Tag Archives: Hank Azaria

judgement call: free agents

At one point during the premiere last night Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Anthony Head’s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) characters make a joke about how long Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddy Prinze Jr.’s marriage has lasted. For Buffy fans we essentially watched Giles, albeit a bright LA-color wearing version, briefly mention the actress that played Buffy (or at least that’s how it played out for me).

That was the only high point for me during this otherwise awkward 30-minute episode. I rooted hard for Kath and Kim and I didn’t like the Office (or Creed) at first, so I’m understandably less than confident when it comes to picking winners for NBC comedies. But I feel pretty comfortable with saying I didn’t really like this pilot episode.

Similar to the plot, the theme song sounds like something fresh from 90s NBC programming. Unlike the slightly less cheerful British original, the U.S. version plays out like a workplace rom-com. Alex (Azaria) and Helen (Step Brothers’ Kathryn Hahn) have a one-night stand because he’s emo and divorced and she’s newly widowed (I’m assuming if your fiancé dies you can still be a widow) and looking for an escape. They have the usual hijinks that come from such things, all the while dealing with a cast of “zany” coworkers. They don’t really have the sexual chemistry to push that predictable a storyline, which is disappointing, because if they’d been written as opposite-sex besties (as I originally hoped) it might have a chance.

I don’t see this show being cancelled immediately because:

  1. It comes on after the much funnier Up All Night.
  2. Outsourced lasted a full season and based on the pilot episode alone, Free Agents is a wayyyyy better show than that.
  3. I don’t really understand a lot of NBC’s choices sometimes, so it would make sense that this would be a show they hold on to.

I’ll give it another viewing next week at least. Hopefully in that time they transition from painful, The Situation roasting Donald Trump awkward to funny, Awkward awkward.


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