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October 7, 2015

'Breaking In' Season 1, Episode 2 Recap

by Mike Moody, posted Apr 14th 2011 8:00AM
Bret Harrison ['Breaking In' – ''Tis Better to Have Loved And Flossed']

'Breaking In' is definitely a B-level show. It's funny, fast-paced and even a little charming, but it's not nearly as sharp or as clever as it might think it is.

The comedy is all on the surface here. There's little to no depth buzzing beneath the show's endless stream of hit-and-miss jokes, fledgling catchphrases ("Tapping that grave!"), and ridiculously elaborate heist scenes. But that's not really a big problem...yet.

This week's amusing second episode kept up the lightning pace and aggressively wacky tone of last week's series premiere. I don't predict we'll see much change here in terms of format, writing or overall storytelling style, so it's pretty safe to say that 'Breaking In' will ride this steady, if uneven, wave for the rest of the season. So now's probably as good a time as any to decide if you're in or if you're out.

Me? I'm in, but not all in. The whole "slick-but-detached authority figure helps a group of outcasts bond over shared wackiness" thing has been done to death (and it's currently being done with a lot more style, heart and wit on NBC's 'Community'). Watching these episodes could become a tedious chore after a few weeks unless I start to actually care about the characters. But for now I'm willing to ride 'Breaking In''s goofy wave until the show stops making me laugh. Yeah, it makes me laugh! It might not be the most original thing on TV, but it sure inspires more genuine chuckles and smiles than more conventional sitcom pap like 'Rules of Engagement' or 'Perfect Couples.'

'Breaking In' has that "could be canceled at any moment" stink to it (perhaps that's partly because of the presence of, for lack of a more sophisticated term, "show killers" Christian Slater and Brett Harrison), and I kinda like that loser appeal. It almost feels as if no one else is watching 'Breaking In' but me, and when the show works, I feel like I'm privy to a special kind of quirky awesomeness that no one else will ever experience.

Take, for instance, Oz's show-opening line, "Greetings and salutations," a sly reference to Slater's breakout role in 'Heathers.' Watching Slater do his cool and creepy smartest-guy-in-the-room thing is quite the treat (especially after seeing him mope his way through the cancelled procedural drama 'The Forgotten'). Harrison is also likeable as dopey hacker Cameron Price. I'll admit that one of the reasons I'm watching this show is to support Harrison, who starred in one of my favorite short-lived genre series, 'Reaper' (same goes for Tyler Labine and 'Mad Love').

'Breaking In' is similar to 'Mad Love' and 'Hot in Cleveland' in that the performances elevate the material. Alphonso McAuley, Odette Annable and Trevor Moore still need a little more seasoning before they can reach Slater's fun-to-watch level, but they still manage to make most of the jokes work (although McAuley tends to overshoot almost as much as he scores). But one of the funniest performances comes courtesy of 'Smallville' vet Michael Rosenbaum, who plays Dutch, Melanie's douchey but inexplicably cuddly boyfriend. (I love that he thinks Jason Mraz stole his songs!) It's too bad Rosenbaum is only credited as a guest star, since that seems to suggest that he won't be around for too long.

Dutch only popped in for a few quick laughs this week and to remind us about Cameron's oh-so-TV crush on Melanie. The will-they-or-won't-they romantic storyline is easily my least favorite aspect of the show, especially since all that really came out of it this week was a tired visual of a dog humping a dude's leg. And the mid-episode twist -- the "old lady" is really Oz's wife (guest star Alyssa Milano), and she's playing Cam -- was also pretty predictable. But the role of Amy played to Milano's strengths, allowing her to portray both the sweet girl next door and the manipulative vixen.

In the end, the episode confirmed my suspicions that 'Breaking In' plans to push the "unconventional family" thing pretty hard. That's fine. I like the idea that Oz, despite his penchant for swinging swords dangerously close to his underlings' faces and his unflappable f--- you attitude, wants to protect and nurture his young crew. It doesn't exactly give me the warm fuzzies yet, but it does seem to suggest that 'Breaking In,' like 'Community' and 'The Simpsons,' might start to grow a heart. And there's hope that the characters could eventually become people that we care about and enjoy spending time with every week...if Fox allows the show time to find its footing.

'Breaking In' airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET on Fox.

[Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.]

Watch the full episode here:

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I love this show. I love Christian Slater and to have him in a comedy role makes it all the better. I also love Brett Harrison.I remember him from "Grounded For Life" and that show didn't really have much depth either but it was fun to watch. I hope Fox doesn't squash this one like they did the "Good Guys". Sometimes you need to watch a show that is fun and off the cuff and this show brings it.

April 20 2011 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode was awesome,this guys inspires me :)).Btw i saw this Episode on BreakingInFan.com

April 15 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've enjoyed these first couple of episodes...but you can't walk into it with a set of hardlined expectations. Just let the show take you for a ride and it'll be enjoyable. Plus, it's nice to see Christian Slater in a comedy. T.V. hasn't been banking his skills properly. He's really a win here!

April 14 2011 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched this show and it was Horrible! I will not be giving it a second chance. Ugh.

April 14 2011 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too really liked "Reaper" and almost watched this show because of Brett Harrison. But I watched 2 episodes of "Mad Love" for a similar reason and I'm still upset over the hour of life I lost to that mediocre sitcom. I'll keep reading your recaps, and if there is an improvement to the show then perhaps I'll give it a shot.

April 14 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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