Thursday, February 6, 2014

10 Reasons You Need to Be Watching 'The Crazy Ones'



When I log into my Twitter account on Thursday nights, I find my timeline overrun with Community live-tweets. The next half-hour, Parks and Recreation fans are at it, quoting the series and laughing at the jokes. But when 9 PM rolls around, only a few of my friends and I stick around to live-tweet The Crazy Ones, a series that has rapidly become one of my must-watch network comedies. With the crop of comedies this season at a seeming all-time high, I sifted through some bad (Mom, Welcome to the Family) pilots and middle-of-the-road series (The Michael J. Fox Show) in order to watch the one pilot that I was truly anticipating. And The Crazy Ones does not disappoint. It’s a series that fires on all cylinders nearly every single week. And though it took a few episodes to truly find its footing, the recent ones have been the strongest yet. I consistently find myself laughing at the amazing one-liners, quirky and crazy scenes, and occasional pratfalls that I generally cannot tweet jokes fast enough.

In the spirit of making lists, I decided to compile ten reasons why you should be watching this endearing, hilarious sitcom if you’re not already. Ready? Set? Let’s count them down starting… now!

10. The show doesn't hesitate to make inside jokes to actors' past roles.


I’m such a sucker for inside jokes and I love that Sarah Michelle Gellar’s past role as Buffy is alluded to in certain episodes. And I really and honestly love when a show can poke fun of or celebrate its actors by throwing mentions of their prior work into the current series. It’s a nice touch that endears us to the sitcom, I think, and is something The Crazy Ones uses in rare moderation (which is how this should be used).

9. They have bloopers, you guys!


Okay, so this is a fairly superficial reason that you should be watching The Crazy Ones, but it’s a reason nonetheless. I love that the show ends each week with a few bloopers and behind-the-scenes moments. I already adore the cast from watching their hilarious performances in the series, but I find them to be even more endearing when the blooper reel rolls and we get the opportunity to see these hardworking actors having fun and making jokes off-camera. 

It’s hard to judge how much a cast likes each other based on the series alone, but it’s quite clear from all of the behind-the-camera extras that the cast of The Crazy Ones genuinely loves to be around one another and that means they aren't afraid to act a little crazy from time to time.

8. They've already addressed a "will-they-won't-they" pairing. (And hooked up another unexpected pairing, too.)


You know, I was utterly surprised that The Crazy Ones both addressed and handled the Andrew/Sydney possible romance so succinctly and in so few episodes. Most series would fall into the trap of prolonging Andrew’s pining or making mentions to the relationship every other episode. But what this series did was pretty great: the writers addressed the relationship, noted the chemistry between the characters, allowed them to share some sweet, sentimental moments, and did not dwell on the will-they-won’t-they that often kills comedy series with triteness. And though Sydney/Andrew is a pairing that isn’t quite resolved yet, since they’ve essentially admitted their feelings but have decided to not pursue each other romantically, it was a pairing that was handled in a way that provided some closure.

Meanwhile, an unexpected pairing (Zach/Lauren) hooked up and broke up within the course of a few episodes and that was completely surprising to me. The Crazy Ones isn’t focused on the trope-y nature of relationships and it’s unique in the fact that all of these individuals work with one another and therefore have very close relationships as is. I am so grateful that they continue to work with the pairings on the series, both romantically and comedically, and am intrigued to see how they develop these further as the series wears on.

7. Few shows center around adult father/daughter relationships. And this show's is amazing.


I love Robin Williams. And I love Sarah Michelle Gellar. The main reason that my interest was piqued for the series was largely because of these two and they do not disappoint as Simon and Sydney Roberts, a father-daughter duo in charge of an advertising agency in Chicago. Robin Williams has always been funny. He’s got a particular brand of humor that is – for lack of a better word – crazy. He does voices. He moves around constantly. He’s great at rapid-fire delivery and punch lines. Sarah Michelle Gellar is more subdued in comparison but has this amazing knack for delivering comedic lines. She’s got a dry, snappy wit and it compliments Williams’ perfectly.

But what’s so great about The Crazy Ones is this: it’s a show whose two main characters are related. This isn’t a show about a group of people learning to become a family – this is a show ABOUT family. It’s about what happens when you work with your family and how you both learn and grow from each other. It’s about Sydney learning to be more spontaneous and loose and Simon learning to be more grounded. It’s not about CHANGING into completely different people (Simon and Sydney will never be exactly like one another), but evolving into a better version of the person you know yourself to be. Not many series focus on family in the way that this show does and it excels in both humor AND heart. The most tender, wonderful moments (because a comedy must have some sort of heart to ground it, lest it just become a laugh-track or punch line machine) of heart are what the show is rooted in.

