Kelley and crew seem to have an unhealthy fascination with emasculating Robin Williams. Last week there was the kerfuffle with Zach playing the young, virile counterpart to Simon's experienced lover. The cold open of "Hugging the Now" also uses the two opposite each other, this time to sell erection enhancing pills. Simon plays the old dysfunctional man, while Zach plays the young sexy man inside him. It's a little off-putting. Yes, advertising does try to appeal to the young and sexy, but having The Crazy Ones reinforce that message is distasteful. Throughout the rest of the episode, Robin Williams continues to have a crisis of masculinity, as he wrestles with his age and yearns to win an Impact award to prove his worth. The award is stolen from him by another young, sexy man (Josh, the object of SMG's high school affection), and Simon's old fuddy-duddiness is cemented. The addition of an overly cheesy ending tag, with him intoning about how he has all he needs, only serves to make Simon even more toothless.
All mixed messages and mishandling of stars aside, the biggest issue at hand is the fact that any wonderfully zany moment is immediately undercut by the overtreatment of the show. Rather than trust the viewer to appreciate the intriguingly bizarre, like SMG's strange snowglobe soliloquy, the writers feel the need to process the moment to the point where it lacks all flavor, and anything appealing is immediately sapped out. Having SMG ramble about her perfect high school daydream, while staring at a snowglobe and being emotionally manipulated by "Eternal Flame," was strange but somehow perfect. By the end of the show, that moment is ruined by the entire cast bringing the dream to life in a bar. Complete with Zach (naturally, irritatingly) playing the scarf-wearing dreamboat and crooning into her ear, Hamish playing piano, and Lauren flinging fake snow. Making the weirdness tangible was a couple, or a couple hundred, steps too far.
Even the convenience of having SMG's dream fellow Josh immediately love her was too much. As he waltzed in and immediately kissed her, the audience was robbed of any build. Nothing could happen that easily, and so it's unsurprising that he betrays her. Even as Josh claims to have meant all of the feelings he purported to having, it's meaningless. The fling and fall happened too quickly and too predictably, so who cares about SMG's feelings or how it affects the plot?
-Foul move using music to substitute for establishing mood. First using Queen for evil, then the Bangles, a fake version of "Get Lucky," and topping it all off with Eric Clapton? That's underhanded.
-Lauren continues to delight. I would watch the crap out of this show if she actually did stage a coup and take over the company.
-The blurring between show world and reality continues to wear thin. Robin William's self-centeredness grows tiresome, especially when he states, "nobody's talked about me for a minute, I forgot I was here." Is that why you're doing this show, Mr. Williams? Without a camera to mug for, do you forget your existence? Because firstly, there are people to talk to about that, and secondly, this is not the way to reappear.