TV Review‘Sean Saves the World,’ not likelyGrandly named NBC sitcom faces a struggle to save itself
By Tom Conroy, Media Life Magazine
- Oct. 3, 2013
Gay parents probably aren’t that different from straight parents, but a sitcom about them should be different from a typical TV family comedy. The little differences could inspire some big jokes.
Even if that weren’t true, a new sitcom should have some evidence of novelty. NBC’s comedy “Sean Saves the World,”
a vehicle for the former “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes, is an assemblage of the usual components of single-parent comedy, with the main character’s sexual orientation providing a few variations on old situations and old jokes.
Since gay characters are everywhere in TV comedy, even this twist feels stale. Although Hayes and his costars probably weren’t flop-sweating as they shot the show, the smell of desperation seeps through the screen.
In the premiere episode, airing tonight at 9,
Sean (Hayes), a gay divorcé, tries to leave his job at a catalog company at a normal hour so he can make dinner for his 14-year-old daughter, Ellie (Samantha Isler), who recently moved in with him full time after her mother transferred to another city for a job.
Unfortunately, the company’s eccentric new owner, Max (Thomas Lennon), has decided that the entire staff has to work late indefinitely. So Sean tries to sneak himself and a chicken out of the office bathroom window.
Ssean saves the world1ean’s mother, Lorna (Linda Lavin), who helps him with Ellie, is sometimes harshly critical and sometimes doting. Since both of those attitudes are fertile ground for sitcom jokes, the show’s creator, Victor Fresco, must have asked himself, “Why choose?”
Poor Linda Lavin has the unenviable task of delivering lines about how the elderly men she dates are going to get lucky, which seem to be required of older single women on sitcoms.
In the second episode, we learn that Lorna resents Sean’s co-worker and best friend, Liz (Megan Hilty), because at his wedding, which she catered, Liz told her Sean was gay. “How dare you tell me my son is gay,” says Lorna, “on the one day I’m trying to pretend I don’t know?”
We’re supposed to believe that Lorna’s resentment is so great that, in the second episode, Sean attempts to keep her from learning that Liz took Ellie bra shopping. Though all the actors try hard to appear to care, viewers won’t.
A third episode provided for review contains the familiar scenario in which the single parent is set up on a date, only to spend more time worrying about his child. Although Hayes provides some slapsticky fun as he repeatedly hops up from the couch to try to phone Ellie, the sex of either person on the date could be changed with no rewriting.
sean saves the world2The secondary roles are either inexplicable or clichéd. Although Hunter says that Max acts like an alien, he’s actually a collection of mutually incompatible human quirks in search of a character.
Liz has no discernible character type in the premiere but blossoms as a typical sitcom tramp in the second episode. She keeps reminiscing to Ellie about sleeping with men who pretended to own limos or yachts.
Another co-worker, Hunter (Echo Kellum), can be summed up as “the black guy.”
The third episode throws in an unusual subplot about some disturbing commercials that Sean made with Lorna when he was a boy, and it features a decent running gag about a universal remote control.
But it also seems to be building a case for Freud’s theory that male homosexuality is caused by overbearing mothers and distant fathers. We can be charitable and hope that the writer wasn’t paying attention while he typed.
In the clearest sign that we’re watching a show written by a lazy sitcom writer, Sean at one point calls his boss “sir.” No American outside the military or a sitcom has called his boss “sir” for at least a quarter century.
The show’s title makes no sense. It may be a bit of self-homage on the part of Victor Fresco, who in 2002 created the much funnier “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” an idiosyncratic show that actually played to the strengths of its titular star.
Sean may save the world, but he won’t be able to save this show.http://www.medialifemagazine.com/sean-saves-world-likely/* * * *Nielsen Cable Overnights (18-49)TBS scores with NL wild card gameCable's top show Tuesday with 4.599 million viewers
By Bill Cromwell, Media Life Magazine
- Oct. 3, 2013
In a good sign for this year’s MLB postseason, the National League wild card play-in game saw solid gains over last year on Tuesday night.
The contest between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates averaged 4.599 million total viewers, according to Nielsen overnights, up 15 percent over last year’s wild card game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, which drew 3.99 million viewers.
The game was the most-watched show on cable for the night, though just by a hair. FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” averaged 4.598 million viewers at 10 p.m.
The game set a record in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates hadn’t made the postseason since 1992, averaging a 33.7 local household rating.
That was the highest-rated baseball game in the city’s history. Cincinnati averaged a 16.6 for the contest.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, “Anarchy” was the cable’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49, rating a 2.4. That was second in its 10 p.m. timeslot on broadcast or cable, behind NBC’s “Chicago Fire” with a 2.6.
Viewers were clearly interested in news programming following the federal government shutdown at midnight on Oct. 1.
Three of the day’s top 10 shows on cable among total viewers were on Fox News Channel, including “The O’Reilly Factor” with 2.88 million.
“The Five” (2.438 million) and “Special Report with Bret Baier” (2.247) also finished among the top shows.
And faux news program “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” was 16th for the day with 2.036 million total viewers following a piece from his Monday show about the shutdown that went viral online.Tuesday’s top cable programs:
1. FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (10 p.m.) 2.4; Tie-2. TBS’s “MLB Wildcard” (8 p.m.) and Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0″ (10 p.m.) 1.3.Total viewers:
1. TBS’s “MLB Wildcard” (8 p.m.) 4.599 million; 2. FX’s “Son’s of Anarchy” (10 p.m.) 4.598 million; 3. Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” (6 p.m.) 2.97 million.http://www.medialifemagazine.com/tbs-scores-nl-wild-card-game/