So I propped some toothpicks into my eyes, Clockwork Orange Style, sat at up straight in my bed, cranked the AC, and prayed for a strong opening scene–something, anything, to tell me that this wouldn’t be the same old awful “dumb new parents” dreck that has failed for years.
I got that opening scene.
From the start, Christina Applegate is utterly charming as Reagan, the TV exec heading
back to work for the first time, and she has fantastic chemistry with
Will Arnett who nails it as Chris, TV’s first stay-at-home dad who
displays (surprise!) not one bit of Mr. Mom Act I bumbling incompetency. In fact, he’s no more clueless than any of us were with a newborn.
It’s almost like I was watching my own life. Only Reagan is skinnier, blonder, and has way better comic timing.
The tone is wry and fairly subtle–more 30 Rock or Parks & Recreation
than your classic network sitcom. Even the broader, Oprah-esque talk
show host that Regan works for, played hilariously by Maya Rudolph,
never feels like that wah-wah-wahhhh kind of character
that hasn’t worked since Kramer. You know, the one who delivers lines
that sound more like a sitcom writer than an actual person.
The best part of the show is that the situations feel relatable for parents, but still fresh and
funny. Think: trying to wiggle back into your work clothes for the first time
postpartum; forgetting not to curse in front of your new baby; or
overdoing it on a karoke bender after months of not drinking. I can thank the sharp writing of creator Emily Spivey, who based the
series on her own experiences getting back to work as a writer for shows
like SNL as a new mom two years ago. As her own baby grows older, along with Chris and Reagan’s, I imagine she’ll have no shortage of awesome situations to draw from. Welcome to mommyblogging, Emily.
I haven’t said this in a long time about a sitcom, but I’m really
looking forward to the next episode. Which means I have to give Up All Night the highest praise I can offer a show: I’m jealous I didn’t write it. –Liz
Catch Up All Night on NBC Wednesdays at 10PM. Or set the DVR, because you know your baby will pick that moment to start screaming.