(I emphasize that these are first impressions, not a full-fledged review nor a hit-or-miss prediction. Most pilots at this stage of the game are very much works in progress.)
Pros: Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi
Cons: Light on LOL moments, Chevy Chase
I liked these people — or I should say I liked watching these people. I’ll come back for more.
As an alumnus of Pasadena City College (we liked to call it “Caltech-adjacent”), I definitely recognized the truth of the humor in this motley group of characters. I liked the fact that Joel McHale’s lead character, Jeff, is outfitted in an old blazer and the bottom half of an ’80s era running suit, complete with the red racing stripes on the outside of the pant legs.
The pilot seg spends a little too much time for my taste on a convoluted plot that involve’s McHale’s effort to procure test answers from an old acquaintance
whose who is now teaching at the school. But in general I found the half-hour entertaining and intriguing, if not laugh-out-loud funny. It’s obviously shooting for the NBC ensemble feel of “The Office,” so let’s hope this study group comes alive, beyond quirky, during the first semester. Alison Brie of “Mad Men” renown (she played the pampered princess Trudy Campell) gets only a few minutes in the pilot, and she’s very good in them.
Danny Pudi’s fast-talking nerdy genius is fun, but it will wear thin unless Pudi can take it a step further ala Rainn Wilson and Dwight Schrute. I’m sorry to say that Chevy Chase is just a distraction here. His character, a one-time successful businessman who’s enamored, almost Gomez Addams-style, with a young black woman played by Yvette Nicole Brown, doesn’t really ring true, and his presence doesn’t add any zing to the proceedings.