by Bethany McHugh
Usually by the third episode of a new show, a viewer can tell whether to stick with it or move on to greener pastures. With “Up All Night,” we’ve reached the third episode – “Working Late and Working It” – and I don’t know whether I’m in or out. Last week’s episode proved to be such a disappointment, but I was incredibly surprised to find this week pleasantly bearable. This would have been a perfect episode to follow up the pilot, but if the writers can move forward in this positive direction, I’m willing to forget the catastrophe that was “Cool Neighbors.”
Reagan faces another crisis at work, when word comes through the press that Ava’s ex-boyfriend – and former boy band singer – B-Ro (Jorma Taccone of “The Lonely Island”) is engaged. The writers finally seemed to have settled on a direction for Ava, and Rudolph is learning how to play to her strengths. Her breakdowns about how B-Ro is/was her soul-mate, including an unintentionally hilarious music video B-Ro made with her in it, were spot on. B-Ro seems to have cleaned up his act, but Reagan, desperate to prove to Ava that he could never change, invites everyone to drinks. Reagan apologizes to B-Ro, believing she was wrong. When she excuses herself to take a call from Chris and Amy, however, B-Ro tells Ava that she could be less stringent with her money and donate to one of his many charities, even though B-Ro took all of Ava’s money while they were dating. This culminates in a hilarious battle in the parking lot to accompany the many other Youtube videos already viewed during the show.
What is still slightly confusing is the difference between the A and B storylines. Everything seems too cluttered, and there is no signal from the writers as to what story we should receive the most emotional investment. What should always be the A story – at the very least, in the first few episodes – is Reagan, Chris, and baby Amy. And yet, Ava’s plot slightly diminished the story involving the three of them, though I admit only sparingly, as both seemed to have an even number of scenes.
Chris is trying to bring romance back into his marriage, and finds a mentor in friend Reed (Will Forte), who tells him to be “sexy and subtle.” While Chris brings the sexy that night, he fails at the subtly, leaving Reagan incredibly upset because she “just pulled a baby out of (my) stomach” and believes she needs a little more time to recuperate. In the end, Ava reminds her that Chris is “one of the good ones,” and Reagan returns home to an apologetic Chris.
The tag was a special treat, featuring the entire B-Ro/Ava music video, looking strikingly similar to something that would pass for a “Saturday Night Live” “Digital Short,” which is no surprise, as Rudolph was once a cast member and Taccone writes for the show currently, while Lorne Michaels produces both “SNL” and “UAN.”
“Working” showed that everyone is coming into their own, both writers and actors, which, if a powerful fourth episode follows, will hopefully all but ensure that “Up All Night” be added to the list of NBC’s prime-time dominating comedies.