And when a comedy is rooted in the slightly dysfunctional but constantly repairing relationship between a father and daughter… well, then you have a truly exceptional series.

6. It's a show where everyone has a unique job and is REALLY good at it.


I love when shows focus on work environments, but what I really love is when everyone within that environment excels at what they do. The Office is a great series because it focuses on the relational workplace environment. But why that series related so much to its audience was because it was an office where virtually no one cared too much about the paper they were selling. We related to the characters because they were trapped in their jobs in order to earn a paycheck and, honestly, that’s how a lot of us feel about our jobs, too.

But The Crazy Ones is about an intricate network of people who are great at what they do. I love that this isn’t a series that is set in an advertising company but is one where we actually get to see ideas and products pitched nearly every episode. In incorporating so much of the advertising realm into the series, we feel more connected to the characters and to the stories. Plus, I truly love the pitches that the team constantly comes up with because – once again – these characters are great at their jobs, whether they’re writing jingles, meeting with clients, or creating video advertisements.

Essentially, this is a show that proves that the characters we are watching are worth our time because they’re smart, hard-working, and also hilarious in the process.

5. Its fast-paced wit and rapid-fire dialogue.


I cannot state enough how difficult it is for me to live-tweet everything that I find hilarious in an episode of The Crazy Ones. Just know that when I tweet lines, I’m tweeting the BEST ones, not the only ones I find to be funny. I’m the kind of person who loves witty, rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced jokes that leave you reeling until another is told, so this sitcom is right up my alley. Everyone, not just Robin Williams, delivers lines with crisp, quick-witted humor and pacing. A majority of the reason that I love the humor on this show is because it’s both smart and witty and often sarcastic.

I love that each character on the series has a different brand of humor, too. Andrew’s lines are usually peppered with pop culture references while Lauren’s humor is dark and is hilarious because of that. This is a series that recognizes that each of its actors are talented comedically, but in different ways, and tends to cater to that individual’s strength when developing jokes. It’s something that I truly appreciate and also what makes this series so worth watching.

4. This show has amazing, A+ guest stars that are both hilarious and also add to the plot.


Thus far in The Crazy Ones, “Sydney, Australia” is my absolute favorite episode. Largely because of Josh Groban and largely because I can’t seem to ever get “Sydney, You’re So Fine” out of my head. The show utilizes guest stars very well, from Kelly Clarkson to Josh Groban and Ashley Tisdale. In an advertising company, it’s logical that there would be a plethora of celebrities and special guests. But what I love is how seamlessly these characters interact with the main characters. Kelly Clarkson’s fictionalized version of herself was hilarious but also served a point in teaching Sydney a lesson about herself and her relationship with her father; Josh Groban played Sydney’s stalker and was astounding, also illuminating Sydney's tendencies to be cold and aloof (and allowing Simon to stand up for his daughter) and Ashley Tisdale's portrayal of a privileged intern was nothing short of hilarious (and these are only a few of the show’s numerous guest stars). In spite of the guest stars, this show didn’t feel overrun by extraneous celebrities but rather manages to incorporate the characters and their quirks into the stories.

I can’t wait to see who else pops into Lewis, Roberts + Roberts soon, too!

3. Great, well-written female characters in positions of power? Yes please.


Sydney Roberts is a woman in charge and she’s a woman of power and I absolutely LOVE that about her. She’s a driven, type-A, and a bit of a control freak. But she’s respected. She’s successful. And she’s not her father. I love that, quite frankly. I love that Sydney is so meticulous and detailed and a planner, but she’s just as bit as successful as her father who is outlandish and wild with his ideas and pitches. It shows us that we can be ourselves and still be successful; that we can be unafraid of improving ourselves but also don’t have to change ourselves or our personalities in order to be accomplished.

I love The Crazy Ones because it, yes, pokes fun of Sydney being single and being essentially in a relationship with her career, but doesn’t demean her as a character in the process. The series expresses that it’s okay to enjoy your job – to love it, even – and to still love the idea of romance and a relationship too. Additionally, I love that Lauren is such an unexpected character in the series. She has, arguably, one of the “less important” jobs in the company, but she too is respected. She does her job well, but people love her personality (I, of course, being one of those people), her vivacious energy, and her ideas. Lauren is typically portrayed as a character who doesn’t always think before she speaks, but she’s actually extremely intelligent. Like Britta Perry on Community, Lauren may occasionally mix metaphors or say something to cause another character’s eyebrows to raise, but she’s a strong, motivated, compassionate, and slightly terrifying character.

