Hey TV.com, Should I Watch NBC's New Bill Lawrence Comedy Undateable?

By Kaitlin Thomas

May 28, 2014

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 (ScrubsCougar TownGround 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 ShowShelly, 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!


Undateable premieres Thursday, May 29 at 9pm on NBC.

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  • AnnetteWard Jul 06, 2014

    I get they use a recording track to boost the laughter (which is a bit much sometimes) but it doesn't annoy me because I'm entertained. All the behind the scenes when the guys go out to warm up the studio audience everyone is in stitches. But normally studios have too much say in a show. I enjoy it and I think it really appeals to my own random sense of humour. I love it but get it wouldn't be everyones cup of tea!

  • BEATLEFN Jun 21, 2014

    NBC had the right idea of keeping this show even though it did not premire this past fall now it needs to do the right thing and put this show on it mid season list because with shows like the M.J. Fox show and Sean Hayes show getting canceled this one is funny with a capital F and if it does not get picked up NBC can go f themselves with a capital F.

  • Coodookie Jun 13, 2014

    On episode 4 and have finally realized what I don't like about this show. Unfortunately it's the two main characters (and the laugh track)!

    Between Justin's singing and Danny's constant 'baby bird' and stupid faces I'm ready to shut it down.

    But I actually like the supporting cast. Shelly is funny, don't care who disagrees!

    I'm now torn. I'm enjoying parts but is it worth it when the 'main two' piss me off so much?

  • MichelPilgrim Jun 04, 2014

    I watched the first two episodes and found it funny and entertaining enough.

  • katelynsunday Jun 02, 2014

    I DID NOT like Undateable, it was uncomfortable, and I found myself skipping over a lot of it, thank goodness for DVR!

  • Coodookie Jun 01, 2014

    Was hoping there wouldn't be a laugh track. Whenever I felt like I was going to laugh it seemed to be a mood killer and threw me off. I'll give it some time but not liking what I've seen thus far.

  • djboy77 May 31, 2014

    Didn't hate it. But it doesn't have a long-term Friends-like future. They might get a couple of seasons out and then it'll either be canceled or the cast will find something better to do. As it is, this seems like their summer job.
    Of note, "Brett" continues the average-gay dude trend that was practically defined by Happy Endings' Max.

  • jerlouvis May 31, 2014

    Scrubs is my favorite sitcom,Cougar Town's first few seasons were really good,Spin City was very good and I would even go as far as saying there is a possibility Ground Floor could become watchable with a few adjustments like getting rid of most of the cast.I just wanted to establish that I have great respect for Bill Lawrence's talent,but Undateable was awful.

    Chris D'Elia,Bianca Kajilch and Briga Heelan did a good job with very weak material.As for the rest of the cast they were terrible.The concept of the show is ridiculous and the writers along with Bill Lawrence should be ashamed of themselves.

  • hockeyrick May 31, 2014

    gag reflex! And laugh tracks have no use in this PRESENT day and age!

  • plasmarulz May 30, 2014

    I remember now that D'Elia wasn't the main reason I liked "Whitney". His character in "Undateable" seems a bit overcompensating, so it may turn out he's gay (hehe luckily that jibe will bounce right off him and not harsh his happiness). Show has some promise due to what looks like a decent ensemble, so I'll give it a chance.

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