Super Fun Night 1×12 ‘Hostile Makeover’: Timing

Source: ABC

So I’m starting to get a handle on what Super Fun Night‘s assets are, and it’s a little problematic because it’s two things that pretty much run headlong into each other. On the one hand, I want say that the annoying aspects of the show are the parts that are carbon copies of the live action cartoons that have dominated quality American sitcoms for the past decade or so, but on the other hand the parts the scan as a traditional sitcom are flat boring and unfunny. The truly entertaining parts of tonight’s episodes all revolved around the cartoonish chemistry of Ash, Lapira, Wilson, and the random actors the populate the highly cartoonish universe of Super Fun Night, but those parts are hamstrung by the mindless use of interlude cuts, which are calling to mind less the wit of a 30 Rock and more the lazy reference comedy of Family Guy.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

This cast has great chemistry, aside from Jenkinson and Bishop who either have no comedic chops or are actively tanking this season presumably under the assumption that low quality will lead to a high draft pick to replace them next season. The B plot, which pretty much just consisted of Lapira and Ash (who is kind of a revelation, what Canadian septic town did she appear out of?) bouncing off each other while Riki Lindhome of Garfunkel and Oates and an interchangable blonde actress with severe vocal fry essentially play discarded Kroll Show characters. The jokes are mostly boilerplate, but they land for the most part and there’s a subtle insistance in sticking to the corniness of the plot that really sells it. Building a repertory around the main cast is always a safe bet.

And while Fred Armison’s role wasn’t as successful (and highly derivative of the inimitable Geoffrey Weinerslave), his timing and mild desperation sold it, after the fashion of so many of his Portlandia characters. The A plot he was in was boring as all hell and was basically the sitcomiest sitcom plot to ever sitcom plot. What’s-her-face is angry at Kimmie because of reasons and contrivances, so they have to get together to work through their feelings and overcome her prickly nature so she can become more like Kimmie. English dude basically dicks around on the sidelines and be mildly creepy; his blase behavior makes it easy to forget that the two women are basically fighting about him. It’s okay though, because he can do a passable Johnny Depp!

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

It isn’t required that all post-Seinfeld sitcoms be “no hugging, no learning,” but Super Fun Night is a show that could really use that kind of ethos. It has an anarchic impulse at its core that doesn’t dovetail too well with Ice Lawyer learning to be a better person, and a freeweeling explorer impulse that shouldn’t require tying itself down to office comedy for steady plots. Maybe Super Fun Night is still finding its feet, but these ruins of 90s television are making it difficult to find the funny at its core. There’s probably a very funny show here, but it’s trying to be a different kind of show, and Ally McBeal of all shows is still beating it on both fronts. Aim there, Rebel Wilson.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Man, these murder gags are not funny. Can you get diminishing returns on zero?
  • This Mr. Fahrenheit inspired theme song is atrocious.
  • Wow, that was like a lame version of the Jenna Maroney secretly doing Kegels joke.
  • For some reason I’m really surprised whenever Riki Lindhome shows up. Like “oh yeah, actress, right.”


John M.

works for a legal newspaper in Baltimore and lives within three blocks of Tilghman Middle, the alley where Omar and Brother Mouzone have their showdown, and Pearson’s Florists. He enjoys putting his liberal arts degree to good use by watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of internet. He occasionally blogs (about Dawson’s Creek) on tumblr.


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