I just finished watching the new NBC comedy Up All Night, and though repeat viewings might reveal plot holes and problematic jokes (it is a network sitcom, after all), I absolutely loved it. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are terrific as Reagan and Chris, a completely charming married couple who support one another but aren’t too sappy or perfect, and Maya Rudolph is hysterical as Reagan’s boss Ava, the Oprah-esque talk show host with a flair for the dramatic. I may be speaking a bit too soon since I’ve only seen one episode, but color me psyched about this show. (Yep, I said color me psyched. That’s how psyched I am.)
Don’t trust the promos: It’s not really about a baby.
One of Up All Night’s standout qualities (beyond the aforementioned and all-too-rare supportive married couple, of which I am a fan) is that even though it features a baby, it’s not a show about a baby. In an interview in last week’s Entertainment Weekly, show creator Emily Spivey was quick to point that out, adding that:
It’s a show about a couple with a baby and how it informs their life. It’s not going to be Full House with a bunch of closeups of babies going ‘Oh man!’ Anybody at any life stage can understand what it’s like when you’re having to reevaluate who you are because of the circumstances you’re in.
Here’s a clip from the pilot where Reagan and Chris decide to do it “old school” for their anniversary:
Though I myself don’t have kids and therefore can’t speak to Up All Night’s portrayal of parenting (for example, I don’t know what it’s like to change a diaper when you have a massive hangover, though it looks awful), I appreciated seeing Reagan and Chris make decisions—for instance, he leaves his job to stay home with their baby and she returns to work full-time—and live with the results. They aren’t glossing over the responsibilities of parenthood (from my armchair position, anyway) but they aren’t exaggerating the shittiness of it for laughs, either. Instead, the laughs are coming from smart humor and a great cast—who knew you could have a sitcom about a married couple with a baby and leave out the spit-up and the jokes about how the wife and the husband secretly can’t stand each other?
So far, Up All Night strikes me as a show that’s going for a realistic-with-a-shiny-twist vibe, and I’m already looking forward to the next episode.
Did you watch the pilot? What did you think?