by Bethany McHugh
The problem I have with “Up All Night” is that there are rarely any moments on an episode-to-episode basis where I’m even chuckling, and I can’t remember the last time I burst out laughing at any of the situations that the protagonists found themselves in. Possibly because the show is too new, but there are no “quotable” moments thus far that I can recall and say, “Wasn’t it so funny when…?”or “No, the best scene was when Reagan…” This need to stay in the lexicon is what a comedy thrives on. It’s what gives the audience reason to come back week after week, and “UAN” is lacking that driving force.
That being said, Will Arnett not only continually makes the most out of the material that he is given, but also is able to do so much in the little moments elevating each episode above what it would otherwise be. When Chris is put in charge of the playgroup, his fun demeanor changes to serious and responsible so quickly it could give a person whiplash. When the writing team steps up their game and produce work at the level he operates at, I believe Arnett could be a serious contender for an acting Emmy.
Furthermore, Christina Applegate was center stage, right where she should be, in this storyline. Trying to divide time between work and motherhood, Reagan finds herself in a rivalry with the stay-at-home parents of her daughter’s playgroup. Her desire to be the best parent she can be while maintaining her friendship with Ava comes at a price – watching her sanity unravel is quite amusing.
“Up All Night,” as I have said since my first review, has a pleasant plot that could rise to extraordinary heights. With the recent full season pick-up, I hope the writers will raise the stakes and take some risks. They could up the wow factor, I suppose, but they need to do something. Receiving a full season pick-up doesn’t mean they can skim by for the rest of the season – this was the kiss of death for last year’s cancelled NBC comedy “Outsourced.” I’m keeping faith with this one, though. I just hope it’s not misplaced.
Bethany McHugh is a contributing writer. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org