Somehow, this silly, mildly amusing half-hour seemed better before the title change, when the show wore its premise — “Let’s Rob … Mick Jagger” — on its sleeve. Built around an endearingly ragtag group of misfits, this concoction from “Late Show With David Letterman” producers Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman has its moments in a “Honeymooners” sort of way but, especially after viewing the second episode, feels destined to run out of gas long before its central sextet gets any satisfaction.
Donal Logue stars as Eugene Gurkin (there’s clear symbolism in that surname), a night janitor who, after a minor epiphany, decides it’s time to pursue his dreams. Unfortunately, the bank isn’t eager to loan him cash for the bar he yearns to open, so after seeing Jagger’s palatial money-for-nothin’ digs on E! News, he hatches a not-so-brilliant scheme: “I’ve got an idea that can change both our lives forever,” Eugene tells his co-worker Francis (Lenny Venito).Eugene quickly goes about the process of assembling his team, which has a kind of slovenly Justice League quality, down to the recurring slow-motion shots (one of the show’s best devices) as they strut purposefully side by side in matching T-shirts.
The gang includes an Indian cab driver they call “Gary” (Maz Jobrani) because no one can pronounce “Gourishankar;” a barrel-shaped, baritone-voiced security guard Rockefeller Butts (Kevin Michael Richardson); a Latin American waitress, Esperanza (Sofia Vergara, back from ABC’s “Hot Properties,” putting her Jessica Rabbit shape to good comedic use); and a nerdy intern (Louis Plunk).
Code name: the Knights of Prosperity, a pale imitation of the original title as well as a proposed moniker that’s rejected, the Jedi Council.
Each week will bring a new hurdle in the ongoing pursuit of Jagger’s booty, the first task being to nab a duplicate key to his apartment. Alas, the rock star’s presence will be minuscule after his good-spirited premiere cameo, meaning the onus lies on this dingy half-dozen, with Richardson’s gravely rumblings providing the one sure-fire source of amusement.
When Rockefeller dubs the group “Ocean’s Idiots,” he’s pretty well summarized the show, with Logue’s ringmaster Eugene as a Ralph Kramden type, a blue-collar dreamer without the brains or connections to realize his grand plans.
In success, theoretically, the show would target different celebrities in seasons to come, but that’s getting ahead of the game — especially with a challenge from “American Idol” looming a few weeks off. The semi-serialized format also makes it hard to get too excited about the prospective payoff, which might be an amusing premise for a low-budget feature but, as ABC has discovered with “Big Day,” presents a tall order in stretching a caper over 20-plus episodes.
So while it’s hard not to harbor some sympathy for these poor schmoes, ABC will likely need considerable patience in affording these hapless “Knights” time to find their holy grail.