Maybe that would work most of the time, but in a season where racist jokes are being used as the crutches of lazy writing rooms, it feels stale. It's force-feeding the audience week-old bagels. These are the kind of cheap shots that The Crazy Ones shouldn't have to make. With talent like this, why scrape the bottom of the barrel?
The title and main conflict of this episode, "The Spectacular," perfectly sums up the biggest issue of The Crazy Ones. Roberts and Roberts's gimmicky "Spectacular" for the Windy City Coffee Co. isn't nearly as impressive as the show would have us believe, and neither is this alleged comedy.
To bring the lucky uninitiated up to speed, a "Spectacular" is a word the advertising world uses to make a publicity stunt sound really cool and somehow life-changing, in a sad attempt to screen their base motives. Everyone knows it's a publicity stunt. It's OK. But putting a fancy word on it means that the public will be so enamored of whatever smoke screen is covering the product that they won't mind being treated like sheep-like consumers and will, well, consume.
When The Crazy Ones first brings up the idea of a Spectacular, it's in the form of Robin Williams speaking out during SMG's presentation to their clients. SMG is using boring statistics and safe ad campaigns! Windy City wants something dangerous! Robin Williams has been encouraging SMG to live on the edge and push herself, even to the point of saying, out loud, in all actuality, "Stop playing it safe!" Way to belabor the point there, script.
And then, after using the truly awesome Red Bull Stratos Space Jump as an example of a Spectacular, and after promising to do something better than that (not possible), what does the show come up with? Putting a giant coffee pot that "magically" pours coffee in the middle of a square, and then giving people free coffee from stands surrounding the piece. I love free food. I love artistic installations. That Spectacular? Not so spectacular. I could believe that SMG came up with that after pulling an all-nighter. Not because it rocks, but because it smacks of desperation, just like all my all-nighter college papers.
These are things that would be mere quibbles with any other show, but when a series has as much promise and as much potential as this one does, it's unforgivable. Stop being lazy, The Crazy Ones. Stop thinking you can point the camera at these wonderful actors and your job is done. Push this show to be something great, because it can handle it. Perhaps the day will come when you can rest on your laurels and churn out half-baked episodes like this one, but today is not that day. In this, the second outing, I'm calling a foul.
-The B-plot, with Andrew becoming closer to Robin Williams and Zachary feeling jealousy for the first time, was acceptable. My love for James Wolk stays strong, and Hamish Linklater has a permanently-dejected face that I could watch all day long.
-The B-plot also led to a series of marvelous penis puns, so at least that's a thing.