Fall TV Preview: MULANEY


Starring: John Mulaney (“Saturday Night Live”), Martin Short (“SCTV,” “Saturday Night Live,” yada yada yada…), Nasim Pedrad (“Saturday Night Live”), Seaton Smith, Zack Pearlman (“Key and Peele”) and Elliott Gould (“Ocean’s Eleven”)

Genre: Multi-camera comedy

Premiere Date: Sunday, October 5, 9:30 p.m., Fox

Direct Competition: “The Good Wife” (CBS), Sunday Night Football (NBC), “Resurrection” (ABC), “The Walking Dead” (AMC)… pretty much all of basic cable.

Premise (in 140 characters or less): An up-and-coming comic gets the job of a lifetime, or so he thinks, when he’s hired to write jokes for an award-winning game show host.

Initial Reaction: Take the comparisons with a grain of salt. “Mulaney” is no “Seinfeld.” It’s not even close.

Conclusion: “Mulaney” was first in contention at NBC last year, but it failed to garner a series pick up. From what I understand, that decision was based on the very same pilot Fox is airing, which, to be honest, seems entirely justified.

The pilot’s an absolute mess. Mulaney is incredibly awkward in his first regular acting gig, and the writing for the supporting cast isn’t strong enough to conceal that. Pedrad, who recently exited “SNL” after seven underserved seasons, plays an obsessive ex-girlfriend, a character we’ve seen time and time again. Short and Gould do the best they can with what little the material gives them. Smith is given the most thankless of roles as Mulaney’s best friend, a fellow comic whose entire story line consists of trying to establish a marketable catch phase. I have no idea what to make of Pearlman’s character, a hipster pot dealer who isn’t liked by any of the others, but still spends time at Mulaney’s apartment.

I’m a staunch defender of multi-cams, but there’s no defending “Mulaney.” It simply isn’t good, and it’s the kind of show that multi-cam haters will use to rag on the format in the weeks and months to come.

Watch Live, DVR or Skip?: Skip it because it made me sad.

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