And I love her for that, too.

2. There is PLENTY of heart because the characters really, really like each other.


I absolutely love comedies. I’m a sucker for anything, really, that’s a sitcom with a relatively decent premise and laughable scenarios. Comedies are beautiful because you can watch them and ease whatever issues are in your current life – you can laugh for a half hour and forget all of those problems, transporting yourself into a world of happiness. But what sets good comedies apart from great ones is an element I noted earlier: heart. You can be a funny show, and consistently funny at that, without ever being more. The Big Bang Theory is a funny show. But it’s not often that we get to see glimpses of heart beyond the studio audience laugh track or the one-two-punch line that the series delivers.

Community and New Girl and How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs are funny shows, but they’re also heart-filled series. They remind the audience that though hijinks occur and wacky characters garner laughs, there is something always fundamentally deeper than the laugh. The Crazy Ones, from the pilot, was a show that I knew had that extra dose of heart. When Simon gently tells his daughter that SHE is his net and is always there to catch him, I knew the series would be something spectacular. And since then, the freshman show has excelled at developing heart and substance between these characters. The reason that there is so much heart? Sydney, Andrew, Simon, Lauren, and Zach genuinely love each other. They may tease and fight and compete, but they honestly and truly have nothing but love for one another.

It’s so beautiful and rare to see comedies where the characters don’t hold animosity or grudges or have to learn to become friends or a family – when we pick up The Crazy Ones in the pilot, all of these characters have already bonded and grown together. We meet them at the point in which they genuinely love being with and working with one another. That’s something that’s pretty astounding, honestly, and it’s why I love this show so much.

(As an aside, the moment above where Zach, Andrew, and Lauren recreate a snow globe for Sydney to cheer her up and because it is something she had mentioned earlier in the episode ranks among my absolute favorite moments in the series to date.) 

1. It has one of the strongest and most underrated comedic ensembles on television at the moment.


I think I remember Robin Williams being interviewed about The Crazy Ones before it aired. The interviewer had asked about how much riffing and joking goes on around the set because of him, and Williams noted that though he tends to riff and joke, all of his other cast members do the same and are equally as hilarious as he is. The Crazy Ones is a true and honest ensemble series. While Robin Williams is completely hilarious in and of himself, the rest of the cast completely and utterly shine. From week to week, my favorite character changes and each character is given an equal opportunity to be hilarious. Like I noted above, the writers know that not everyone has the same type of humor, nor is everyone as practiced or trained in certain arts of comedy over others. But they allow the actors to shine by playing to their strengths and not forcing everyone to have the same brand of comedy.

I honestly believe that this series has one of the most underrated comedy ensembles on television at the moment. I consistently laugh out loud at the performances of Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hamish Linklater, James Wolk, and Amanda Setton. They are all so completely and utterly talented, both as comedians and also serious actors. If nothing else encourages you to watch the series, just be encouraged by this: these people are gems. They utterly enjoy what they do and it shows on screen.

So there you have it, folks! I have given you ten reasons that you need to watch the CBS hit comedy The Crazy Ones. Check it out on Thursday nights (hey that’s tonight!) at 9 PM. :)

* Additional thanks to everyone who made the GIFs above because they're not mine and clearly y'all are much more talented than I am.

4 comments:

  1. Great Post! I think this is slowly becoming one of my new favorite shows on tv.

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  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS!! This show is just incredible. I'm 20 and my mom and I are huge Sarah Michelle Gellar fans, so of course we tuned in to the premiere. Now, we are fans of the whole cast! It is such a funny show with tons of heart and I look forward to it every week. You nailed all the reasons why we love it I hope it continues to succeed. The cast and crew are phenomenal. My absolute favorite new show! Thanks for compiling such a great list again :)

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  3. I agree with you 100% on this! I'm so glad they have bloopers and reference Buffy, but not too much. Definitely the most underrated show and ensemble cast on TV right now! Thanks so much for writing this!

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  4. I love this show, for all the reasons you've stated, (but especially Josh Groban)! I only wanted to watch it in the first place because I heard he was going to be in it.. but I thought it would be best to watch from the beginning, to get to know the characters and 'set the scene' - I'm SO glad I did, otherwise I might have missed a real treat!! Looking forward to watching the rest of the series and a week is WAY too long to wait in between each episode!

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