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‘Up All Night’

In Television on September 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm
'Now that WE'RE parents, the rest of the world needs to change!'

‘Now that WE’RE parents, the rest of the world needs to change!’

I wasn’t too thrilled about the premise of this show-(new parents, adjusting to baby) and I wouldn’t have watched if a) They hadn’t repeated the show at 8pm on Friday night, and I  happened to have the tv on that channel, and b) I could have found the remote. But- ok- I’ll give the show a chance- the cast list is surprisingly good. Christina Applegate (I always think of her newswoman role in Anchorman), Will Arnett (Arrested Development, married to Amy Poehler- instant points right there!) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids) A very likeable cast with plenty of talent.

The theme of this (second) episode is ‘Cool Neighbors’. The new parents, Reagan and Chris Brinkley (Applegate and Arnett) happen to notice a hip, young couple moving in across the street.  NBC’s interpretation of  ‘hipster’ is…. knit caps, english accents and interracial marriage. I would love to be a fly on the wall during that the casting call, just to see who they whittled it down to. A bunch of suits discussing skinny jeans and ironic reading glasses. I bet it was a treasure trove of unintentional comedy gold….

In any event, Reagan and Chris decide they must prove to the neighbors (to themselves, really) how cool they are (even with a baby! which is evidently unheard of…) They then proceed to mention the band ‘Train’ and cancel out any such hope that they are, in fact, cool at all.  They decide to bring the neighbors a bottle of tequila as a housewarming present (an unopened bottle they already have on hand for such an occasion) which seems presumptuous in this day and age- what with ‘Intervention’ and ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and the whole ‘hide your vice’ thing we have going on in recent times…I’m thinking hipsters might prefer fair-trade coffee, some artisan pickles and a hemp shopping tote–but maybe they didn’t have such items in their stash. (To be clear: I certainly would have liked to get the tequila!)

Luckily, the hipsters welcomed the gift, so much so that they invite Reagan and Chris to their housewarming party-which starts at 10:30 pm (horrors!) Reagan and Chris, upon hearing the scary start time, blurt out that they will be at a Radiohead concert that night, ‘backstage as usual’. Now, allow me to nitpick here, but a) Do Radiohead represent hip anymore (I don’t know…that’s why I’m asking) and b) If they do, wouldn’t the ‘hipsters’ be aware of this concert and couldn’t they find out with a flip of their phones to a Ticketmaster schedule? Or was Radiohead actually playing?

I’m teetering at this point, but still on-board.

Later we see the couple in their living room at almost midnight- crying baby in hand, and hear the raucous sounds of a loud party across the street. A discussion is had about calling the police. (Calling the Police?! Really? You have a new baby, were just recently ‘hip’ and are already calling the police on your neighbors?  I get that it’s a little loud, but who, that consider themselves ‘cool’- would call the freakin’ police for a minor disturbance?) We’re in goody-two shoes land!

Before I can even process this- they actually call the police!!  Not only is this couple not cool- they are obvious douche bags! (This affects my further judgement of these two, spoiler freakin’ alert)

Soapbox: Parents who think that the whole world should shut down, gather at the feet of their child and adjust accordingly, make me sick! There shall be no more noise! Ever! Hail Baby!! How could this couple have ever been cool? The obvious answer? They couldn’t have been! (Yes! I’ve had a baby! I can speak on it!)

Like the true masterminds they are (and because their life is part slapstick comedy- just like new parents in real life!) Reagan and Chris decide to go to the party to assuage any possible suspicion that they are the ones who called the police, which would prove they are in fact, the worst and most intolerant of all of the neighbors, even though they are exactly that.

Miraculously,  they procure  a babysitter- on the fly-at midnight-in the form of Nick Cannon (pickings are slim after midnite) who is somehow not only willing to sit, but appears immediately. The baby instantly falls asleep in his arms- but it occurs to no one to maybe rescind the cop call, as ‘problem solved’…(and the problem appeared to be the couple themselves and not the party music) but never mind, we have a story arc to follow here. Chop! Chop!

