"Making History" First Look Review: Hamming it up through time

Chad White

Making History
“Pilot”
Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of Fox’s Making History starring Adam Pally, Yassir Lester, and Leighton Meester.

Those soldiers come in, steal a woman's best ham.

Fox is struggling to properly schedule its comedy shows. With Bones in its final season and seemingly no perfect night to air all of its reserve series, the network opts to have what used to be Animation Domination circumvented with thirteen episodes of a show that could easily fly on Tuesday night nest to New Girl and Brooklyn Nine Nine. Instead, they premiere mid mid-season in a time slot that Bob’s Burgers could easily survive in (most of the time, Last Man on Earth gets pushed for MONTHS because Fox can’t nail down a schedule). These shows aren’t bad -- far from it. But, Fox, get your shit together.

All of this is to say that the premiere of Making History could’ve been handled better. It’s a funny show with the same producers as LMOE and two leading guys who excel comedy wise. But the story takes a turn before it heads down a predictable road. Pally plays Dan, a boor of a college campus maintenance man. He’s been sneaking off to the late 1700’s because it’s a period of time where people consider him cool. He’s dating a beautiful woman (Leighton Meester’s Deborah who is later revealed to be Paul revere’s daughter), John Hancock and Sam Adams are his friends, and ham can get him out of any sticky situation. It isn’t until Dan notices changes in the timeline that he seeks the aid of professor Chris (Yassir Lester) to correct his mistakes.

The best possible avenue for a show like this is for the characters to instantly believe that time travel is entirely possible. Should they fester on the very idea that anyone can go on a jaunt to the past would only slow down the story. Chris almost immediately trusts Dan -- save for the obvious first objections -- and so does Deborah. But the real charm of the show comes from its past residents.

In the pilot, Sam Adams and John Hancock are portrayed by John Gemberling and Neil Casey with Brett Gelman taking up the role of a dour Paul Revere. They’re just as goofy and tricky as any modern day character. But they’re also equally tricked as seen with Chris’s rousing “show me the money!” speech. The script from creator Julius Sharpe flows well enough but the episode can be as stilted as any other comedy pilot. As with most other shows, only time will tell where the story goes. It’s promising, however, as the premiere ends with a reveal that Chris died in the American Revolution. There are also an abundance of spoken movie and TV show cliches ("Do the Bartman!). Be aware of that.

Should you watch Making History?

I like the show and the promise of the story. I just hate Fox’s scheduling. The Mick (whose premiere month sometimes had two episodes a week) , Son of Zorn, and Making History are great; they just need their own time to breathe. Besides that, I can’t wait to see which actors pop up as historical figures.