Friday, September 28, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Cool Kids' - Hank, Charlie and Sid Meet a New Friend in the Retirement Community in 'Pilot'

FOX's The Cool Kids - Episode 1.01 "Pilot"

Three guy friends in a retirement community - Hank, Charlie and Sid - are the top dogs until they're blown out of the water by the newest member of the community: a female rebel, Margaret, whose ready to challenge their place.

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. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of FOX's The Cool Kids.

"Pilot" was written by Charlie Day & Paul Fruchbom and directed by Don Scardino

The Cool Kids only really works because it stars Vicki Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Leslie Jordan. They are comedic legends who deserve so much recognition and praise for their ability to make any material work. This is also a show that brings them all together to tell a story about people who typically aren't the focus of shows. It's set in a retirement community where the citizens don't want to give up living just yet. That's very admirable. It shows the reality of the aging process and the idea that this group of four still want to have full and rewarding lives. That's a lofty goal that is still something that many will aspire to as well. It's powerful to have that message that life isn't over once you hit a certain age. This show highlights the kind of trouble these characters can still get into. However, the show also runs the risk of drawing its humor mostly from older people saying extremely crass things. That is very much on display throughout this premiere. It doesn't require the audience to think too much. And yes, that can be pleasing to some in the audience as well. It is going for the broad laughter. And yes, some of that does come from people in these situations actually talking about sex and drugs. The show should also just be aware that it will have to dig deeper eventually in order to keep mining the humor for the characters. They can't just be a bunch of broad setups and punchlines. Sure, it's still very effective when the ashes are placed on the table that promptly falls apart and when Margaret reveals the party for Hank, Charlie and Sid's fallen friend. It shows that there is a camaraderie and spirit amongst these newfound friends in this community. And yet, it also just seems like the show is putting them into ridiculous and rambunctious situations. They really don't have to deal with any consequences. They can simply just play up how old they are in order to get away with anything. It's a potent image for a black man to be pulled over by the cops. Hank recognizes that it's potentially devastating because he's driving a stolen vehicle. But there's no real follow-up or consequences to that action either. Similarly, Margaret admits to drugging the activities director of this community in order to throw this party. She just doesn't care about this trauma she is inflicting on the person whose job it is to keep this facility running smoothly. Nor does the show seem all that interested in exploring those consequences. Right now, living seems to be committing crimes to see if the characters can get away with them. There has to be a better motivation for why these characters are acting out in this way. It can't just be because they are old and haven't truly lived until this point in their lives. Those answers need to be more forthcoming. And yet, the talents of the cast are more than enough to make this a completely watchable premiere with the promise that things could improve moving forward.