TV Review – The Hollywood Reporter

For all the praise we have for the envelope push programs, there’s something to be said for those who don’t – take familiar territory, but do so with great charm and glamor. cheers. That, rather than any wild re-creation, seems to be what NBC’s Tuesday night lineup is aiming for for the middle of this season. Both American cars and Grand Crew fall into very familiar formats – workplace comedies and hangout comedies respectively – to provide nothing more or less than a half hour of fun.

The good news is that they’re both blessed with writers that are funny enough and casts lovable enough to be amusing. The better news is that both take some time to gel. It’s easy to understand about either American cars or Grand Crewor both, become the next broadcast to attract a steady-growing contingent of defenders, like ABC’s Single parents or CBS’ Unicorn have done in recent years. One can also imagine either or both of these shows failing to find their gear and being dumped in the trash of lesser-remembered sitcoms.

American Auto and Grand Crew

Key point

Both programs have a lot of potential but need to be refined.

American cars
Release date: Monday, December 13
Cast: Ana Gasteyer, Harriet Dyer, Jon Barinholtz, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White, X Mayo
Creator: Justin Spitzer

Grand Crew
Release date: Tuesday, December 14
Cast: Nicole Byer, Echo Kellum, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, Carl Tart, Grasie Mercedes
Creator: Phil Augusta Jackson, Dan Goor

Starting to hit the ball over the two is by Justin Spitzer American cars, can’t help but feel like an unofficial companion to Spitzer’s Supermarket – but from the other end of the corporate hierarchy. Where the previous series focused on the low-level nags of a retail giant, and the outrage they endure at the whims of barely-faced executives. , American cars takes place around the C-suite, with Ana Gasteyer starring as newly installed Payne Motors CEO Katherine Hastings.

Surrounding her is a group of senior employees with varying degrees of interest in kissing her ass (“Like predicting the direction her butt is facing and then placing your lips in that general vicinity , one person corrected) and varying degrees of eye-catching. Michael W. Benjamin soon rose to prominence as Cyrus, a product designer who knew too much about the difference between a serial killer, a murderer, and a serial killer. And if Jon Barinholtz’s Wesley – a direct descendant of Payne in “Payne Motors” – feels like SupermarketMarcus with more money, he’s still a trusted source of unsuitable WTFery, like when he told the doctor, through a mortified employee, that nothing came out when he took his hand. erotic.

On the other hand, softer characters like company chief Sadie (Harriet Dyer) and factory worker Jack (Tye White) struggled to make a distinct impression in the first two episodes for critics – even when the previous episode had more screen time than anyone. and even as the series tries to evoke sexual tension between them by having Katherine constantly assume that the two are banging around the office. (This isn’t a particularly hilarious joke the first time around, and it doesn’t get any funnier with repetition.) The fact that both of these characters seem seriously enamored with cars is more confusing. is enlightenment, because it is still not clear what it is. American cars argues that the automotive industry is distinct from pharmaceuticals or electronics.

The early episodes still retain some of the careless bites that ended up making Supermarket such a hit. Pilots whose crews are scrambling to prepare a Plan B after a product announcement is derailed by artificial intelligence’s racism, while the second revolves around a snowballing PR nightmare that causes Katherine prays for a deadly natural disaster to knock Payne out of the headlines. Work may be better paid in corner offices and boardrooms American cars compared to the big box drones of Supermarket, but it’s still mostly bullshit. In its darkest jokes, American cars belatedly remember greatness Better than Ted, balances pitch-black skepticism about the absurdities of corporate life with genuine empathy for the poor weirdos trapped within it. With a little luck, American cars can adjust its way to the same equilibrium.

However, for my money the new series is more appealing than that of Phil Augusta Jackson and Dan Goor Grand Crew. The concept is as simple as they come: Six Black 30somethings navigate love, friendship, and career together on LA’s Eastside, with regular check-ins at their favorite pub. (Hence the title.) Admittedly the first two episodes of the series were a bit of a mess, serving up the awkward surprises of a show still trying to figure out if it wants to be quirky or not. Sincere or grounded. But when it does click, it can be very funny.

The pilot opens on a cheerfully upbeat note, with the narration of an unnamed and unexplained elderly man claiming that despite longstanding stereotypes about Black men, “sketch” or “arrogant”, “We have a softer, more sensitive side”. But the next episode feels relatively bland, with the plot and characters struggling to distinguish themselves from the hangout sitcoms decades before them: the hopelessly romantic Noah (Echo Kellum) being dropped fall; roommates Sherm (Carl Tart) and Anthony (Aaron Jennings) argue over kombucha and toilet paper; Single girl Nicky (Nicole Byer) worries that her Tinder date is a secret Republican.

Still, there are flashes of utter silence, as when Noah imagines his ex (Alesha Renee) as an inflatable man, with random jumps. And Grand CrewThe second episode of the series seems much more comfortable letting its peculiar flag fly. A storyline that follows Noah and Nicky as he tries to live up to the “unsuccessful streaming rom-com plot” fantasies by designing a cute encounter; His past disastrous attempts to do so are shown by a dash for a Love & Basketball respect takes a decisive turn that is not heavy. Another plot begins with Paddington 2ability to reduce adult tears, and grow out of control from there. Both storylines are lighthearted and barely attempt at relevancy, social commentary, or emotional depth. They’re just funny, and they’re funny enough to feel that way.

But perhaps the only promising moment of Grand Crew is one of the openings of volume two. Finally, having found a new bar after Noah’s propensity to date staffers ruined their last party, the gang applies rules to prevent history from repeating itself. (Among others: Noah wasn’t allowed to introduce himself too much to the bartenders, because “it’s a slippery slope.”) This is the most convincing demonstration of the group’s chemistry. in both episodes exactly because it’s the same To be, instead of liking something the show is trying to sell.

By the end of that episode, Grand Crew still went on like a show in full swing – only, Fay, the sixth and final member of the group of best friends, had only been introduced to the rest of the cast. ice. However, as any drinker knows, a lot of bottles of wine get better with age. At the beginning of this season, Grand Crew felt too chaotic to go down as smoothly as it should. But give it time, and it can still become a perfectly balanced glass.

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