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'Free Agents' Premiere: Secret Sex Partners Make for Interesting Work Days (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 15th 2011 5:00AM
'Free Agents' - 'Pilot'['Free Agents' Season 1, Episode 1 - 'Pilot']

'Free Agents' (Wed., 10:30PM ET on NBC) is a perfectly acceptable new comedy. It's just also rather unremarkable so far. For the most part, it's another office ensemble, but so far no one in the office has managed to break beyond the second dimension.

Even Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn are so deep in their individual, but very similar, character quirks, that they forgot to be well-rounded characters we could believe in. There were a few laughs, though, like when Alex (Azaria) was put on the spot in the morning meeting about his exploits the night prior and he made up a series of sexual positions he supposedly explored.

"Normal, of course," he began. "Dog style. Cat style. Reverse crab, that happened. The penitent farmer. Lazy busdriver. The turducken, that was fun. Oh, the flying dutchman!"

Unfortunately, that last one turned out to be real and his boss Stephen, played by Anthony Head, was more than happy to show him a picture. Head is an accomplished actor who's played a variety of rich roles, including this same role in the UK version of this show, and yet he's written as two-dimensional here as the rest of the cast. He's the "slightly crazy" boss.

Now that can work as his character is designed to be aloof and a little distant. Think Denny Crane on 'Boston Legal,' which worked beautifully. But if the entire cast is as two-dimensional, who do you connect with on a more emotional level?
You've got Mo Mandel as the ladies man, Al Madrigal as the frustrated married guy, Joe Lo Truglio as the wacky security guard and Natasha Leggero as ... Natasha Leggero if she were an executive assistant. No one strayed from their narrow little character path through the entire episode, including the leads. This doesn't give me a lot of hope that 'Free Agents' can carry on for a full season, or longer.

What's our motivation to care if Alex gets over his divorce, or if Helen (Hahn) gets over her dead fiancé? They've slept together twice now, and then try to pretend it didn't happen at work and that it doesn't mean anything. We see where this is going, but I'm already bored with the journey.

I can handle cookie-cutter characters if the script is tight and hilarious, but 'Free Agents' was light on the laughs, light on the characters, and light on the chances I'll want to tune in again next week when it shifts to its regular time slot at 8:30PM ET.

Actually, because I tend to believe that pilots -- and especially comedy pilots -- can be a bad representative of what the show's going to be, I'll probably give it another week or two to find its direction, but I'm going to need to see a lot more meat on this one to stick around much longer than that.

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leeedwardsluliby

stupid

October 26 2011 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike

I might watch it if the leading actress was more attractive. She looks like a younger Ana Gasteyer byt still not attractice,

September 15 2011 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mike's comment
leeedwardsluliby

thta s crazy

October 26 2011 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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