The Great Indoors
Season 1, Episode 1
This is a First Look Review of CBS’ The Great Indoors starring Joel McHale, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Stephen Fry.
Obviously made up job title.
Multi-camera sitcoms are on the way back. Supposedly, anyway. CBS has put its faith in three new shows this season while leaving Life In Pieces all by its lonesome. With the addition of The Great Indoors, a show that would play way better as a single camera comedy, the network has yet another middling show with a big name that should provide easy ratings. However, the show is marred with stereotypically gross negativity of a younger generation.
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a writer that’s used to going on assignment in desolate parts of the Earth, as he is now forced to work out of the office while supervising twentysomethings. This truly inept group is comprised of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Ko, and Shaun Brown. All of this was spearheaded by Stephen Fry’s Roland and his daughter Brooke (Susannah Fielding). While the cast is filled with three huge stars, it doesn’t make use of them effectively. McHale, like a majority of his other roles, seems to just be reading the script as Mintz-Plasse and Fry slip into their characters -- even if they’re given nothing to do. The three are the best on the show and even if they were to save it, that script isn’t doing them any favors.
Jokes about the “millennial” generation swarm every other line of dialogue as if the writer/creator Mike Gibbons had a grudge against them. Lines about everyone getting a trophy for just competing or how one can’t say “gay” without seeming homophobic or people getting a podcast without having anything important to talk about are a few of the lame duck pot shots Gibbons targets (and you’d better believe producers were trigger happy with that audience laughter button). Although, there are decent knocks at sites like BuzzFeed and Vice with their "Top 5" lists. With the script being below par, however, the direction from Andy Ackerman is somewhat substantial enough to give a depth of feel to the show. That coupled with the labyrinthian set design of the office gives this show a layered look. A shot of Fry and McHale walking down the hallway -- out of shot from the audience -- that leads to the main area is, simply put, absorbing.
The idea that these kids aren’t doing anything of worth to McHale’s Jack and that they’re lazy, promotion wanting, emotional wrecks sets this show on the wrong track. For better or worse, the three characters Ko, Mintz-Plasse and Brown portray are representative of an entire generation; my generation. To say, or rather joke, that they’re all undeserved of their future works is downright immoral. Gibbons’ lethargic look at the latest generation needs to be broadened. Even if it’s for a sitcom, it’s going to be hard to make this stereotype viable past a hopeful 22 episode season.
Should you watch The Great Indoors?
While the cast is competent and the behind the scenes is almost as equal, the show concept itself is tired and banal. Older viewers don’t need to have their beliefs reupped. If younger viewers wanted to be berated for a few bad qualities not representative of the whole, then they could have a conversation with said older generation. The Great Indoors is better suited for a single camera lens while having McHale learn how wrong he is about the kids. CBS found another dud.