Just like the adorable baby girl whose birth set the series in motion, it's been fun to watch how Up All Night has grown and changed over the course of its first year of life. When it premiered in September, it was a comedy about how a free-spirited married couple adjusts to the responsibilities of child-rearing. But last night's season finale perfectly illustrated what the show has morphed into since the pilot: a female-driven workplace sitcom that gets more comic mileage out of the adult relationships at the office rather than the parent/child stuff at home. (That the baby's most significant bit of screentime last night came in the post-credits teaser indicates just how much the show's focus has shifted.)
It's nice to remember that sometimes the TV Gods giveth as well as taketh away. On the same day NBC mildly disappointed us by announcing the premature end of the The Playboy Club, they warmed our hearts by mentioning that they were granting the Christina Applegate/Will Arnett comedy Up All Night a full season pickup. (They also dropped the bomb that they were going to inflict an entire season of Whitney on us, but we choose to ignore that news in the hopes it will just go away.) Granted, the full season order isn't that big a surprise; since its September 14 premiere, Up All Night has been one of the network's few bright spots, winning strong reviews from critics (including us) and solid (particularly for NBC) ratings. And as last night's very funny episode showed, the series has been growing creatively as well. Here are the five reasons we think Up All Night is clicking with viewers and earned its renewal.
Full disclosure: My wife and I had our second child in January, so we're very familiar with the situation new parents Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) find themselves in at the top of the new NBC sitcom, Up All Night, which premiered last night. In real life, we have argued over which one of us was up longer with the baby, we have let slip an inappropriate curse word or two (or three, or four, or five) around the kid, and we have dealt with the difficulty of balancing work life and family life. Watching all of those moments played out onscreen, it was almost as if we were watching versions of ourselves from several months ago, before the crawling, the babbling and the sleeping through the night (that's right Reagan and Chris... it does happen). And, for us at least, that authenticity made the show that much funnier. To be honest, I have no idea how Up All Night will play with non-parents; all I know is that the pilot made us laugh harder than any other new fall comedy besides New Girl.
Neil Patrick Harris singing about anything is pretty much all it takes to make me happy (see my summer ramblings about Dr. Horrible). We don't lovingly refer to NPH as our patron saint around the office for nothing. He does magic, he can sing, he's Barney, he used to play a doctor on TV. Just all around awesome. So of course I was going to love the latest offering from Funny or Die. They had the amazing Marc Shaiman (he wrote all of those infectiously addictive songs for Hairspray) cook up a special musical number about the Prop 8 controversy. It's a joyful and silly star-studded affair and has succeeded in finally getting me out of my funk.
During its first season, Up All Night seemed to revamp itself every few episodes as it tried to strike the right balance between being a domestic comedy about two new parents and a workplace sitcom set at an Oprah-like daytime talk show. In its second season premiere, the show went through one last (I hope) reboot, abandoning the talk show angle once and for all and bringing it all back home, seemingly for good.
Maya Rudolph made a (mostly) triumphant return to Saturday Night Live over the long weekend, resulting in one of the show's most consistently hilarious episodes in a good long while. Part of that was due to Rudolph's crack comic skills, but you've also got to credit all the other much-loved characters and skits that made a successful reappearance. Here were the night's top five comebacks:
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