May 17, 2011

THE SKED: 1st Pre-Look At FOX’s New Comedies

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Written by: Mitch Salem


DISCLAIMER: These initial impressions are based on the clips (usually 3-5 minutes) released by the networks to use in their Upfront presentations and for promos.  They’re chosen to sell the show, not to accurately represent it.  So take the reactions below with a large satchel of salt–we may well feel differently about these shows once we see the full pilots.  That being said, it’s also true that these clips are carefully selected to give the best impression possible of a show–if it still doesn’t look great, that may not bode well.
Clips are available, among other places, at
NEW GIRL (FALL Tues 9PM):   In recent years the phrase “magic pixie dream girl” was invented to describe a certain kind of indie movie heroine, and in movies like (500) Days of Summer, Zooey Deschanel has been that girl.  She’s in full magic pixie mode in New Girl, and either the TV audience will be charmed or they won’t.  Based on the trailer, she’s worth rooting for–despite the tired set up of a cute, eccentric girl with 3 mismatched male roommates, it seems like Liz Meriwether’s script has some wit and heart.  FOX clearly believes, since they’ve given the show their plum comedy spot behind Glee.
I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER (FALL Wed 9:30PM):  A much broader species of multi-camera comedy, complete with busy laugh track.  This will follow the 90 minute X Factor installments on Wednesdays, and the title pretty much tells the story:  Jaime Pressley and Katie Finneran were outcasts in high school, and they spoiled their daughters to spare them such pain–which horrifyingly resulted in their becoming “mean girls.”  The trailer doesn’t suggest there’s much to the script by Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer than obvious gags about the mothers’ insecurity (when Finneran is upset, she crams pie into her mouth).
ALLEN GREGORY (FALL Sunday 8:30PM):  Fox will try out 2 short orders of new animated series next season, and Allen Gregory gets the shot in Fall.  It’s co-creator and star voice is Jonah Hill, who plays a very cultured and pretentious 7-year old who has to cope with elementary school.  Fox may be beating a dead horse here:  with Stewie on Family Guy and Rallo on The Cleveland Show, do we really need more preternaturally smart and nasty children on the night?  The short trailer doesn’t indicate much about whether there’s an interesting world beyond Allen himself.
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (MIDSEASON Sunday 8:30PM):  This is the other animation series getting a tryout, airing Sundays in Spring.  Of course it’s based on the hit movie, and it features the same writers (Jared and Jerusha Hess, joined by animation veteran Mike Scully) and the voices of the original cast.  The short trailer indicates that it’s not trying to reinvent a wheel that’s already rolled a long way.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."