WHAT: New NBC sitcom pilot with a hot comic on his way up and a formerly hot comic that's not so much on his way up.
WHO: Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, John Oliver, others you probably don't know yet
WHEN: This Fall at some point
SYNOPSIS: After years of toiling away on the E! network and appearing as your favorite Spider-Man 2 cameo, Joel McHale has finally appeared in a pilot which got picked up. In the laugh track-free Community, McHale plays a lawyer with a bogus law degree, and now he has to go back to college so he can go back to his lawyer-like ways. Along the way he meets people and finds a girl he'd like to bang. Will his attempt at making a fake Spanish study group get him some action, or will he be cock-blocked by Chevy Chase like so many before him?
SO HOW WAS IT: After hearing about the abortion that was the US I.T. Crowd pilot, it's great to see the host of E!'s The Soup get a chance at a starring role in a major network sitcom. While this one isn't a localization of a British show, it does feel like a TV version of a movie you've seen many, many times before.
The pilot itself looks like it has promise, but nothing really stands out-- McHale plays a greasy lawyer type which is a spin on the Dangerfield role in movies like Back to School, and The Daily Show's Oliver shines as the corrupt college official. Aside from the back-and-forth game of blackmail which drives the story forward, there's not much going on here other than brief character introductions on very few sets.
While it's difficult to fully judge a show based on its pilot, some recent greats like Newsradio and Arrested Development had top-notch first episodes that kicked open the door to wonderful characters right off the bat. This felt more like a movie that more or less resolved itself and didn't necessarily leave me wanting to spend more time with any of these people. Perhaps zany schemes and crazy capers await, but other than a "will they or won't they" romantic subplot there's not a lot to look forward to other than years of studying and hard work. In other words, exactly the kinds of things you aspire toward in a good comedy!