After weeks of promos, Fox’s “Roc” became the first live prime time sitcom since the mid-1950s without a hint that it was indeed live. No mistakes, not even a hint of a misplaced smile–the show went off without a hitch. Now the question is, can they do it 21 more times?
Perhaps a better question would be, do they have to? “Roc” is a cut above standard sitcom fare, in both writing and acting, and has been fairly successful in its timeslot during its first season.
However, the gimmick of doing the show live is sure to attract some extra attention and might ensure that a wider audience sees the show in its second year. (Of course, it’s tape-delayed for the West Coast.)
Roc (Charles S. Dutton) is a garbage collector, a hard-working guy, who’s getting tired of letting his brother Joey (Rocky Carroll) sponge off him. So he and his dad (Carl Gordon) try to find a way to use “tough love” with Joey.
Meanwhile, it’s Roc’s wife’s birthday. Eleanor (Ella Joyce) at first resists the efforts to get tough with Joey, but eventually gives in.
Unfortunately, Dad’s best effort to make sure his sons remain friends ends up spoiling the birthday party, in the show’s only cliched plot twist.
Writing is sharp, characters original and realistic. Tech credits are fine also; in fact, with new live shows pulling back at commercial breaks to show the crew, techies may be lining up to work on “Roc.”
“Roc’s” preem also has the distinction of being the first sitcom of the new season to touch on the recent L.A. riots, with Dad showing pix of his recent, poorly timed vacation to the City of Angels.
Going live has its pluses and minuses for the talent behind “Roc.” Positives include the possibility of extremely timely political humor, as seen in the preem, and the fact that with a well-trained cast and crew, the benefits outweigh the risk that something could go wrong. Potential negatives include limits on what writers can do, in both number and scope of scenes.
So far, however, “Roc” live seems to be accentuating the positive.