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New on the Tube: ‘The Crazy Ones’

New on the Tube is a series devoted to reviewing relatively new television shows and determining how they may (or may not) appeal to their intended audiences, where the shows are going, and what can be done to make them better.

Show Premise: 

Roberts & Roberts, an advertising agency headed up by a father and daughter team, is in dire straits as some of their clients begin dropping them. The unorthodox, out-of-the-box thinking of Simon Roberts envisions some interesting ideas for the agency, but the down-to-earth ways of his daughter Sydney clashes. Because of Simon’s known success for spectacular advertising events, Sydney tries to one-up her father in an effort to bring in big business, often with disastrous results. The show airs on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) on CBS.


Previously on The Crazy Ones: Covering episodes #1 - #4

Trying to impress the clientele from McDonald’s, Simon Roberts promises a revamp of their image for an ad campaign including the ability to deliver Kelly Clarkson as a recognizable symbol for the commercial. After failing to win over Clarkson with his unorthodox and pivotal ways, Simon stands back while Sydney brings her in and saves the account and the firm from going under. Following this success, Sydney believes she can outdo her father by creating a large media event for a coffee conglomerate, but the event backfires when she fails to take weather conditions into account. Simon steps in and fixes the situation, thus showing Sydney that not every large event can be a good one. Later on, the two create a commercial for Allstate that brings back some traumatic childhood memories for Sydney, prompting Simon to attempt to make things right and failing miserably at them. Afterwards, Simon forces Sydney to go on vacation because of all the stress from work, but Sydney finds a way to stay behind and help with a problem in the office, as well and discovering she has some latent feelings for one of her co-workers.

Main Characters

Simon Roberts: A high-profile advertising executive with his own firm, Simon Roberts is all about bringing a unique approach to how he runs things. A bit eccentric and “out there,” he has some relationship issues with his daughter that he hopes he can mend as they work together.

Sydney Roberts: An all-business individual with a personal sense of responsibility, Sydney Roberts is very much the opposite of what her father does. As the creative director for the firm, she has a way of doing things that don’t always mesh with Simon’s methods, causing strife both in their working and personal relationships.

Zach Cropper: A copywriter who is very quiet most of the time, Zach Cropper is seen as the goodie-goodie of the staff and is easily ignored by everyone. He has a strange friendship with Andrew, including a somewhat low-key animosity between them as they vie for attention from Simon.

Andrew Keanelly: An art director for the firm, Andrew Keanelly is quite vocal and strident with his pitches to Simon and in how he creates advertising models. Somewhat of a serial dater, he is never seen alone after hours and has often given his cast-offs to Zach.

Lauren Slotsky: An assistant for the firm, Lauren’s duties are not really defined, as she has assisted with everything from memo-writing to art concept. Very sure of herself, she seems to be too bright to be in such a low-grade position, her brilliance sometimes bringing out obscure-yet-workable ideas to the table.

What Works

The acting style of Robin Williams is very much a plus for this series, as the character of Simon Roberts is essentially Williams being himself on stage. Strange, unorthodox ideas, a desire to deliver big on promises, and the quick-thinking resolution when problems arrive speak volumes about the character and Williams’ portrayal of him. For someone who hasn’t stared in a comedy television series since 1982, his acting style is superb for this role. The odd-couple type of clash storytelling between the two Roberts is an essential part to the series, and I believe that Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar play their respective parts well. The show really is about their relationship, regardless of anyone else playing a part, and seeing how they tackle their problems while trying to maintain a sense of professionalism as well as bring in their personal past is a laugh riot. While it isn’t really part of the show itself, the inclusion of outtakes during the end-credits is great in my opinion. Sometimes the funniest aspects of a comedy show are the mistakes that the actors make, and with Williams’ very vocal and flamboyant style of delivery, even these unedited jokes make a great addition to the series.

What Doesn’t

While the addition of Lauren, Zach, and Andrew does allow for more hijinks—and the ability to screw up more—they don’t really add to the overall dichotomy between the two Roberts. Their interpersonal relationships with each other and the Roberts certainly allow for the audience to see how Simon and Sydney interact from a different angle, but it doesn’t feel as though they really belong in the show. I think even the show runners see this problem, as they attempted to create some romantic tension between Zach and Sydney in the 4th episode as a way to bring him further into the fold.

The Future

I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for the show, but the acting and comedy of Robin Williams with the deadpan, straight delivery of Sarah Michelle Gellar certainly is a win in my book. The two play off each other well, and I can see the series moving forward for at least a full season, but unless they do something big to keep the show interesting for the audiences at large, The Crazy Ones will go the way of Go On and The New Normal.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:17

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