“About Total Exuberance” is the worst-case scenario of the struggles of turning a drama into a comedy. Jason Katims successfully did the opposite with “Parenthood” but I can’t help but think that was due to getting more time to work with than if that show was a pure sit-com. We are only one episode past the very promising pilot so it is very easy for the show to pick up again but tonight doesn’t live up to that standard.
After Will and his evening guest discover that Marcus has been sneaking into his apartment through an old dumb waiter, Fiona convinces him to babysit while she goes off to a job interview. During their play date, Will’s best friend Andy, tells him that they’ve been invited to charity fundraiser hosted by Lil Jon. In an attempt to fill obligation and desire, Will brings Marcus to the party.
Once they go to said party, the episode exposes it’s main flaw – that Will is an asshole. A complete turnaround after the pilot would be well below the Katims standard but whereas there was little moments of redemption sprinkled over selfishness. All that is saved for the final three minutes when Will motivates Marcus to literally take the plunge for a chance at catharsis and when it’s revealed that Fiona got the job thanks to Will’s advice that lying would be better than the truth – though I think we can all agree that including a “sabbatical period” on resume isn’t a job-grabber. Fiona and Marcus’ cartoonish performance of “I’m Yours,” only added to the groans.
Rather than re-tell the story from the pilot – which i know is common for second episodes – it would be much more interesting for a faster approach to building their relationship which is essential in a shortened eleven-episode season. Katims’ previous shows have successfully taken existing characters and made them much more compelling. They can’t all be first round picks. Hopefully it picks up from here.