I have nothing but good things to say about this week's Up All Night. It was smart, cute, funny, and charming, and I really enjoyed it. My obvious appreciation for the show might lend this review an air of gushiness, and for that I apologize, but two episodes in, this is almost certainly my favorite show of the new season so far!
This episode starts with our center couple, Reagan and Chris, being adorably weird with one another, as usual. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett are doing a great job of playing this couple as quirky and cute and perfect for one another. Their chemistry is pitch-perfect, which is important seeing as the show hinges on it: were it not for their obvious affection and similarity to one another, much of the comedy here would fall flat. The casting here ensures this show (which might otherwise seem formless) feels like just a slice of pretty hilarious life. The rest of the episode revolves around Chris and Reagan worrying about whether or not they are cool, now that they've had a baby and settled down, which surfaces because of the very hip new couple that moves in across the street.
"Cool Neighbors" is both hilarious and earnest, a great combination for a new sitcom to pull off. The hijinks that ensue as our main couple tries desperately to prove themselves is great for laughs, but the underlying message is what really resonates here. The theme of insecurity and uncertainty about one's relevance that comes with maturation and with responsibility is an interesting one, and one the show handles extremely well here. I imagine it will be a recurring theme throughout this series, so it bodes well that the show can mix the laughs and the pathos so well at this early stage. Chris and Reagan are happy with their baby and their life together, but they're still young, and it makes perfect sense that they'd be worried about their continued cool status, especially considering what we saw last week in terms of their former life. And while the phone in the pocket playing Train bit has definitely been done before, it was still hilarious and still made me laugh out loud. Overall, then, I think the main story from this episode was great, and I was very pleased.
The other plotline of this episode was Ava's anxiety that baby Amy might not like her. This story fit in well with the main one in that both dealt with the new insecurities that surface once babies are introduced in people's lives, whether they are parents or friends of parents. While in this case Ava's self-absorption was the more obvious basis for her concern, I also think the complexity of dealing with huge changes in our friends lives is interesting, and the show is handling that aspect well. Last week Jordan talked about how he felt the story with Chris and Reagan seemed to be on a different show than that with Ava, and I think the show definitely dealt with and remedied that. Throughout this episode, Ava felt much more like a hilarious and welcome supplement to Chris and Reagan's story, rather than like an entirely different concept. The broadness of her character (and the television show she stars in) is toned down and Ava now feels like a completely natural presence in Chris and Reagan's lives, a feeling that is cemented by the casual way she walks in and out of their house without so much as a comment. Maya Rudolph is a capable and hysterical comedienne, and I'm so glad her character is finding a good place within the show.
This show is very good. I love Chris and Reagan, and how they're so weird and perfect together. I love the mix of humor and sweetness. And I love that the show is not afraid to be earnest, eschewing the irony so often discussed in the episode. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.
-Ava at the end with Amy was adorable.
-Nick Cannon doesn't have much to do, but he's not screwing it up, so I guess that's good.
-Chris is so lame. I love it. I'd much prefer to hang out with him and listen to Train than be confused by the neighbor's ugly haircut and androgyny.
-Chris's facebook likes were so hilarious: J Crew at the Grove and Lipitor.
-Seriously, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett are so great. I knew they were great, but the show does such an excellent job of showcasing their greatness. I'm excited for next week!