FOX Broadcasting Co.
The general consensus on The Crazy Ones is that the show is all right. It’s okay. It’s not bad. The issue with those statements is that the show — created by David E. Kelley and starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar — has the components to be more than that. Robin Williams! Buffy! The guy who created Ally McBeal and Picket Fences! Having a group that talented working on a project should equal more than a collective shoulder shrug from the viewing audience. Basically, the outtakes that run over the end credits shouldn’t be the funniest part of the show.
Luckily, the show is only halfway through its first season so there’s still time for it to grow and realize its unfulfilled potential. The key for all involved is to get a little crazier. By embracing the cray-cray, Kelley could have something special instead of something merely pleasant.
Set Robin Free
Williams’ character in the show, advertising executive Simon Roberts, is supposed to be a little bit like the real-life older and wiser actor. But there’s no reason that Simon has to adhere that closely to the Williams of recent years’ responsible lifestyle. Williams is at his best when he’s manic, not when he’s reserved. Simon needs to be put in situations where Williams can be unleashed and bounce around. Neither Kelley nor Williams have to sacrifice the gravitas entirely… the show just needs more Good Morning, Vietnam, and less Patch Adams.
Buffy Meets Ally
Gellar as Simon’s daughter Sydney is your run-of-the-mill stick in the mud. She’s boring, and that’s boring to watch. Kelley needs look no further than his own creative background to find the answer. The show might need Gellar to play the straight arrow center but that doesn’t mean that she has to be dull. Spike in a little of Ally McBeal’s whimsy and see what happens. Having her become obsessed with a video game was a good start, but there needs to be more of that. After all, she’s supposed to be Robin Williams’ daughter… how stiff could she possibly be?
Bring in New Playmates
It genuinely seems like Williams likes his young cast mates. It also seems like he’s stuck being the old man and that’s not fun. While it’s not perfect, Williams perks up when Brad Garrett shows up occasionally as his business partner. Now, Williams needs a friend or two at his own level to come play with him. Having Pam Dawber, the former Mindy to Williams’ Mork, guest star is cute, but she’s not really a comedy equal. Bobcat Goldthwait, Christine Baranski, Nathan Lane, Martin Short, Bill Irwin, Bonnie Hunt… there are a number of former costars or friends that could pop in and provide a spark for Williams. (Just as long as none of them are named Billy Crystal.)
Lose the Romance, Increase the Bromance
The show’s supporting players — Hamish Linklater, James Wolk, and Amanda Setton — have proven to be more than capable, but the romantic subplots bog things down. Linklater’s Andrew has a crush on Sydney. Wolk’s Zach and Setton’s Lauren are friends with benefits. None of it really works. If there are to be love interests, let them come from outside of the ensemble, but it needs to stop hindering workplace comedy. What does work, however, is the byplay between Linklater and Wolk, especially when Williams is involved. Whether he’s working with them or playing them against each other, Williams’ appears to have the most fun when he plays scenes with the two young guys. If storylines that pair Williams with his male counterparts helps him unleash his id, do more of it. After all, when it comes to The Crazy Ones, the crazier the better.