If this was integrated into the character of Simon more organically it might not be an issue, but The Crazy Ones is breaking TV rules and telling, not showing. The characters can allude to Simon having a checkered past and probation officers, they can affectionately call him a nutjob, but they have to back up the claims. When Williams isn't going off on his strange asides, he's playing a man who is kind, more an eccentric genius than a bonafide madman. I enjoy wise Robin Williams, I enjoy wry wise Robin Williams, but that can't co-exist with bat-guano crazy Robin Williams. You can't go both ways, Crazy Ones. Settle on a character and commit. Either make Williams manic all the time or none of the time, but stop the split personality. It's dizzying.
Williams aside, the show is suffering. It's sick with a bad case of the try-too-hards. Everything is pushed just past the point of believability.
It's like this. One of the slightly charming things about the company of Roberts & Roberts is how blatant they are in emotional manipulation. The opening scene, pitching a campaign by capitalizing on milestones of memory, underscored by a live performance of "Cats in the Cradle" courtesy of James Wolk, is hilarious in its bald use of heartstring-tugging. Such unashamed trickery is amusing when they use it with clients. But that overselling principle is offensive when the tables are turned and they use it on us. As the viewer, we're supposed to be in on the joke, laughing at it with the characters.
Instead, The Crazy Ones turns those tactics on us, broadly using jokes and dialogue in the same way they pitch their products. Patter that worked in favor of the dialogue now feels forced and cheap. After a car accident, a character turns to Williams and SMG, and quips "the cars aren't nearly as damaged as you two." It's an obvious quip. There's no heart behind it. There's only a hope that with enough speed and enough smiling, we'll buy in. Personally, I'm saving my money and shaking my head.
-I cannot condone a show that would so needlessly waste a sandwich. Even for the sake of a "they're made to be portable" joke. It did look like a great sandwich.
-It seems needlessly cruel to teach driving in a big city, especially the big city of Chicago. I know that was supposed to be rectification of Simon's character, but teaching driving in a city is still being a bad dad.
-They need to get some better advertisers as consultants, because every one of the ad campaigns on the show is cringeworthy. First the spectacular failure of the coffee cup, and now they are saying that a commercial with a bad dad is a "hit" with consumers? I felt so tense during that clip I could barely see what they were advertising, let alone condone it. I think their ad meter needs some adjusting.
-Amanda Setton killed it as Lauren this week. The little bit with her doing that thing...you know, where she says what she's actually thinking...was marvelous. I hope to see more of that in the future.