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“The Crazy Ones” Pilot Review

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The mad men of the 21st century advertising world are here! Led by Robin Williams (“the greatest comedian on the planet” if CBS promos are to be believed) and Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Crazy Ones is a silly, babbling sitcom with lots of heart — and problems.

The half-hour show is truly an odd beast, one that fully lives up to its name with a cast of zany, surprisingly incompetent, and forcibly dysfunctional characters. Is it the funniest new thing on television? No. Does it hold promise? Definitely.

Williams plays ad man Simon Roberts while Gellar plays Sydney, his coworker daughter (who, incidentally, rocks the most gigantic side bun known to man). The two head up an advertising agency that represents McDonald’s and apparently only has three other relevant employees: Hamish Linklater’s neurotically sensible art director Andrew, James Wolk’s playboy crooner Zach, and Amanda Setton’s ditzy assistant Lauren.

The pilot revolves around the agency’s desperation to keep McDonald’s as a client by booking a famous singer in one day. This necessitates a few amusing appearances by Kelly Clarkson, who only wants to sing about sex. Sydney struggles to fix the issue through logical, traditional routes, but her father’s from the school of ad-libbing monologues and spontaneity.

Will the father-daughter duo learn to appreciate each other’s unique problem-solving skills in time to save the day and the McDonald’s account? Will Kelly Clarkson find a way to sing about sex and hamburgers? Will all those other characters have at least two or three lines to help develop their personality? Yes, yes, and yes!

In truth, the weirdest roadblock for The Crazy Ones is how bizarrely un-funny it is. The acting is all great, the writing is okay, and the cast is likable enough, but I hardly chuckled through the entire thing. It was just… a nice story, I guess — and “nice” isn’t really what you’re looking for in Williams’ big TV comeback.

His familiar motormouth schtick is on full display in several scenes, and yet the spiels aren’t all that charming. They’re just sort of there, marginally helping to sketch out the backstory of a character with at least one failed marriage and a couple of rehab stints (hello, exposition!).

My personal opinion? Stick this one out. The elements of a fun, clever show are all here, and if nothing else, it’s entertaining to see the Man Men world given a modern, Williams-y twist.

The Crazy Ones airs on Thursdays on CBS at 9PM.

Written by: Hayley I.