31
Oct
2011
Allen Gregory: Season 1, Episode 1
Pilot
Rachel
Allen Gregory

I am a pretentious person. It's really just a fact. I'm not asking you to tell me otherwise, dear readers. In fact, if you really know me, you're not going to try to make me feel any other way (really, if you know me well, chances are you're all least partially pretentious, too). That being said, I have a special soft spot for pretentious things: literary theory, Thought Catalog, overly-referential pieces of pop culture.

Allen Gregory is full of the kind of pretentious, referential humor that is really hard to do properly. Except, you know, it doesn't really do it properly. The closest thing I can think of to compare this brand of humor to would be Community, but Allen Gregory takes it about 30 times too far, and basically just had me scoffing for the entire 21 minutes of the pilot.

Basic story. Fox has had some pretty good performances from its cartoons, and it's looking to keep that streak going with Allen Gregory, starring Jonah Hill as Allen Gregory DeLongpre, the titular, prodigious, annoying as shit main character. Allen Gregory (never just Allen, always Allen Gregory), has two dads, Richard DeLongpre , clearly the one with the more successful sperm, and Keremy (Nat Faxon), much maligned and under appreciated, clearly the trophy spouse in the situation, apparently with abs like suede. Richard and Jeremy have recently adopted a Cambodian girl (who sounds more Canadian than Cambodian, as voiced by Joy Osmanski), but Allen Gregory remains the apple of his eye. Except that Richard, who apparently has some family money, has lost it all, requiring that Jeremy go back to work (even though Richard tries to maintain that it's all for Jeremy's own personal growth) and Allen Gregory go to real school for the first time in his seven years. This all comes out at a party planned for the overly-indulged Allen Gregory during a party for his fake Tony nomination.

Allen Gregory is a disgustingly selfish child, super intelligent but pompous and flamboyant and, have I mentioned, annoying as hell. His ostentatious behavior almost immediately passes from off-beat and adorable to completely unpalatable. Hostility for Jeremy and Julie, is overwhelmingly annoying, as is his insane pretension. It goes well past cute into full on impossible. I'm not a naturally violent person, and I'm generally a big fan of kids, but this precocious ankle-biter really just needs a swift smack to the side of his head.

I'm also slightly disturbed by the idea of a seven-year-old having elaborate sexual fantasies about sexagenarians and drinking "a little pinot grig with lunch." Richard, the creepy dad voiced by French Stewart, is basically an emotionally abusive sugar daddy whose creepy sexual advances towards Jeremy I find more unabashedly disturbing than humorous in an even incredibly off-colored way.

Maybe they tried to front load the show by filling the pilot with this heartless pretension, and the characters will improve, the comedy will get less gratingly annoying, and I'll learn to care. But I sort of doubt it. This is probably why I love Principle Gottlieb (Renee Taylor): she is the only person who appears on screen who isn't willing to, in some way, feed into Allen Gregory's bullshit.

That Julie winds up getting what she needs by turning Allen Gregory's own overwhelming pretension against him is the only redeeming factor of the entire pilot. Julie also apparently mentions to Jeremy that the kids were picking on Allen Gregory. I like the idea that these two outcasts in the DeLongpre family, also the two bearable members of the DeLongpre family, are in cahoots, and will eventually assert their power.

The flat Bones joke towards the end of the episode is a pretty solid example of the show's self-satisfied douche-baggary. It's Fox making a little "look at how cool I am" joke, one that isn't fun or funny. I imagine this show has the ability to recycle the same five jokes for about half a season and then, hopefully, the plug will get pulled before this atrocity gets strung along for a Family Guy style run.


Grade: D

The Little Things

"I'm gonna level with you"¦it's like post-Katrina."

"How old is she? Eight? Nine?" "I'd say she's comfortably in her late sixties."

Ok fine, some of these lines are actually funny. But it's like nestling top-of-the-line chocolates in a giant pile of bear crap

Will Forte, why are you wasting yourself here? You too, Leslie Mann.

"I was surprised by that too, considering my sordid history with the sisters Deschanel."

Tags: Allen Gregory
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