I really wanted to like this show. I’m a fan of John Mulaney, I respect the idea of making an old-school (if you consider 90s “old” which actually really depresses me) and I believe Nasim Pedrad was greatly underrated during her time on SNL. But Mulaney isn’t quite the sum of its parts.
Clearly Mulaney wants to be the next Seinfeld, unfortunately it feels a lot more like a Disney show than a pinnacle of 90s television. If Disney made prostate jokes, anyway. Part of them problem is the stilted delivery most of the actors have adapted, but the bigger problem is the laugh track.
I’m not one of those people who despises laugh tracks on principal and I understand how it was supposed to work for this particular show. However, it was used far too liberally and too often, incorrectly. Adding canned laughter after every line doesn’t make it a joke. It mostly makes it confusing. It’s also counter productive. When you hear gales of laughter in response to something unfunny, it only draws attention to how unfunny it is.
The unfortunate part is that it really could be great. Pedrad, Elliot Gould and Martin Short were all as strong as expected and there were plenty of great lines. Given Mulaney’s stand-up, he has a plethora of material to work with. In fact, his stand-up sprinkled throughout the show were the standout highlights. All he needs to do is figure out how to better translate his brand of comedy into a television show.
Final Verdict: Like its inspiration, Seinfeld, Mulaney might just need a few episodes to hit its stride and become a mega-hit. And wouldn’t you like to be the one telling everyone “I told you so” when it does?
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