Up All Night – is it worth staying up for?

Up All NightLast night, like so many other moms, according to our Twitter stream, I pencilled in the premier of NBC’s new modern mom-com, Up All Night and set the DVR as back-up. As you can well imagine, 10PM is bloody late for me these days.

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.

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply September 15, 2011

    Paula Batton

    I’m just not sure yet, I laughed parts of it were funny, but overall the acting is what I’m not bought into yet, they don’t have that “soaking up” emotion around the baby that most parents have.. I’m just not fully bought in, I’ll give it another try next week before canceling my season pass.

  • Reply September 15, 2011


    I watched it too and my review is probably somewhere between yours and Paula’s. As a HAHM (husband-at-home-mom) myself, I liked that this was included, particularly as a conscious choice by the couple and not by default due to a job loss. (I think Parenthood has a SAHD character as well but I don’t watch it to know for sure.) But they still relied heavily on the “dunderheaded dad” bits than I liked — Regan asks him not to watch hockey and play video games all day (bad), he does anyway (worse) and the whole can’t find cheese in the supermarket thing (seriously?). But other parts I did find funny (the don’t swear in front of the kid thing was cute). I’ll also give it another chance next week.

  • Reply September 15, 2011


    I’m pretty sure that next week it’s on at 8.

  • Reply September 15, 2011


    Word on the street with my moms group is that it was disappointing. I’m hoping it gets better, but think with that kind of cast it has serious potential.

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    The Dalai Mama

    I’ll wait to see it a few more week. But I loved the morning after scene–“you know who doesn’t have a hangover? The Baby”. Such a stark reminder that our life is more often than not–not our own after kids.

    It is absolutely “real” feeling and I did like that about it.

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    Goddess in Progress

    Just caught it on the DVR this morning, and I definitely enjoyed the first episode. Not perfect (seriously, they have a late-night babysitter on call?? Where can I find one??), but I think it’s got potential. I’ll definitely keep it on the DVR schedule for the time being.

    P.S. It’s going to be on, blessedly, at 8PM from now on. They even made a joke in the closing credits about how 10pm is entirely too late for parents. :-)

  • Cool Mom Picks
    Reply September 15, 2011

    Cool Mom Picks

    Ha Robin, I like HAHM! I had one myself for a long time. You make a good point that he’s not good at household management, but he is good with his kid which I really liked. I’d imagine the characters are always the most broadly drawn in a pilot, which then allows for wiggle room.

    Watch the SATC pilot some time. It will blow your mind how much they evolved! – Liz

  • Reply September 15, 2011


    I’ve been looking forward to this show and I have to admit I was disappointed. I liked the Chris/Regan/baby bits, but seriously did-not-like the whole Maya Rudolph character (and I *love* Maya Rudolph, so that was really disappointing.) I’m hoping this was just “a pilot thing” and the show will get into a groove that I like….I set a season pass on the Tivo so I’ll give it another try.

  • Reply September 15, 2011

    Stacey L

    I agree with the last comment posted – pilots don’t always reflect how the characters truly end up being. I found it pretty funny, I could relate to it and I look forward to seeing the characters develop. I don’t have much else to do on Tuesdays, so the 8pm time slot hopefully becomes permanent. (And after moving to a new neighborhood, the first time I went to the local, extra-large supermarket, I couldn’t find normal bread and ended up with Italian buns because I just needed to get out of there!)

  • Reply September 15, 2011


    I loved it! I think it will just get funnier. The cast is FAB.

  • Reply September 16, 2011


    I LOVE that you loved this show because that truly cements your “cool mom” status for me. I love sitcoms for the escape that they are… that this one has a little reality in it just makes it better. And now that I have a baby (10 months old), I also enjoyed the teeny moments of depth with them hanging out outside with baby Amy that I thought were sweet (and then funny when they turned to swearing). I also love that I can watch this with my single sister and she thinks it’s hilarious!

    The highlight to me was when I was getting slightly emotional at their sweet talk on the blanket outside was when my sister says, “who does that when they’re hungover?! I guarantee you I am not laying on a freaking blanket outside with a nasty hangover. That’s just dumb.” And for that perspective alone, it is a good show. :)

  • Reply September 16, 2011

    Jennifer Roland

    I enjoyed it, but I am not sure it will be a must-see yet. Sitcoms need three episodes to really hit their stride.

  • Reply September 16, 2011


    I think a lot of it depends on what type of humor you like – like you mentioned it’s more 30 Rock/Parks and Rec humor. Which is EXACTLY the kind of humor we love, which is also why we love the actors in this show. They’ve been in our favorite shows and movies. We loved it and hope it stays just as funny.

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