John Mulaney was one of the head writers on SNL, which brought some people enjoyment; and for me, my admiration comes from the SNL character Stefan and his stand-up. Since leaving SNL, Mulaney has developed his own self-titled sitcom.
Mulaney has a structure that is now seen as a standard for most shows about a comedian, which consists primarily of snippets of stand-up between breaks. Sadly, that’s possibly the best part of the pilot. But outside of that there is always a center conflict, which remains consistent until the end. The show leaves a blatant hole into further shenanigans from John Mulaney and Martin Short. Also, the introductions feel forced with poor jokes and basic delivery.
The show stars John Mulaney, Seaton Smith, Nasim Pedrad, Martin Short, and Zack Pearlman. Throughout the episode I witnessed a few common traits with each character that are very derivative of most sitcoms. John Mulaney is the very eccentric go-getter. Seaton Smith is the dimwitted ladies’ man who is also supposed to be funny, and he is a slight highlight. Nasim Pedrad is bitchy, but has a kind heart. Martin Short is the annoying game show host who’s trying to restart his career. While Zack is just that guy who’s going to give one of the lamest catchphrases I have ever heard. These traits are very common, from what I’ve seen, and now you really don’t know what else you can do that’s actually new.
The writing doesn’t seem coherent or stable, as it progresses like everything they say will eventually lead to a joke, but sadly that doesn’t happen. Mulaney is a great writer, but it seems he doesn’t really have a set formula for a sitcom, since he’s usually hitting the same beats. Martin Short plays it over-the-top. What I’m really trying to get at is that the show seems to have these characters awkwardly placed in the setting, and they never really give me a reason to care.
On the other hand, Louie is more intricate and doesn’t abide by most tropes. It’s bad to contrast the two, but Mulaney doesn’t really seem like something that will last. Since it’s on FOX, I only fear the worst. FOX has been prone to cancel a lot after a first season, unless it’s animation or on a Tuesday/Thursday. The show is all over the place, while trying to be self-aware like Seinfeld. My recommendation: skip it.