As we learned this morning, Mulaney’s first season has been cut from an already strange 16 episodes, down to the 13 they’ve already shot. No one will be the tiniest bit surprised, either, if all of those don’t make it to air. In a perfect world, we never have to see A Very Special Mulaney Christmas. From the start, Mulaney seemed like an odd television experiment to make the blandest show possible. What would happen if we do a standard multi-camera show with a terrible laugh track, where nothing happens, no one changes, when we retool the lead’s old stand-up to remove any humanity or subtlety, and we force-feed the audience constant references and comparisons to much, much better but ostensibly comparable shows (Friends and Seinfeld, ad nauseam)? And of course a running undercurrent of a “bitches be crazy” mentality. I gave the show two and a half episodes before I just couldn’t stomach any more. I wanted to keep watching, because I felt like the show had to either get at least slightly better, or much much worse (and I love a good trainwreck). But it didn’t. It stayed boring and soulless.
Even if the show itself doesn’t have an ounce of potential (as anyone who saw the first Seinfeld
homage rip off trailer could see), the cast has plenty. Let’s look at where they’re all likely to end up when this show is mercifully taken from us.
Mulaney himself is a little riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in the body of a 12 year old boy. He’s funny. He is a funny man. He’s written a lot of funny things, both for himself and other people. On this show, though, he’s a mini Colin Jost, staring, slightly besmirked, seemingly having no idea what to do while waiting for his joke to land. And in a laugh-tracked show, he spends a LOT of time in that awkward space. So maybe we let Mulaney go back to writing for other people. Or doing his own stand-up without having to simultaneously interact with other actors. That seems like a win for everyone.
Can we PLEASE get Nasim back to singing awesome songs:
—instead of really super boring and out of place ones like last night’s?
Maybe let’s find her a show where she can make equal use of her pipes and her talent for imitating small men.
And don’t say SNL. Yes, that’s the obvious perfect combination of those two talents, but that ship has sailed. In reality, she’ll probably bounce around, guest starring on various sitcoms for a couple years until she gets a Comedy Central gig or someone writes her a singing Aziz Ansari variety show.
It’s hard to know what to make of Seaton Smith. He’s a relative newbie as a standup and actor, with no credits to speak of besides a self-produced webseries and some YouTube bootlegs of a few club sets.
Still, he has to deserve better than a show that seems to think naming his character “Motif” (and then saying that name as many times per episode as possible) is an acceptable stand-in for actual jokes.
Oh, don’t you worry about Zack Pearlman. He’s going to be just fine. Pearlman got his start by winning a contest at Funny or Die, leading to a role in a movie about teenagers trying to lose their virginity. He’s had guest star roles on Workaholics and Community. He was in that crap MTV remake of The Inbetweeners. He has three movies in production right now, one of which is about teenagers who accidentally discover a “life-like super-model sex bot,” another of which is called The Intern, about a fashion magazine that brings in an elderly intern. Amazingly, this isn’t the Vince Vaughn movie that came out last year. It’s an entirely different movie. So yes, Pearlman is going to be fine. He’s having exactly the career you would expect, plus he got to touch Alison Brie once.
You know who else is going to be just fine? Elliott Gould. The man has not stopped working since 1968, and he has to be getting some pretty decent Friends royalty checks. Elliott, you are so much better than the scarves and singular character traits of this show.
Martin Short is like a homeless comedy drifter. He just travels from show to show, playing the exact same outrageous version of himself that’s half intimidating close-talker, half supportive uncle. As soon as this turd passes, he’ll pack up and be on to the next one.
RIP Mulaney: 2014 - (hopefully) 2014