I've been watching 'Up All Night' since it started this fall. The premise is definitely one I can get behind: hip young couple has a baby. Watch as they try to maintain coolness and fail mightily. I adore Maya Rudolph, love Christina Applegate (her wee one was born not long before my own, so I feel a particular kinship with her...plus, anyone who can have a successful career after beginning as Kelly Bundy has serious chops if you ask me), and am all about TV that doesn't require a lot of thinking, just laughing.
But this show doesn't do it for me. Here's why:
Reason 1: Where is the baby? This is a show about new parents, and Amy (the baby) is on screen almost never. Reagan (Applegate's character) comes home from work late, panics to have missed bedtime, but doesn't sneak into the bedroom to kiss her or check to make sure she's breathing (S is 8 months and we still do this). In a recent episode, the parents leave Amy on the front steps as they prepare to drive off. I'm not relying on Up All Night to provide a true-to-life account of parenthood, but a little more focus on the kid couldn't hurt.
Reason 2: These parents are NOT up all night. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, readers, but there's only been one episode when Amy awoke in the night, and Reagan's MOM was the one to wake up and soothe the bean back to sleep.
Reason 3: There's something that makes me uncomfortable about the role reversal in Reagan and Chris's relationship. He takes fashion advice from a friend to get Reagan to dress better around the house (leading to sex); he feels fat and bloated after dinner (so is uninterested in sex); she's aggressive and a workaholic (reason 3a: her nonchalant assertion that her work-life balance needs to tip in favor of the latter was unbelievable BS). I can't pinpoint it, but there's a stereotyping or a sexism here (or the ferocious attempt at avoiding this) that's hovering just beneath the surface, and it bugs me. Or it could just be...
Reason 4: This show makes me like Will Arnett less. I know, it's sad to type that sentence, but it's true. I loved Arrested Development and Arnett was obviously a highlight of the show. But Up All Night requires him to play a pretty one-note character (a rarely-funny, sissified version of the stay at home dad...aren't there any stay at home dads who, you know, maintain some semblance of manliness?) and the result falls flat for me.
Reason 5: After two months, I still can't tell what this show is about. A lot of screen time is devoted to following the antics of Ava (Rudolph's dense, self-obsessed, and hilarious character), and the rest of the show is a mish-mash of Reagan, Chris, their sex life, their neighbors, and their preening. There's not a lot here to hang onto -- I can't even honestly say the show is about two new parents trying to define themselves as such (See reasons 1 and 2).
All that said, I'm still watching, still waiting for this phenomenal cast to come together and entertain my pants off. That's right...I said it.
Filed under: Parenting