LA to Vegas First Look Review

LA to Vegas.jpg

Chad White

LA to Vegas
“Pilot”
Season 1, Episode 1
Fox

This is a First Look Review of Fox’s LA to Vegas starring Kim Matula, Ed Weeks, Nathan Lee Graham, Peter Stormare and Dylan McDermott.

You leave Madonna out of this!

Pilots are hard. And so is piloting. Fox’s AL to Vegas hopes to be the next pilot you watch. Terrible reaches in logic aside, LA to Vegas hits a lot of good notes and a lot of bad ones in its initial premiere. There are a log of cliché lines of dialogue but American Housewife seemed to survive past that. It’s not terribly coherent but neither was the leap from season one of Fresh Off the Boat to the narration-less, ultimately better later seasons. And the cast all dealing within the confines of a plane let alone an airport or two may not provide enough variety for story but The Good Place manages to do that very thing. What LA to Vegas lacks in this first episode is something these shows have by the caseload.

Kim Matula stars as Ronnie, a tired Jackpot Airlines flight attendant who wants out of the dead end LA to Vegas flight path. When she doesn’t get her coveted position at Delta, all seems to be lost. She quits her job mid-flight and declares herself better than the people she’s now forced to ride with. Her co-workers include the catty Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham) and brash Captain Dave (Dylan McDermott). Their traits aren’t shown to be more than “stereotypical gay” (see the subhead) and jerkass idiot.

With this being an ensemble of sorts, of course it was going to be hard for writer/creator Lon Zimmet to establish everyone in neatly. But for 22 minutes, not a lot was introduced and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much more than the first offering. Take the stripper character Nichole whose punchlines include offering other female characters positions at the club in which she works. If she never evolved beyond that, no one would be surprised. Or Peter Stormare’s disgustingly crude but friendly gambling addict Artem who bets with others based on the comic situations on the plane. Zimmet played these character’s cards almost immediately and it’s not looking good for the rest of the season.

Yet there are a lot of good jokes in the episode. Bernard is funny as is Captain Dave as the two shuttle their scenes along in a way Matula’s Ronnie struggles with. And it’s nice to see Ed Weeks outside of an ultra-comedic environment like The Mindy Project even though his character on that show had way more going on in one sentence than the one he’s playing here. The appearance of Kether Donahue as Weeks’s wife along with the possibility of more cameo appearances could breathe new life into a tired “will they/won’t they” dynamic he and Matula are forced to share. 

Should you watch LA to Vegas?

There’s not much to say about this show. You’ve seen every aspect of it here before save for the plane setting. Still, it’s novel enough that the regular tropic nature of sitcom storytelling could be utilized differently here. What does LA to Vegas lack? The heart. It feels hollow from start to finish. It's as if someone had a bunch of jokes involving pilots and wrote a script around it. But with the relatively young ensemble, promise of new characters LA to Vegas could fly.