Williams steals the crazy show
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 22:09
Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar team up to create an unlikely duo in “The Crazy Ones,” CBS’ new fall comedy. So it’s basically Flubber plus Buffy the Vampire Slayer, right? Wrong. As popular as that series would be, this one is better suited to attract viewers. It is about an advertising agency owned by the father-daughter team of Simon and Sydney Roberts, played by Williams and Gellar respectively. This show captures the Roberts family and their workers as they go about their hectic and stressful lives trying to survive in the rough business world of Chicago. As they face constant rejection and possible failure, Simon “The Crazy One” Roberts demonstrates his ability to pull a profitable rabbit out of his hat. (Think Mad Men but exponentially goofier and a little bit less alcohol.)
First things first: Robin Williams is playing Robin Williams. Williams’ character on the show even shares his numerous divorces and past substance abuse problems. He’s energetic, he’s likeable, and above all, he’s silly. He has also aged quite a bit, which is expected but shocking considering his child-like personality. Williams steals every scene he’s in, which is a good thing because he is the star. He gets a bad reputation sometimes because of his past work on children’s movies or animated films, but I have come to the realization that Williams is actually a good actor. When he wants to be serious, he channels all of his rambunctious energy into his performance and it resonates with audiences.
Gellar is a much different story. Her character comes off as cold, reserved and desperate. Those three characteristics may make a very good businesswoman, but it does not make a great T.V. character. Sydney Roberts is obviously a foil character for her father to bounce his liveliness off of. Together they make a good advertising team and it’s somewhat heartwarming when you take the family aspect into consideration, but it’s clear that you watch this show for the ever-unpredictable Robin Williams.
One thing that I found particularly interesting was the show’s format. It’s a single-camera comedy and it does not feature a laugh track. This is unusual for a CBS comedy, but it is following the trend of more popular shows on multiple networks that have paved the way for this style of TV. I find laugh tracks to be distracting and displeasingly synthetic. Anyway, I do not need canned laughter to tell me when a joke is funny. It also tends to lead to lazy writing. Comedic theories aside, this show is pretty funny. It’s not hilarious absurdist T.V. and it is not supposed to be, but I appreciate its modest identity. It will surely make you laugh. After the pilot, I want to see more. I want to see how this family business succeeds and fails, I want to see the crazy ideas they come up with and I want to see more Robin Williams.