It was The Good Place‘s demonic Shawn who mentioned he took the type of a white man for a purpose: He might “solely fail up.” Ted Danson is a great distance from the Good Place in NBC’s Mr. Mayor, however he performs a person who has positively failed up. In his profession. Not, sadly, within the high quality of the present.
Mr. Mayor, premiering Thursday, stars Danson as Neil Bremer, newly elected mayor of Los Angeles. A former out of doors promoting bigwig (consider him because the Don Draper of Nurse Jackie billboards), Bremer got here out of retirement to run for mayor seemingly on a whim, although he ultimately admits it was actually to impress his teenage daughter, Orly (Kyla Kenedy), a plan that critically backfired. Orly is horrified he gained. So, too, is new chief of workers Mikaela (Vella Lovell), the PR wiz who put him right here and now has to make the most effective of it.
In brief, Neil has no thought what he is doing. The issue is that the present would not both. Created by Tina Fey and her 30 Rock co-showrunner Robert Carlock, Mr. Mayor hasn’t discovered whether or not it likes native authorities — or folks normally. Within the first two episodes made accessible to critics, the tone veers inconsistently between Veep‘s political cynicism and Parks and Recreation‘s light amusement with all that pink tape. It is not at all times clear whether or not we’re meant to care in regards to the characters or simply chuckle at their inflated egos.
If the writing have been funnier, possibly its muddled tone can be simpler to forgive. There is a contact of 30 Rock‘s off-the-wall weirdness in a few of its greatest jokes, however Mr. Mayor — which was initially meant to be a New York-set spin-off for Alec Baldwin‘s Jack Donaghy — feels most like 30 Rock when it goals its humorousness on the improper targets. The pilot takes on cancel tradition with all of the nuance of Mr. Bean weighing in on cancel culture. The whole lot is problematic now! it shrugs, and stops there. “Did you submit the black sq. on Instagram?” Holly Hunter‘s Arpi Meskimen asks Neil. “Both means, how dare you.” As Arpi, a self-righteous, granola-crunching metropolis councilwoman, Hunter is trapped in a horrible wig and saddled with a thankless function as Mr. Mayor‘s activist punching bag. Whether or not Mr. Mayor ultimately will get kinder or extra caustic, it isn’t going to determine itself out till it figures out Arpi.
Orly, a satire of Gen Z wokeness, would not fare significantly better, however at the very least there’s heat within the Bremers’ father-daughter relationship, which has the potential to turn into the center of the present. When Neil and Orly drop their masks round one another, they’re candy. (These are metaphorical masks; Mr. Mayor is ready in a timeline the place COVID-19 existed however has been eradicated as a result of “Dolly Parton purchased everybody a vaccine.”) As for the sitcom legend on the heart of the present, Danson’s tackle Neil is mainly a repeat of the well-meaning however clueless fish-out-of-water act he perfected on The Good Place. The truth that he is so inherently likable makes it more durable for the present to skewer his privilege, however he is enjoyable to observe, discovering humor in traces that would not be humorous in anybody else’s mouth.
In case you’re a single-issue sitcom viewer, possibly that is sufficient. Even when it isn’t but as humorous correctly, and even when one thing in regards to the present makes me embarrassed to confess this, I did chuckle — greater than as soon as! — at Mr. Mayor. A handful of guffaws and a first-rate solid may assist the brand new comedy fail up in its first time period. But when it needs a shot at reelection, Mr. Mayor must discover out what it stands for.
TV Information score: 2/5
Mr. Mayor premieres Thursday, Jan. 7 at 8/7c on NBC.