Hey TV.com, Should I Watch NBC's New Bill Lawrence Comedy Undateable?
June is only a few days away and that means were headed straight toward the generally lazy, hazy, and crazy—but also surprisingly promising!—days of summer TV. And with such a varied mix of new programming up ahead, we suspect you might appreciate some help in separating the worthwhile stuff from the unscripted reality shows about marrying fake princes and celebrities singing while dressed up like a celebrities. NBC is about to debut a new comedy called Undateable—which it originally ordered to series a year ago. But does that mean it's definitely a good-for-nothing summer burn-off, or will it turn out to be a hidden gem like your favorite dive bar? Well, that's what we're here to discuss in this latest version of TV.com, Should I Buy This Show a Drink or Just Go Home?!
Undateable? Is this some wacky new game show on MTV?
As much as I'd love to hate-watch such a show, no. Instead, Undateable is a new half-hour comedy based on the book Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex by Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle. It follows a group of friends who hang out at a bar and talk about their love lives... or lack thereof. One member of that group is the bar owner himself, Justin, a sweet guy who's prone to overthinking his exchanges with women. But everything changes when Justin moves in with a new roommate named Danny. Danny is an overconfident ladies' man, and when he offers to help Justin improve his stature with the opposite sex, he becomes something like the Mr. Miyagi of love, doling out advice and life lessons to Justin and all of Justin's friends.
Who's the proprietor of this establishment, and who's among its regulars?
Undateable comes from the mind of Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Ground Floor) and stars Chris D'Elia (Whitney) as Danny, the bombastic love guru who's in a bit of a rut himself. Standup comic Brent Morin plays Danny's new roommate Justin, the socially awkward bar owner who's unlucky in love. The rest of the cast is comprised of oddball supporting characters like comedian Ron Funches' (Kroll Show) Shelly, who loves both the city of Detroit and candy; comedian Rick Glassman's (@midnight) Burski, who struggles in his interactions with women because he's too aggressive in his approach; David Fynn's (Game of Thrones) Brett, a newly out gay bartender, and Bianca Kajlich's (Rules of Engagement) Leslie, who stars as Danny's recently divorced older sister Leslie. Briga Heelan (Ground Floor) recurs as Nicki, a waitress at the bar who Justin has eyes for.
When time does Undateable's bar open?
Undateable premieres with back-to-back episodes on Thursday, May 29 at 9pm. The show has a 13-episode order that will air over seven weeks.
Who might like to buy Undateable a drink?
Fans of Lawrence's other comedies, probably, but also fans of shows about unlikely friends who sit around, drink, and eventually become a family.
What makes Undateable worth flirting with?
The show is sporadically very funny, mostly thanks to Morin and Funches. This is Morin's first TV role and he brings a certain likability to Justin, a stereotypical nice-guy character who's easy to root for. Morin's dedication to selling the show's physical comedy, as well as the moments in which his character sings (Justin went to choral camp every summer and was the first male Annie!) help distinguish what could've been a rather dull sitcom role. However, it's the series' supporting cast members—Funches' Shelly, in particular—who have the best lines and garner the most laughs, likely because they were encouraged to draw on their comedy backgrounds and improvise quite a bit during filming.
What will make viewers want to dump Undateable?
Other than the overbearing laugh track? Well, remember how I just told you that the show is sporadically very funny? It's pretty uneven in its execution, and that's largely because it relies too heavily on D'Elia to carry the weight. I've seen the first four episodes of the series, and while D'Elia is very good, we've seen the Danny character a million times before, and the show doesn't do much to set him apart from those prior incarnations. Danny is stuck in a state of arrested development, which the show treats as if it's just a cute character trait. Aside from a few throwaway lines in the pilot about getting his life together, Danny is portrayed as if has all the answers, but all he does is sleep with random women and dispense his special brand of advice to Justin and the rest of the cast. Even though Danny never really acts like a jerk and is clearly well-intentioned, Undateable struggles to balance the character (and D'Elia) with the rest of the cast.
So, should I watch it?
Sure—there's no harm in DVRing Undateable for a rainy day. But it's not anything you can't miss.
Can I see a trailer?
As you wish!
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