Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Up All Night, season 2 (2012) **

TV-PG, 11 23-min. episodes
Creator: Emily Spivey

Directors: Michael Blieden, Bryan Gordon, Eric Appel, Jennifer Getzinger, Alex Reid

Writers: Emily Spivey, Tucker Cawley, DJ Nash, Erica Rivinoja, Chadd Gindin, Austen Earl, Joel Church-Cooper, Rene Gube, Tim McAuliffe, Vera Santamaria, Kayla Alpert

Starring: Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Luka Jones, Carly Prince, Delaney Prince

Guest starring: Matthew Braunger, Jean Villepique, Sean Hayes, Chuck McGee, Rachel Dratch, Rob Huebel, Tony Hale, Tymberlee Hill, Quinn Friedman, Will Sasso, Azita Ghanizada, Jayden Maddux, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Romy Rosemont, Jerry Lambert, Joey Pollari, Caroline Aaron, Mary Pat Gleason, Blythe Danner, Bob Gunton, Mimi Kennedy

Although NBC has yet to officially pull the plug on this show, the final nail is all but in the coffin. While the recent developments of changing the format from single camera to multi camera and the departures of the show’s creator Emily Spivey and star Christina Applegate are being cited as its death knell, I think everyone knows that the show’s demise began as they entered the second season.

NBC didn’t ever have the ratings they desired for the show, and that ensured a limited life span; but changes made between the two seasons only sped up the show’s downfall, instead of breathing the new life into it that was intended. I enjoyed the show’s first season. It wasn’t one of my favorite new shows, but I liked the pairing of Applegate and Will Arnett. I liked the theme of the changes that parenting bring to your life. I liked that it involved a more modern parenting relationship in which the mother is the breadwinner and the father gives up his good career to care for the child.

In its first season two mistake, NBC decided to reverse the roles of the parents, having the dad go back to work and making the mother quit her career to stay at home. This was interesting for a couple of episodes, but didn’t really add much new. The mother got to learn by failure, just as the dad had in the first season. This also required the show to give up the role of its third cast member and greatest asset Maya Rudolph, who hosted the talk show produced by the mother in the first season. This left Rudolph with little reason to hang around, but she did anyway. Plus, the talk show allowed for some great original comedic workplace material.

Then instead of heading the dad back to his law firm, they had him start his own business, which had nothing to do with what his character was about in the first season. It seems the only reason for this development was so they could bring on a fourth regular, the mom’s brother played by Luka Jones. Jones is funny enough, but his character was far from original and added little to the show. This also drew a lot of attention away from the show’s original premise about parenting. Everything became about the adults, and much of the wiles of raising a kid within a modern family structure was thrown out the window.

I rooted for this show. Even though I was disappointed with the direction it was taking, the new change proposals for the show were even worse. With all production plans now shelved for the show, I can only hope that NBC has the good sense to let this one go now. They’ve ruined it. It’s time to move on.

This is my favorite promo from season one.

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