Allen Gregory: When Awful Characters Happen to Funny People

Seven-year-old nebbishy fop Allen Gregory De Longpre (Jonah Hill) is a loathsome character, possibly the most loathsome character in the Fox's entire primetime lineup. As the title character of Allen Gregory, the newest addition to the network's Sunday-night Animation Domination block, he's a welcome presence only in the sense that he isn't a Seth MacFarlane creation. In fact, Allen Gregory has a handsome, distinctive look and an impressive array of voice actors... it's just that its characters are almost aggressively unlikable. With a sense of humor best described as "nihilistic twee," it's unclear how popular the series will become. That said, the premiere episode had its moments, and Allen Gregory definitely has the potential to become something much better.

Sunday's debut served mainly to set up the show's basic premise: After being home-schooled most of his life, Allen Gregory, a "precocious" boy with the attitude of a pissed-off Jonah Hill, has suddenly found himself attending a public elementary school. Unable to relate to his peers in any way, Allen Gregory quickly alienated himself and became an object of derision among the people to whom he believed he was superior. The episode's fatal flaw was that it essentially wanted us to root for Allen to overcome these obstacles without ever giving us a single reason to care about such a monstrous kid.

Much of Allen Gregory's humor involves the constant, unprovoked put-downs leveled by Allen Gregory and his catty father Richard (French Stewart) against the decent people around them. Bearing the brunt of their awfulness are Richard's life partner Jeremy, a decent, handsome family man who was somehow converted to the gay lifestyle by Richard's alleged charms, and Julie, Allen Gregory's adopted Cambodian sister who speaks with the jaded affect of Daria Morgendorffer. Add to that Allen Gregory's sweet elementary school teacher (Leslie Mann) and kindly redhead friend Patrick (Christina Pucelli) and you've got a lot of nice people getting ruthlessly insulted by a couple of jerks. It's a premise that could work, except that Allen Gregory seems to think we'll also sympathize with this kid simply because he's sad. We don't.

But this is not to say I didn't laugh during Sunday's episode, which was chock-a-block with terrific throwaways, like a recurring gag about Julie's best male friend at school who only demonstrates his friendship by knocking things out of her hands and running away. Or a janitor at Allen Gregory's country club telling a hilariously pointless story about quitting the production of Bones because he didn't think David Boreanaz was the right choice to play Booth. The pilot's best joke involved Allen Gregory falling head-over-heels in lust with his dowdy, 60-something principal Mrs. Gottlieb, complete with an imagined seduction montage set to a Phil Collins song in which she described her nether-regions as "messy as post-Katrina."

With a supporting cast that also includes SNL's Will Forte and Nasim Pedrad, it's clear that Allen Gregory aims to stock its ranks with upper-echelon comedy figures. Jonah Hill, for his part, is a genuinely talented guy, and his stammering condescension works surprisingly well for a snobby child. It's just too bad the character (and show) seem so joyless. The gay dads seemed like such a good idea until I realized their relationship is a nightmare that is deeply unpleasant to witness. And it might have been nice if the pilot didn't involve someone crapping his pants. Call me old fashioned.

As much discomfort as I felt toward Allen Gregory and his father, this show is probably worth checking out again, if only to see whether it will mellow out and get more fun. Its Wes Anderson stylistic influences and absurd non-sequiturs are all very appealing, but the whole thing would be dramatically improved by the inclusion of just a tiny bit more heart. Fingers crossed!


I'm clearly torn... but what did YOU think of the premiere episode?

