Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pilot Inspektor Tim: Allen Gregory

The show: Allen Gregory, Sundays on Fox

The premise in ten words or less? Spoiled, precocious seven-year-old transfers to public elementary school.

Any good? I'll say upfront that I'm not the person to talk to when it comes to animated sitcoms. I don't really watch them, like, at all. I did watch the first new Beavis and Butt-head since there was so much hype surrounding it, and I watched an episode of The Simpsons a few weeks ago, but I'm pretty sure those are the first two animated sitcom episodes I've seen since the pilot of Bob's Burgers in January (although I'll add the caveat that I love Mission Hill and Undergrads and own both on DVD, so I guess there's exceptions to every rule).

So I'll keep my thoughts on Allen Gregory quick and simple. The show centers around the title character, a little kid voiced by Jonah Hill with two gay dads who is used to a pampered life of luxury and intellectual snobbery. After his dads lose their money, he's forced to attend a public elementary school, where his elitist attitude immediately makes him an object of ridicule, but he does make one friend. He also has an adopted Cambodian sister, Julie.

Summed up quickly, I didn't find any of it that funny. I do think there's some appeal to reversing the Simpsons / Family Guy tradition of dumb guys at the center of animated sitcoms with a guy too smart for the world instead, but in practice Allen Gregory himself fails to be either likable and sympathetic or dislikable in a funny way. He's just a bit of a prick, and the characters around him all feel fairly generic (although if forced to pick a favorite I'd go with his deadpan sister Julie). There was one scene where Allen Gregory abruptly gets a crush on his elderly principal that made me chuckle, but that was about the extent of my laughter.

Now, I'm sure the series will evolve as Allen Gregory begins finding his place at his new school and they come up with new characters to surround him with, but this pilot didn't have enough heart, humor, or creativity to keep me around to see that happen. But with all that said, I did actually rather enjoy the crisp, colorful animation, particularly the way the characters are drawn. Finding the art style repellent is the main thing that kept me from watching any more of Bob's Burgers, so it's a shame they couldn't have gotten some of the designers who wound up here.

Will I watch again? If I was interested in watching an animated sitcom I'd be much more likely to just catch up on all the Futurama I've missed or finally get around to watching Archer like everyone on the internet says I should. What I'm saying is that episode two of Allen Gregory is super, super low on my list of things to watch. I'm not sure it cracks the top thousand.

Premise: C+

Execution: C

Animation: A-

Potential: C+


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