A feeble attempt to bring back the popularity of ‘50s sketch comedy and ‘90s multi-camera ensemble, Fox’s new series Mulaney is a 22-minute has-been that is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame.

Packed with timely laugh tracks and cheesy sound tracks that scream, “I want to be the next ‘Seinfeld,’ this highly ambitious addition to the lineup of Fox’s quirk squad is two nuts short of funny.

The birth child of Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian John Mulaney—one would expect to gasp for air with uncontrollable laughter as we once did during his years writing for “Saturday Night Live.” Instead, we are left with a dry taste in our mouths wondering how this script received the seal of approval.

First off, the cast is far from comedy genius. The only saving grace is Mulaney’s presence and Elliott Gould’s effortless act as the gay New York veteran who makes an appearance every once in a while throughout the show.

Mulaney chronicles the life of John Mulaney as a struggling comedian in New York. Great, we haven’t seen this before. Though what I struggle to understand is how he and Motif—his equally struggling comedian friend—struck apartment gold in New York. Yes, it’s just television, but in a television era so heavily based on reality let’s go the extra mile and make this a bit more convincing?

The biggest issue we run into here is how a writer for one of the most popular shows on television can produce such mundane literature. Not once do you find yourself shedding a tear of laughter. More often, you find yourself pondering why the laugh track was strategically placed immediately after Lou Cannon—played by Martin Short, opens his first of many cups of chocolate pudding that rest atop his full-bar… a half hour later, and I still don’t understand why it’s so funny?

Let’s not forget to mention the tightly packed suitcase of stereotypes gone wrong. Thanks for the jive talk Motif! It’s not that Motif’s character couldn’t be convincing, rather the lingering question is whether or not newcomer Seaton Smith stumbled onto the wrong set?

Mulaney’s cluster of degenerate 30-something year old friends creates the quintessential mold of what society believes this generation to be. Throw the outrageously neurotic, man-hunting girl that just so happens to be a “friend,” Jane played by Nasim Pedrad in the mix and we’ve got ourselves a new idea! The awkward “this could potentially turn into a romantic relationship,” interactions aren’t fooling your audience Mulaney, and they shouldn’t fool you.

But wait; let us not forget the trust fund baby drug dealer Andre who literally appears out of thin air. Not only does his character not make sense when you line up these clean cut poor degenerates who live in a beautiful apartment in New York, but he’s just ridiculous from his look to his creepy advances towards Jane. The pilot character who just doesn’t make the cut, Zack Pearlman should just agree that landing on any show on Fox is a win in this situation.

A first attempt at a comedy series by a well-known SNL writer, Mulaney falls short of the expectations of John Mulaney fans. Not only is this a disappointment, but I am afraid to see what crazy antics these kids get themselves into next.

 

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