The Brinkleys walk across the street to join the party, lying incessantly about a concert they never attended (this couple has some character, huh?) until the police arrive on cue a short while later. The hipsters and hipster extras (fake sleeve tats, shoe-leather black hair dye, jewelry ala Hot Topic) go the extra mile with their ‘grimacing at the cops’ (such rebels!) but the party host manages to bleat out an important question before he wets his pants in fear:

‘Can we still stay if we turn down the music?’  Mr. Beck-Lite pleads, like a fourteen year old bargaining with his parents during ‘homework’ time. What a bad-boy!

‘Well, let me check!’ asks the officer, who not only has the Brinkley’s home phone number and permission to ‘negotiate’ with them directly, but speed dials! Chris’s cell phone number.

Chris’s way-too-tight (hurl!) skinny jeans pocket begins to light up intermittently and play an annoying ringtone (guess who? the subversive, underground band Train!) for all to hear.

(Insert the ‘Price Is Right’ you Lose! tuba in the background)

Caught in the act, Reagan and Chris  casually confess to calling the police, but miraculously, are instantly forgiven, as the hipster couple announce that they too are having a baby and will no doubt soon be as miserable and uncool as the Brinkleys. (This  couldn’t have been more predictable, as the sour-puss that is Mrs. Hipster makes the grand announcement at the front door to the Brinkleys that she’s not drinking tonight like it’s shocking, front page, world news)

Reagan and Chris have absolutely no remorse about being kill-joys, are not at all embarrassed at being caught in the act of narcing out their neighbors and proceed to casually leave the party-cracking rapid-fire jokes back and forth like seasoned toastmasters at a Don Rickles roast.

But-  rather than go home to their baby (who is their life, remember?) and relieve their emergency sitter, Mr. Cannon (whose own kids may be in some peril, having presumably been left home alone with Mariah Carey who theoretically may be in the hot tub fully dressed and forgotten she  has kids and is not 12 years old…) they decide to sit out in  front of their house reveling in the fact that they are grade A A-holes. Could some bitter-but-honest party goers walk by at this point, give them the (blurred out) finger, or hurl some expletives their way, since Reagan and Chris are sitting right across from the party they single-handedly ruined as the guests filter out?

The couple are positively gleeful, as they laughingly reminisce about their douche-baggery- enjoying every minute of it. ‘We suck, don’t we?’ they seem to be saying, clearly unaffected for a couple who was hell-bent only hours earlier, on proving their (non-existent) street cred.

Moments later they begin ridiculing  the ‘even less cool than us’ neighbors who live to their left (judging them by their mailbox, because-I don’t know about you, but it’s the first place I look to get a read on someone..) trying to persuade us that it’s all such a funny and insignificant pecking-order anyway!-haha!  At this point they predictably get caught talking shit by said dorky neighbors (who are out walking their dog at one am)- but –who cares? they’re not cool!’ The mailbox never lies!

The moral of this episode seems to be: ‘Look at us alienate the neighbors on both sides of the street! And if you (the viewers) are dicks, too-so what? It comes with having kids! Just go with it!” I’m here with a plea: Please don’t! Being an asshat is just as bad after kids as it is before. Just because you’re done with noise and fun, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Deal with your kid yourself, leave the rest of us alone.

It's true! Why should anyone else have fun if we can't?

It’s true! Why should anyone else have fun if we can’t?

In conclusion, what we have here is a typical sitcom, with a better than average cast who speak ‘dum-dum’ to the masses. It will probably be popular with people who watch American Idol, drive mini-vans and don’t like ‘thinky’ jokes. Maya Rudolph’s character, a take-off on ‘Oprah’… has potential by spoofing the talk show Queen, but so far she is only lukewarm.  The storyline in this episode was ridiculous.  I give it a ‘C-‘ with tons of room to improve.

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