Take an up-and-coming star who's caught a lot of buzz and give her her own show, what could go wrong? Super Fun Night, that's what! ABC took the "star first" approach with its new sitcom, importing Australian comic Rebel Wilson after the actress turned in a couple memorable performances in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, and letting her have at it. The result was 30 exhausting minutes of a Saturday Night Live sketch whose central didn't know the bit was over.
Wilson plays Kimmie Boubier, a woman of ample carriage and even more ample awkwardness who vlogs and gets excited about free treats in the snack room at her cushy new law firm job. She's got a pair of loser-ish best friends and the three of them go out together and try to be cool, basically, while the rest of the world laughs at them. What you didn't see in the series premiere was Kimmie's first day at her new job. You also didn't learn that she and her friends used to stay in and have pathetic loser parties every Friday night. That's because ABC scrapped the show's original pilot (which was made available for screening to critics), and kicked off the series with Episode 2. Thankfully it didn't affect Super Fun Night's threadbare concept, but unfortunately for ABC, it also didn't improve on the terrible pilot that's probably rotting in a dumpster on the ABC lot right now, right next to the makeup kit used for Ben Koldyke's character on Work It.
Okay, you may be a huge Wilson fan and that might've been enough for you to get through the premiere unscathed, but for me, sitcoms need to be, I dunno, funny? "Anything for Love" tried oh-so-hard but failed oh-so-spectacularly in that regard. At least, it wasn't funny for anyone who doesn't see the endless goldmine in Spanx-related comedy and dead-end cutaways (in one of them, Kimmie dread-fantasized about a future presentation she'd be giving and saw herself standing there unable to speak, and yep, that was the joke). There was a Sharknado quip when Kimmie's crush said he was afraid of tornadoes full of sharks. There was Kimmie's friend Marika talking about her tennis arms for some reason. There was Kimmie's other friend Helen-Alice accidentally drunk and asking what color mane she would have if she were a pony. There was Kimmie falling over. And finally, there was that damn pair of Spanx. The nightmare-making, flesh-colored, body-mass-reducing undergarment was the punchline of four jokes, including one lengthy end tag wherein Wilson tried to defy the laws of physics by putting it on. That scene is probably still going. If there is such a thing as effortless comedy, Super Fun Night is the opposite.
A lot of Super Fun Night's humor is random like that because the show isn't really a show yet, it's just trying to be a sequence of funnies. It's a buddy hangout comedy but it's also a workplace comedy but it's also an underdog going-out comedy, but also it's not really any of those. It's Rebel Wilson. I'm sure ABC thought that putting a camera on Wilson was good enough, but it wasn't. It's a mistake a lot of networks make with hot comics.
And maybe if I took a Super Fun Night "Which Character Are You?" quiz, I'd be mean-girl Kendall, because I don't find Kimmie very likable at all. We're supposed to root for Kimmie as the underdog, but instead of building her up into something likable, "Anything for Love" decided to let her in-office rival Kendall be really mean to her as they both competed for the attention of Richard, the boss's very cute son. This isn't a zero-sum game, and kicking Kendall down didn't raise Kimmie up. If Super Fun Night wants to go anywhere, we'll need a reason to like Kimmie other than the fact that other people are mean to her because she's annoying. Okay, maybe I'm one of those mean people. Where do you stand?
– What I would like to see is more of Kimmie and Richard's blossoming friendship, because it has the potential to be a reason to watch this show. I think Richard is the key to the series, and Kevin Bishop plays the blissfully naive character perfectly.
– Super Fun Night clearly wants to be more than just a bunch of fat jokes, but at times that's all it is. Stop confusing me, show!
– That was Little Britain's Matt Lucas in a cameo as a guy riding the elevator. Super fun fact of the day: Lucas and Wilson are real-life roommates in Los Angeles!
– There will be lots of singing in this show! Lots!
– I guess Helen-Alice drunk-dialing her grandmother about Christmas cards might have been funny?
What'd you think of the series premiere? Will you be back for Episode 2?
AIRED ON 2/19/2014
Season 1 : Episode 17