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"Free Agents" Review - This Review Comes With an Olyphant Treat, Which Is Better Than The Show Deserves

By Seth Freilich | TV | September 21, 2011 |

By Seth Freilich | TV | September 21, 2011 |

“Free Agents” seems like a no-brainer. Hank Azaria. Anthony (Stewart) Head. A comedy from one of the creator/writers of “Party Down” and, before that, a “Veronica Mars” writer. That’s almost as perfect a Pajiba Trifecta as one can imagine. And yet, “Free Agents” is more a trifecta of shite — crappy British remake, forced sexual “humor” and stereotypical tropes.

The premise of the show is that Azaria’s character is freshly single and he’s just hooked up with a co-worker only — shhhhh — it’s a secret. And it turns out he’s not really “moved on” just yet, and is very broken up over the break up still. But it’s OK, because his pain is actually funny … he cries about it. Even when he doesn’t know he’s crying! And his boss, Anthony Head, is a brutish pig. And he works at a PR firm so his co-workers decide to do an advertising/PR makeover on him so he can go out and get laid, because that’s what men do to get on with their lives. In hilarious fashion.

Yeah, I fucking loathe this show. There is nothing funny or charming or cute about it. There is nothing to even hint that this show is going to be anything but a flaccid dick pretending to be virile thanks to the wonders of Viagra. That metaphor, which I admit is crap, is better than anything “Free Agents” has to offer. Azaria is practically sleepwalking through this shtick and Head is just ridiculous (I know he’s reprising his role from the original British series — was he any better there, English readers?). And even Natasha Leggero, one of those “hey, it’s her” girls who I’ve seen in stuff and who I think is really funny, is reduced to her own stereotype, the super snide and sassy executive assistant. Actually, I stand corrected, as she told Azaria’s character: “It’s not sass, this is how it is. Lions don’t eat deer cause they’re sassy. It’s called Darwinism. And now I’m on the phone.”

I mean … fuck man. I know that just yesterday in my “New Girl” review I talked about giving a comedy the benefit of the doubt. But there has to be something. This had nothing. I wanted to like this show because of the Pajiba Trifecta but … well … screw it. This show didn’t put any effort into itself, so why should I put any more effort into this review? A little while ago, I stopped writing this review to go catch up on some internet nonsense, and I sent the following e-mail to Dustin. I believe it’s a better ending to this review than “Free Agents” deserves:

Just saw your cowboy hat post and it reminded me — I dunno if I mentioned this before, but Timothy Olyphant works out at my gym. I’ve seen him a bunch lately, and it just dawned on me yesterday that the oddest thing isn’t seeing him in gym clothes or on a bike, or noticing that he prefers watching “Sex and the City” to football (what?!?), but that he just looks incongruous to me without his cowboy hat. If I were him, I’d where that shit everywhere, even at the gym.
I’m a little drunk right now. I still need to finish that fucking “Free Agents” review and god damn I don’t care about that show. I think I’m going to put this in the review. This is far more interesting than anything in the show.

“Free Agents” is on tonight. At some time. On NBC. Don’t bother.

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Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.