Sunday, September 9, 2018

REVIEW: FOX's 'Rel' - 'Pilot'

FOX's Rel - September 2018 Reviews

1.01 "Pilot"

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. As such, this post will offer some paragraph reviews of each individual episode that a show airs in a given month. It may not get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my reviews of the episodes that aired in September 2018 for FOX's Rel.

101. "Pilot"
Written by Lil Rel Howery, Kevin Barnett & Josh Rabinowitz and directed by Gerry Cohen

This is actually a pretty promising premiere. It's not great. It's a little stiff and stunted in a couple of moments. But there is potential here for it to develop into something truly engaging. It's actually trying to do a number of different things with its storytelling. It's going for the zany with Lil Rel Howery also showing up as the preacher at the church. That's a device that could be a reliable hallmark of this show if used correctly. If the show overuses that tactic by needing to introduce a new character for Lil Rel to play each week, then it could grow tiring. But it affords him the opportunity to be playing this grounded leading man in addition to some of the wackier bits of his personality and comedy. That's strange and unusual. Meanwhile, the show is also striving for the drama as well. It wants to be more than just a joke delivery machine. In fact, the more dramatic moments are probably the more successful ones from this premiere. All of the comments about Monica's loose boots didn't really work for me. And there were a ton of them here. That storyline is mostly awkward. Rel is absolutely in the wrong for just trying to use Monica in order to get back at the barber who slept with his wife. And then, the show still ultimately treats her as nothing more than a punchline with the final reveal that she has tripped and shattered both of her ankles. As such, that allows the audience to be perfectly fine continuing to see Rel as this great guy. Meanwhile, Rel coming to the realization that he wasn't a good husband is much more earned because it holds the promise of growth for him. He actually has to reflect on why his wife decided to cheat on him. Is he responsible for pushing her away? That's the question he has to be asking himself. In the end, the show mostly presents as everything largely working out for this family as they adjust to a new status quo. It should be interesting to see how often the characters bring up Rel's family who live out of state. Will the kids ever be prominently featured? Will his ex-wife ever show up? Those feel like moments for special occasions. But if the show isn't focusing on them, then what else is it going to do to define the four main characters introduced here? That's the development that will be most intriguing to watch. B-