TV Review: ‘Undateable’

Undateable NBC TV Review

Tossed out as summer filler, it’s interesting that “Undateable” was birthed during the same development season as “About a Boy,” suggesting NBC was particularly enamored with adult versions of Peter Pan this year — men who, through their libertine ways, steadfastly refuse to grow up. Yet instead of mentoring a young boy, the protagonist here takes in a buttoned-up roommate and his motley crew of friends, ostensibly to create tension between the wide-eyed believer in true romance and the guy who considers cooking breakfast too much of a commitment. Sporadically funny, this Bill Lawrence production is unpretentious, but ultimately tedious.

The modest twist, such as it is, is that the series follows a semi-serialized story as its sort-of spine, in which bar owner Justin (comic Brett Morin, in his first role) has an unspoken but very obvious crush on his alluring bartender (“Ground Floor’s” Briga Heelan), which he expresses childishly — for instance, by repeatedly pretending to bump into her as they cross the room.

His new roommate, meanwhile, Danny (Chris D’Elia, late of “Whitney,” and generally the best thing in the bad sitcoms he’s been in), has sort of run out of friends as they gradually pair off and settle down; still, he steadfastly refuses to change his ways, and takes it upon himself to provide lothario guidance to Justin, who he somewhat obnoxiously refers to as “Baby Bird.”

Justin’s trio of nerdy friends (Ron Funches, Rick Glassman, David Fynn) and Danny’s divorced, desperate-for-a-date sister (Bianca Kajlich) round out the company, giving rise to all manner of silliness. Yet Justin’s quest to woo the bartender at least offers the show a touch of cohesion, though it doesn’t provide her with much of an arc, other than being the object (understandably) of his attention.

The friends are an obvious device, but a decidedly well-worn one, and it’s not like there’s a shortage of socially awkward dweebs running around TV, many of them with actual characters in more fully fleshed out programs.

Mostly, the show functions best, when it functions at all, as a vehicle for D’Elia, who, like “Boy’s” David Walton, appears to be one of those actors NBC – and indeed, the extended sitcom world – is convinced will break out if afforded enough opportunities.

They might very well be right, but “Undateable’s” at-best intermittent charms — dumped, without much ceremony, with back-to-back episodes post-Memorial Day — don’t seem like the most hospitable environment to forge such a love connection.

TV Review: 'Undateable'

(Series; NBC, Thurs. May 29, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Doozer in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Bill Lawrence, Adam Sztykiel, Jeff Ingold, John Quaintance; co-executive producer, Courtney Lilly; producers, Craig Doyle, Randall Winston; director, Scott Ellis; writer, Sztykiel; camera, Gregg Heschong; production designer, Cabot McMullen; editor, John Michel; music, Waz-Jackson; casting, Debby Romano, Brett Benner. 60 MIN.

Cast

Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches, Rick Glassman, David Fynn, Bianca Kajlich, Briga Heelan

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  1. B.c. says:

    Undateable is Unwatchable. It’s such a shallow, flimsy concept – it’s painful. The decent actors and writers are forced into a unfunny concept that pales in comparison to other friends/misfits shows. Why spend your time on this bad date!?!
    I guess NBC will soon send a break up text to this show.

    • gian grant says:

      I am tried of nepotism; if some cast member wasn’t a relative of bill elia this show would be gone.

  2. Theadore says:

    This show SUCKS!

  3. craig says:

    This show is so bad it won’t last a season.

  4. JessicaD. says:

    The writing for this show is reminiscent of friends. The timing of the jokes are perfect! You haven’t even stopped laughing from one joke before you’re in almost hysteria from another. I find my self rewinding because I’ve missed something from laughing so much. The cast seems like a great mix and they mesh well together.

    The only negative complaints I have is

    1) In every episode Danny does something and everyone comes to talk to him about what a horrible person he is. Lighten up! It’s a comedy!

    2) The show needs to be digitally remastered for better quality! In other words, brighten up the set! Don’t be scared of color. It’s our friend…..

    I would certainly give it four out of five stars.

  5. Scotty says:

    Quick review: Unwatchable. Too easy?

  6. Jamie says:

    So if Justin doesn’t hook-up with the bartender, [a.k.a. Hot Girl who you didn’t bother to name because objection don’t really need a name just a description, right?], will he go on a rampage and shoot up the place? And if nameless Hot Girl bartender doesn’t put out for her boss, will she still have a job? And since he is not a child I wouldn’t call his “repeatedly pretending to bump into her as they cross the room” a childish expression of his affection. I’d call it harassment. Yes, NBC, this sounds like comedy gold! Keep up the must see TV!

  7. Brian Laverte says:

    Thoroughly hated this premiere. There are FAR too many race jokes. What does the producer and writers have against black males? Simply absurd and sickening. I hope this thing tanks, along with reviewers who obviously find nasty race jokes to be hilarious…

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