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The Telefile
<I>The Crazy Ones</I>: Mork and Buffy Meet <I>Mad Men</I>

We weren't sure what to expect from this Robin Williams/Sarah Michelle Gellar show. Could SMG be funny? Would Robin Williams be in his manic Aladdin genie role? Would we want to watch a show about advertising that wasn't Mad Men? Would we want to watch more episodes if Kelly Clarkson wasn't in them?

These burning questions are mostly answered in the pilot: SMG isn't what you'd call funny, but she plays a pretty solid straight (wo)man. Robin Williams is a little bit manic, but it's well-controlled. It turns out that there is room for another ad series in our lives, particularly since we get to deal with more current products being sold with current technology. And having Mad Men alum James Wolk make the transition to this show doesn't hurt. As for the Kelly Clarkson factor, we'd love it if she could be a frequent guest, but the appeal of the show isn't entirely lost without her around.

The gist of this comedy is that Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are father and daughter and run an ad agency. Simon (Williams) is an ad genius, coming up with brilliant sales pitches off the top of his head, while Sydney (Gellar) seems to be mostly in charge of keeping the ship running in the proper direction. The dilemma in the pilot centers around them nearly losing their client McDonald's, but with his fast talking, they come up with a way to stall the fast-food giant in order to make another pitch. One that involves snagging Kelly Clarkson and getting her to sing about gross hamburgers.

Sydney takes the reigns as the responsible one, while Simon and his ego spend more time playing. It seems like this role-reversed parent-child relationship is going to be at the crux of this show. And thankfully, seeing SMG act wise beyond her years actually plays into her wheelhouse, though she definitely struggled in going toe-to-toe with someone larger than life like Williams. Their dynamic is the facet of the show that needs work, but we're willing to give it time to develop.

Wolk, who desperately wanted to be more involved at Sterling Cooper & Partners, gets his chance here as Zach the adorable copywriter. He and Williams seem responsible for the lion's share of the comedy, and in the pilot, Wolk shows that he can have great chemistry with anyone, from Williams to Clarkson. Even Mindy Project refugee Amanda Stanton gets in a few good lines as the office assistant -- she's not the most original character, but she's better utilized here than she was over on Mindy.

The pilot felt a little slow, mostly because of the need to establish all of the relationships, but there is definitely a lot of potential there. With quite a few familiar television stars returning to sitcoms this fall (Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes), this is the one that actually has the best shot at making us laugh all season. And when in doubt, a well-placed "Nanu Nanu" probably couldn't hurt.

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