fall 2013 season have aired at least two episodes, giving us enough of an indication of what kind of show they want to be, and what kind of show they’re failing to be. (Sometimes you don’t even need an entire episode; Dads was unwatchable after 30 seconds.) Here they all are, ranked from worst to best.
#13. Dads (Fox)
We already discussed this frozen turd with slanted Asian eyes drawn on it. Not doing it again.
#12. We Are Men (CBS)
We Are Men isn’t nearly as bad as its title, its trailers, its Jerry O’Connell’s hair, or its photo of Kal Penn wearing a shirt in the pool would have you believe. Meaning, it’s not the worst comedy on TV since Work It! By all other metrics, though, CBS’s delayed response to TV’s mancession craze of 2011 is pretty rough. What the utterly devoid of charisma We Are Men is trying to do — being a divorced bro in your 30s and 40s, etc. etc. etc. — the late, great Men of a Certain Age already did a billion times better. Just watch that instead.
#11. Sean Saves the World (NBC)
A recurring theme this pilot season is good people doing bad things. Take Victor Fresco, for instance. He created Better Off Ted and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, therefore, he is a good person. He’s also the mind behind Sean Saves the World, which is a very bad thing. Sean Hayes has never seen a punchline he couldn’t loudly mug this way through, and while Thomas Lennon is doing his best Veronica Palmer impression, he’s no Portia de Rossi when it comes to making chilly characters enjoyable. I miss Better Off Ted so much.
#10. Super Fun Night (ABC)
Super Fun Night‘s premiere was supposed to be the second episode of the series, but apparently the ORIGINAL pilot was so bad that the network had to scrap it, possibly for good. I can’t even imagine how dreadful it must have been, considering the episode that aired in its place ended with a Spanx joke. It’s 2013. There should not be Spanx jokes in 2013. Nor should there be Super Fun Night on TV. Awkward comedy is the worst comedy, and Super Fun Night, which only exists to introduce Rebel Wilson to the one person who hasn’t seen either Pitch Perfect or Bridesmaids, is nothing but awkward jokes. The kind that are punctuated with long stares and collar tugs. Not only that, but we have no idea who any of the characters are, outside of Wilson’s Kimmie, who adopts a strangely distracting accent. ABC so badly wants to make Rebel Wilson a Thing that no one thought to build an interesting world around her. To quote her character in Bridesmaids, “We would like to invite you to no longer live with us.”
#9. The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Who’s going to say no to Robin Williams? Not co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, still looking to recover from the green screen travesty of Ringer, or James “NOT GREAT BOB” Wolk. Not CBS, because they still can’t believe they got THE Robin Williams. Not even creator David E. Kelley, a very big name…but not as big as ROBIN WILLIAMS. So, no one, no one’s going to say no to the Genie, to Mork, to Mrs. Doubtfire, and it shows: Williams is given complete creative control of the rapid-fire The Crazy Ones, and his impression-heavy riffs aren’t nearly as charming as they once were (if they were at all, depending on whom you ask). Especially when his rambling gibberish is about the godsend that is marketing and how McDonald’s has the power to heal AIDS babies in Africa, or something. On The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams (playing not executive Simon Roberts, but “Robin Williams”) is king, advertising is queen, and everyone else is a lowly peasant, left waiting for whatever scraps their masters don’t gorge upon.
#8. Mom (CBS)
I touched on Mom a little bit in Monday’s What’s On Tonight, writing, “It’s a fascinating disaster: every episode packs in approximately three dozen plots, and not even Anna Faris, Allison Janney, and Badger from Breaking Bad can save Boner Joke #83 from Chuck Lorre’s trapper keeper full of them.” Mom has no idea what kind of show it wants to be, with Faris going from an AA meeting to her job to her house to a diner in the span of, like, five minutes. She and Janney are trying to understand who their characters are, what makes they tick, but their motives change, depending on the scene. To Mom‘s credit, I guess, the gags are more crass than cruel — and for CBS, downright risqué; you’re not going to hear too many vibrator references on Blue Bloods. I can’t look away, even though I want to.