Comments (22)
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Just bring "King of the Hill" back, I mean, why did they cancel it in the first place if all they're going to do is show garbage? Bob's Burgers was actually pretty good, but this and Sit Down, Shut Up, was pure trash.
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Sooooo bad. Second episode was terrible...I QUIT...just cancel this garbage
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I didn't think it was possible. I mean I really didn't think it could be done. Congratulations FOX you actually made a show worse than the Cleveland Show.
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interesting so far.
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If Bob's Burgers had been given this level of animation, it may have been better. Actually Bob's wasn't that bad. But this show is absolute trash. I appreciate that Price gave it an intelligent review, but the show is not nearly intelligent enough to deserve it. Cancel it now.
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Absolute rubbish,with a hint of deeply disturbing.Bring back "Sit Down,Shut Up".
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Well, given that it is surrounded by hit shows, Allen Gregory will probably last long enough for us to get a good luck. But really, the characters are so throughly unlikable that it's not worth the space on my DVR. Also, does anybody else blanch at the show's animation style?
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I thought the show was okay despite the dumb stereotypes...but when Allen became infatuated with his principal, it was just too disturbing and weird for me.
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This was at least better than Bob's Burgers, but funny is little too much to ask so far. 'Funny because it was a non sequitur' shouldn't cut it. I'll watch it again, but it won't get a third week without improvement.
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They went for offensive humour and got a little carried away, but there are way worse comedies out. The first ten minutes were jolting, but there are some jokes. The best being the grown man taking the rap for crapping his pants and announcing it in front the school when everyone clearly saw that it was Allen who crapped his pants.





Not looking like it'll come up to Frisky Dingo/Archer standards, but i can see myself watching this in the meanwhile.
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This show was a C+ verging on an A+. The series was bogged down with character introductions as pilots usually are so I think there is definitely potential here. The need to soften Allen Gregory's character a bit and there are many characters that could be flushed out to make a VERY watchable series also at least it's not Family Guy, Cleveland show or Simpsons all of which have seen better days. American Dad rules!
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Obnoxious from beginning to the bitter end but not a laugh to be had.
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Got bored after the 1st 10 minutes.Not funny at all but should not come as a shock since its from the fat guy from superbad which was never funny to begin with.jonah's only real talent was being friends with other unfunny ppl like Jason Siegel,Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen
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You like the Simpsons which has undoubtedly the most idiotic, stupid humor of all the animation shows and of most shows out there. Therefore, you lose all credibility in discussing comedy
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Watch MTV's Good Vibes. It's not really original, but I thought it likeable and that it was a Saturday Morning cartoon for adults.



Gregory was awful. They have to have at least 8 to 13 episodes already done since it is animation and needs to be completed way ahead of time for fall scheduling, but if it goes beyond its run by FOX asking for more or a second season, I will be very surprised.



The only thing I thought interesting was wondering if his bald parent was voiced by the same guy that does Dr. Venture on Venture Bros.
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He was voice by French Stewart.
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I admit, I chuckled at the bit of them thorwing a party to celebrate Allan's Tony nomination, then forced to tell him "they don't nominate shows done in our living room. But I'm fighting them on it!" And how Stewart's dad refuses to admit they're in financial trouble.



But yeah, you nail it, just hard to get into as they go too far of him being a total jerk we're supposed to like. And the whole "Seduced man away from family to become live-in abus victim" isn't funny, it's just creepy. Hopefully they tone it down but at the moment, just to sardonic for its own good.
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I gave up halfway through it, I disliked the animation, the humor, every character, and I disliked the principal romance scene the most. So the show probably isn't for me. But at least it's not The Cleveland Show.
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This show is bad not funny at all.
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I really wanted this show to be good because I'm a big Jonah Hill fan, but it wasn't funny. It was all unfunny sex humor, and offensive gay jokes and stereo-typical characters. I would say the jokes were predictable, but in my opinion there weren't any jokes!
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Also, at least you're a TRUE critic. You're not a moron going "1/10!!!!! SHOW SUCKS!! IT BLOWS!!! CANCEL IT NOW NOOBS!"

You sir, have earned my full respect.
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I do think it'll improve. Remember, it was JUST the pilot. I'm sure it will mellow out and will get more awesome soon. Look at Bob's Burgers. Hated at the start, loved to death after the season finale.
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