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The Crazy Ones: Pilot

Simon: “Leap and a net shall appear.”

The Crazy Ones premiere made one thing evident: Robin Williams is still brilliant. The best part about this show is him and his ability to ad lib with almost anything. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a perfect foil for him. It is obvious that she knows how to do comedy and, although she doesn’t get the laughs, she often makes the laughs possible.

Williams plays Simon Roberts, an aging ad executive who owns his own company. (There is a huge graphic illustration of him that includes the elevator and a florescent neon light bulb.) Sydney is his serious daughter who is also his partner. The premise isn’t particularly original, but the writing is funny and the supporting cast is quite good. I particularly enjoyed the chemistry between Robin Williams and James Wolk, who plays the handsome bounder Zachary.

Unfortunately, it is a show about advertising and I really wasn’t impressed by the obvious plug for McDonalds. I’m not really a fan of Kelly Clarkson, although to be fair, she did manage to be funny. It seemed there was some hope of satire when Lauren used the way her hair smelled to inspire Simon, but the bits about family time and even the reference to the “Crazy Ones” commercial by Apple (where the title of the series came from) were a bit too “heartfelt” for my taste. I’m a bit worried that this will be a show about the “good” advertisers, although if 60% of your business comes from McDonalds I think it is hard to claim to be virtuous.

The other issue is the objectification of women. Lauren is the ditzy assistant, who flashes her legs to keep clients amused. I think they have tried to address this by objectifying Zachary, just to be fair, but that is hardly progress. Good comedies have depth and I am hoping this one starts to develop some instead of relying on stereotypes and overused tropes.

Overall, there were some very funny bits in this pilot. I’m going to continue to watch and hope that the writing develops as it goes along.

Bits and Pieces

The beginning bit was great with Sydney and Andrew talking over each other. It really would be that impossible to get kids to act “eating a cookie.”

The riff between Simon and Zachary, as they made up a “sexy” song about drive-through food was hilarious.

What is it with Sarah Michelle Gellar and her hair? The side bun annoyed me. It looked terrible.

I really enjoyed Sydney trying to sing and then getting right into it.

There were lots of little things that Sydney did that really added to the comedy in the show. I loved her walking over and casually putting Lauren’s arm down when Simon asked who had slept with Zack.

Quotes (All from Simon of course)

Simon: “I can walk, I’m a good walker. I can also amble, I could saunter, I could sashay.”

Simon: “Past tense. We have a past. It’s tense."

Simon and Andrew: “Drive through lovin', drive through lovin'.”

Simon: “That’s like a vasectomy with a melody.”

Simon: “You’re my net, you know. You always appear.”

Simon: “I’m changing it from Roberts and Roberts to Roberts and Roberts.”


  1. As an avid SMG fan, I was really looking forward to this. I've also always loved Robin Williams. I'm happy to see they make a pretty good team! Yeah, it was le cheese in places, but it was still pretty funny, so I'll be sticking with it.
    I don't know why, but that big mural of him reminded me of 3 Men and a Little Lady (check out around 3:50 in this video)

  2. Have to disagree here. This was just painful. Robin Williams is, of course, still Robin Williams and there wasn't a thing wrong with him. Mostly what bothered me was the backdoor advertising, which is a huge pet peeve of mine (unless it's done satirically as in 30 Rock). It was basically a thirty minute commercial for McDonalds.

    And, I'm really sorry, but SMG did not bring the funny for me. She seemed awkward and did not have great chemistry with her 'dad.' She can be funny; she did it a lot on Buffy, but she wasn't here. It might be okay as she's meant to play the straight man to her anticky (let's just pretend it's a word) dad.

    I liked manwhore Ward and the assistant who kept getting in trouble for laughing at her boss. The hair smelling thing was just sort of creepy. I don't think I'll be coming back for seconds on this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it though! :)

  3. I liked it, and, boy, did the story move fast.

    Robin Williams was terrific, just amazing, and I'm in love with James Wolk. Williams and Wolf had great comedic chemistry. SMG actually made me laugh, which I didn't see coming based on the promos. First, when Sydney said "America's sweetheart is about to have an orgasm in front of my dad", then when she said "if you do that [put her picture on the wall] my next leap is going to be through that window" (I’m not sure if those are the exact quotes). SMG nailed both Sydney’s A personality and her tenderness towards Williams’ Simon, and they totally sold the father/daughter interaction. Kelly Clarkson stole the show, she was funny and sarcastic. Can TPTB bring her back, please?

    I loved Simon’s “I feel like I’m in court again. Take half” (wonderful line), and “Past tense. We have a past, and it’s tense”, which you’ve quoted.

    All in all, way better than Ringer and I really hope this is the right leap for SMG’s career.

  4. I adore Robin Williams and of course, SMG starred in my favorite show ever, so I wanted to like it. And it did make me laugh. It was clever. But I agree with Dr. Nana Mom that the fact that it's about advertising bothers me. And I agree with sunbunny that it felt like a free thirty-minute McDonalds commercial.

  5. I didn't like this at all. I thought Robin Williams was trying too hard to be Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar was just hopelessly outgunned by him.

    I did like the chemistry between Wolk and Williams and I thought that Wolk could keep up with Williams, which Gellar simply could not. I think they should get rid of Gellar and make it a buddy comedy. Maybe, just maybe, it could work.

    This is not one I will watch again. Great review, Doc. I'm hoping it finds an audience as SMG does not need two really, really bad shows in a row.

  6. On paper this sounded like the previous sitcom "Just shoot me"-straighlaced daughter working with wacky dad..In reality it just didn't appeal to me at all. Too much McDonalds stuff and not enough good jokes. SMG was fine but Williams was too over the top even for him. Don't care much for Clarkson but she was ok. Probably won't be back.


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