Comedies usually have the lead character be more level-headed and leave the crazy antics and bizarre behavior to the supporting roles. (There are always exceptions -- see Robin Williams on The Crazy Ones
.) Not so with Super Fun Night
, which takes Rebel Wilson and places her on center stage. Can an actress who is known for her supporting roles step up to the plate and deliver a home run?
The new ABC comedy Super Fun Night follows Kimmie Boubier, played by Wilson, and her friends as they have venture out at the end of every week to let loose and have fun: they call it "Friday Night Fun Night." She recently received a promotion at work, and is now a junior attorney. But not only that, she has found a potential love interest in attorney Richard Royce (Kevin Bishop).
Kimmie's two best friends are Marika (Lauren Ash) and Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira). Based on the premiere episode, I don't have much to say about them because neither stand out all that much. They all support each other, as best friends should. But that's about it. Maybe in the coming weeks, it'll be easier to separate the two and see how each has a distinct personality.
The good thing is, all three of these friends are very much outcasts and misfits. That may seem like I'm insulting them, but hear me out: we as viewers want to root for the underdogs, and these three provide us with that opportunity. The hope is that, with time, we'll start caring about them as well.
Kimmie's the ultimate misfit. She has stage fright, she wants to fit in, she doesn't want the torments of her childhood to reappear. Oh, but they do, in the form of Kendall Quinn, who other people around the office call "Attorney the Hun" and "Dracu-Lawyer," among other insults. But we can see why she's been bestowed with these nicknames: her mindset is all about getting her own way, and if that means making sure others, like Kimmie, get stomped on along the way, well, that's the way it'll have to be.
Kat Jenkinson is fine in this role, but the character has been written as a cookie-cutter stereotype of a grown-up Mean Girl. With a premise like this, it's obvious that Kimmie will eventually get the better of her and Kendall will be forced to see the error of her ways. But until then, I guess we'll have to live with the been there/done that.
When I reviewed The Goldbergs
, I said that at least one of ABC's new comedies will fail -- at the time, I was talking about the '80s throwback. But now I have to say the same thing about Super Fun Night
, which is all about aiming for cheap laughs. (Look no further than Kimmie's last name: Boubier -- yes, it's pronounced exactly how you think a show like this would pronounce it.)
The writing goes to the lowest-common denominator to find an obvious joke that we've heard a million times before. Kimmie's dress gets caught in the elevator and rips off? Check. Rebel Wilson is not thin, so how about throwing in some fat jokes? Check. I could go on...
Here's the deal: I really like Rebel Wilson. I absolutely loved her in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect. But the biggest difference is the kind of role she's playing. Not in terms of personality, but whether she's a lead or in a supporting role. I said at the start of this review that comedies usually have the wacky and crazy characters be the sidekicks; they don't normally carry a show or movie.
Look at Friends: Joey was part of an ensemble, but once you took him out and put him in front, the result ended up being a failed sitcom. (At least Matt LeBlanc has been able to find his niche on cable since then, playing a fictional version of himself.)
That's why I also worry about Sean Hayes' new show Sean Saves the World because Hayes works as a sidekick character (see Jack McFarland on Will and Grace), but can he carry a show? That's the big question. For Rebel Wilson, who's a sidekick character herself, it doesn't work to put the spotlight on her full-time.
If only the writing and storylines were smarter and stronger, then maybe it'd be worth it to tune in every week. Until that happens, my Wednesday nights are going to be all about shows like Survivor, Revolution, The X Factor and Nashville.
Will you be tuning in to Super Fun Night? Do you think Rebel Wilson will bring in viewers or is this new comedy dead on arrival?
Super Fun Night
premieres tonight at 9:30pm on ABC.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)