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Breaking Down the Premiere of Breaking In: Too-Fast Pilot, Could be Funnier, Has Potential

It’s hard to judge Breaking In solely on its pilot: The new Fox comedy certainly has potential, with intriguing characters, high-stakes situations, and plenty of charm. But it’s also one of the most fast-paced sitcoms I’ve seen in recent history. It feels a little like NBC’s spy comedy Chuck, but condensed into a measly 22 minutes. Add to that a chunk of exposition and a few cutaway gags, and Breaking In’s premiere had an exhausting, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it feel.

Still, there’s a lot to like. The conceit is an interesting one: Contra Security is a high-tech security firm hired to break into its clients' companies and find loopholes in their security. This allows the show to take on a wide variety of locations, which it can (ideally) mine for comedy. The pilot focused on stealing a Lamborghini from a car dealership, but I’m holding out for the upcoming episode set at Comic-Con. (Hi, I’m a nerd.) While I’m reluctant to compare Breaking In to Party Down—the latter is on my list of the top five TV comedies of all time—the new series has the same advantage of switching things up on a week-to-week basis. It’s an office comedy that won’t get stale.

The cast also meshes well, which is essential for an ensemble comedy like Breaking In. I love Christian Slater as Oz, because, well, I love Christian Slater. He’s perfectly cast here, because he’s adept at walking the line between likable and sleazy. Bret Harrison is also great as new-employee Cameron. I never much cared for Reaper, but I always thought he was the best thing about it. The rest of the cast members—Alphonso McAuley (Cash), Odette Annable (Melanie), and Trevor Moore (Josh Armstrong)—round things out with ease. Though I do hope Cash gets rid of his “Boom goes the dynamite” catchphrase, an internet meme that should have died long, long ago.

And for those of you who were tuning in just to see Michael Rosenbaum, Smallville’s Lex Luthor, as Melanie’s not-bald boyfriend Dutch, I’m sorry his appearance was so brief. He’s only signed on as a guest star for now, but I thought he stole his single scene, so maybe we can get him hired on a long-term basis? Ooh, preemptive fan campaign!

I will say that the pilot, while cute and mostly fun, was short on laughs. And no, not all sitcoms have to be LOL-worthy; in fact, some of my favorite shows are more about the situations than the punchlines. But in order to keep up with Fox’s other joke-heavy series (Raising Hope, Bob’s Burgers, some other popular shows I won’t name), Breaking In may have to step things up a bit. As Harrison noted when I interviewed him at Wondercon last weekend, Fox takes more chances with its programming, but it’s also quicker to cancel underperforming shows. While Breaking In isn’t an instant classic, it has a lot of room to grow, and I’d love to see what its producers do with the concept. So check it out, won’t you? For me?

As for the frenetic pacing, let’s hope things slow down a bit. It’s ambitious to do a series like this in a half-hour format. And the pilot had a lot of ground to cover, so I don’t blame the writers for glossing over the heist details and focusing instead on introducing us to the characters. I’ll buy that Cameron would develop an instant crush on sexy lock-picker Melanie, just as I’m sure Trevor would quickly butt heads with an interloper. But let’s allow these story lines to develop organically. Can Breaking In do that and still have time for a different mission every week? I’ll be tuning in to find out. And, yes, to see more of Michael Rosenbaum being ridiculous.


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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The pilot was really funny! Christian Slater nails it as Oz, Brett Harrison's a pretty likeable and funny guy and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) short apparearance was hilarious as well. As of the rest of the cast well I've never seen them on anything before but they did a good job as well (especially Melanie who kind of looks like Megan Fox *-*) I'll definitely watch this show for as long as it goes, since its a show on Fox you never know...
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I actually liked it. I found it funny. Slater is good in this type of role and the story seems like it has possibilities. It also has kind of geeky feel to it like Reaper used to have. Slaters character has Kirks chair and we have seen previews of him holding what appears to be Connor Macleods Katana. I do hope that Michael Rosenbaum becomes a regular if the show continues because he was great on Smallville but he also has great comedic talent which has never really been tapped into. Plus, he does not have to shave his head so there should be no excuse.
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It's knuckle dragger comedy and will not even hold the interest of most Two and a Half Men fans for very long. Slater has a catch phrase "I'll Allow it." Are you kidding me? A catch phrase in a modern comedy spells instant death for a show. Boom Goes the Dynamite!
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Pretty good first episode, I love the cast, enjoy the characters, and I could see myself watching this show until whenever it actually ends. That said, I agree that it was a bit to fast paced and could be even funnier, but I consider that to be Fox's fault, because they made this a 20 minute show instead of a 40 minute one.
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Dutch is awesome character and hope Michael rosenbaum gets to play him more !
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"You stole this car." "I stole this car?" That was an awesome moment.
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"There should really be a gate here"
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should be a good show, shows lots of promise
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I loved how they stole the car :D best.scene.ever.
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The guy standing next to Slater is awful and his acting is even worse than that. He made me tune out. And since he is gonna be in every episode, I won't tune in again.
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I liked it a lot. Christain, Brett and Michael - that's great, great, great! I hope this gets a full 22 episode!
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Overall I thought it was pretty solid and definetely has potential. Regarding the pace, I too thought it was fast but thats not necesarily a bad thing, reminded me of scrubs. Looking forward to more episodes
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I love Trevor Moore. Ms. March was hilarious, and the Whitest Kids U'Know has it's moments... the rest of the cast is pretty awesome too. Here's to hoping they get the writing to make this show great.
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I really enjoyed the pilot episode! So much so, I actually watched it twice.
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I thought it was decent....they definatly need to cut down the cheese factor and the forced humor....but thats just a matter of the actors getting some chemistry...show definatly has some potential
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I like the actors. Gonna have to check out the show.
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why is it that people havent seen whitest kids u know. if they would they would know more about trevor
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I was pleasantly surprised by the show -- it was funnier and more entertaining than I thought it'd be. Slater and Harrison are both charming enough to be the stars of the show. It also doesn't hurt that I think Odette Annable (I prefer Yustman) is extremely beautiful. But, yes, it was WAY too quick. As you said, it really is as if they condensed a 45 minute show into 22 minutes just by cutting out chunks of scenes.
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It earned a slot on my DVR series manager. Totally dug the premise, the characters (WTF Rosenbaum in Uggs?!) and even Christian Slater. The best scene was Josh trying to get in to the frat. "I had a fratastrophe... Anyrape, can I crash here?" I laughed my ti**s off. I hope this gets a full 22 episode pick-up.
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...I'll allow it.
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I also liked it, it was funnier than I thought. A show like this one could take the easy way out when it comes to comedy and just make these slightly funny jokes which are so familiar from sit-coms. But the show actually had its moments with a few really sharp quips and funny situations. The fact that the show has Odette Annable in it is a major plus. Also a great thing is that it added Michael Rosenbaum to its cast. (Whatever has that dude done since leaving Smallville?) Hopefully we'll see more of him in the upcoming episodes. But the pace sure was insane. I can't say yet if it is a pro or a con. I was looking at the seconds counting down from 21 minutes wondering how on earth they would fit everything into that. But maybe that was only the problem of the pilot when the whole cast had to be introduced in addition to the plot. I'll give the show a second chance next week.
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I liked it a lot. Christain Slater and Brett Harrison were great. I hope this show gets a chance. It was too quick, I aggree - it could have been an hour long show with no problem of loosing your interest. I did think it reminded me more of Leverage then Party Down tho'.
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I haven't seen the show, but it seems to me the guy standing next to Slater is the male version of Summer Glau, (in the sense that) everything he's in gets canceled. Eh?
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