Last night, TBS’s Ground Floor debuted with two back to back episodes. While I wasn’t expecting much from the show, it is the best show I have seen this season. Ground Floor is pretty much a brotastic version of Just Shoot Me!, which sounds terrible, but actually ends up being better than latter.
Ground Floor stars Skylar Astin as Brody Moyer. Brody works for a money managing company owned by Remington Stewart Mansfield, who John C. McGinley plays masterfully. Remington feels that Brody is like the son he never had. He is grooming Brody to take over the company and wants Brody to focus solely on work. However, Brody met a girl, who works on the ground floor.
The pilot episode revolves around the tension between the top floor and the bottom floor. The top floor looks down on the bottom floor because a lot of those employees barely finished high school and will never move up in their careers. The bottom floor believes that the top floor is full of soulless people, who never have any fun.
Unlike most game shows, there are two hosts: D.L. Hughley and Michael Ian Black. It’s an unusual setup that works because it seems like the producers will be casting meek contestants, who aren’t entirely comfortable with the jokes and subject matters. The producers are picking people that blush when you mention boobs, so of course they’re not going to be comfortable when D.L. Hughley gives a fact about the first patent for vibrators. While it would be nice to see a contestant hold their own against two comedians, the contestants aren’t the star of the show.
The facade of a game show only serves to allow D.L. and Michael to banter, which gets a little dirty because the show is aired at 10:30 pm on cable. The fact that the Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host isn’t on network television allows both hosts to curse, tell questionable jokes, and D.L. to crack all the jokes he wants about being a black man. For some reason, that is something D.L. likes to remind the audience. He constantly calls himself “the dark side.” It’s funny the first time. By the five hundredth time, it’s been run into the ground.
Howie Mandel is a prankster. He also likes to produce Candid Camera inspired shows, which is why Howie Do It, Mobbed, and now Deal With It exist. The former two shows both lasted less than 20 episodes. If TBS is smart, Deal With It will meet the same fate. In other words, the show isn’t good. To make matters worse, it is an exact copy of a short-lived Food Network show that even the Internet doesn’t remember.
Deal With It ambushes a random restaurant patron, who is then asked to participate in a game where they can win up to $5,000. Of course, all the people agree to go along with whatever crazy thing host Theo Von and his celebrity guest tell them to do. There are five rounds, which are worth $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, respectively. If a contestant does not feel comfortable continuing the game, he or she can end the game by saying “I can’t deal with it.” Unlike many shows in this genre, the contestant then gets to keep the money won up to that point.
Sullivan & Son can showcase enjoyable and respectable humor, but it is inconsistent. It can be high quality television one week and a disappointment the week after. Thursday’s episode was a disappointment. The episode attempted to make light out of a depressing situation. It is a common approach for the show, but it just didn’t work this time. Like most episodes, the story moved very slowly, which was especially noticeable in an episode devoid of humor.
The show opened with Steve’s Aunt Jo showing up at the bar after not having seen the family for a long time. From the beginning, Jack makes it clear that he does not trust her. Jo has had a tendency to scam the family due to a gambling addiction. Being his usual idealistic self, Steve wants to give her a chance to rejoin the family to see if she has turned her life around. Of course, Steve’s family warns him not to accept her.
Sullivan & Son has been guilty of cringe comedy and an inability to move the story forward. Jokes that make the audience cringe aren’t always funny as much as they are offensive. Cringe comedy is very hard to execute, which it has for Sullivan & Son. Viewers may be too distracted by the subject matter to laugh. With a lack of movement or action in most of the episodes of Sullivan & Son, there is very little room for distraction. Luckily, on Thursday’s episode, the subject manner and themes were rather pleasant and still funny. The story is still slow, but that is the nature of the show, but yesterday’s episode seemed to take advantage of its limited setting.
The episode opened with Steve’s mother, Ok Cha showing Steve a picture of a Korean woman named Grace Kim online. She then says that she set up an online dating profile for Steve and that the woman wants to meet him. Of course, Steve is upset that his mom took control of his personal life. The dynamic between Steve and his mother can get a little old. Ok Cha likes to think Steve can’t take control of his life when he clearly can. That being said, the measures that Ok Cha took could be construed as so annoying that they are funny. She asserts that she didn’t pretend to be Steve, but she pretended to better than Steve. Steve protests that he does not want to meet Grace, but Grace was coming to the bar anyway.
Thursday’s episode of Sullivan & Son was enjoyable at times, but very little actually happened. Since the bar seems to be the only major setting, there is hardly any action. Instead, the characters are free to have very stressful conversations. While this leaves possibilities for the characters to have revelations, there is very little effort to move the story forward. Episodes that are full of dialogue can be funny at times, but they can also get boring. Despite the potential for Sullivan & Son to be humorous as well as deeply thematic, exclusively relying on slow moving episodes that are full of stress can be a bad idea.
It is the 50th anniversary of Sullivan & Son and things are getting complicated for Steve and his childhood friend Melanie, known as Mel. It is revealed that Mel’s grandfather originally owned the bar and lost it in a poker game against Steve’s grandfather, Jack. Despite this having nothing to do with Steve, Mel holds a grudge for some reason. Of course this is illogical and Steve had nothing to do with the loss of the bar. Mel acknowledges this and is still mad at Steve. Mel’s acknowledgement of her own hypocrisy is supposed to be funny but it is actually very annoying, There is absolutely no reason for this to be a story. In fact, neither of them were aware of it until Jack brought it to their attention. The fact that it was a plot line shows the drawbacks of relying on one location for an entire episode.
The promos for TBS’s new sitcom, Sullivan & Son seemed crass, stereotypical, and at times cringe worthy. There was very little context, so I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like this or be offended by it. There is a lot of shock value in the show. It is crass, stereotypical, and cringe worthy. It just also happens to be pretty funny. The series opened with two episodes last night that both showed potential.
Steve Sullivan is the son. He is a workaholic corporate attorney on Wall Street who is visiting his family in Pittsburgh for his father’s birthday party. The party is being held at Sullivan & Son, a bar that the Sullivan family has owned for generations. Steve is bringing his girlfriend of 8 months to the party. It is his first time back home since they started dating and she is obviously more serious than he is about the relationship. This type of dynamic seems to really establish Sullivan’s character from the get-go. Steve is portrayed by showrunner and comic Steve Byrne. He is a man who is simply going through the motions of life. He has a “big and important” job (which he has to describe several times throughout the show) and a girlfriend who assumes they are going to move in together. He is following a safe and conventional path, but that isn’t what he wants. In this sense, Steve’s character seems very real as he struggles to grow.
TBS is one of my favorite channels, but it’s one of the last places I would think of to have a quality first-run show. I’ll watch endless reruns of Friends or Seinfeld, but that’s what TBS is best at: reruns. Though, when I saw so many ads for Men at Work during multiple two hour marathons of Friends, I wanted to give it a chance. I have been a fan of Breckin Meyer ever since I saw him star in Rat Race in 2001, so I was curious about how well he would do as a showrunner. I’ve also been a fan of Danny Masterson for a while. I knew this new role wouldn’t be as enjoyable as when he was Hyde in That 70s Show, but I still wanted him to succeed.
The style of the show wasn’t going to suit me, since I have an aversion to multi-camera shows with a laugh track. While there are a few notable exceptions, the overwhelmingly deliberate delivery of punchline and prompting for the viewer to laugh turns me off. Also, the camera set up seems to compromise individual character focus. The premise of this show was respectable, but not very unique. Four men living, working and dating in New York. The series opened with two episodes on Thursday night, and while I chuckled a few times during both of them, I wasn’t impressed.