I saw references to the TV show, The Crew, and I didn’t know much about it. But as with most new shows, I’m willing to give it a try for at least one episode.
The basic premise is that a NASCAR team has been doing poorly of late, and the owner announces that his daughter Catherine is going to take over running the team. Under the new management, she wants to makes some changes, including potentially firing some people, and she butts heads with the operations boss, Kevin. Most of the show takes place at the garage, and has a bit of a Wings feel to the setup, just not as funny.
The acting and writing
The main actor is Kevin James and I pretty much knew what my personal reaction to the show was going to be: meh. King of Queens, Mall Cop, Kevin Can Wait…He’s okay, but I’m not sold on the delivery. Some of it is a one-trick pony storyline i.e., “hey, I’m not the brightest guy but I’ll learn a lesson by the end of the EP”. It’s okay but it doesnt’ scream “laugh riot”. There are some funny lines, but nothing that leads to much more than a smile.
The daughter, Catherine, is played by Jillian Mueller, and I thought I recognized her at first. But after checking IMDb, nope. She’s okay but I don’t really get a feel for her in the EP. Yay, she’s smart. Yay, she’s into numbers. That’s it? Even by sitcom standards, that’s pretty lame.
For the supporting cast, there’s Jake (Freddie Stroma), who’s pretty dumb but a generally good driver, but not much to work with beyond a few throw-away lines like Woody or Coach from Cheers without the presence; Chuck (voice actor Gary Anthony Williams) as the mechanic, who has decent presence but not many lines; and Amir (Dan Ahdoot) as the engineer with a series of telegraphed jokes about being effeminate and into design. Nothing to write home about.
So who else is there? Well, let’s start with Bruce McGill. He is a regular guest actor on a ton of shows, often playing a bit of a schlub or a bit of a sleazeball, but he always nails it. He plays the owner, Bobby, and as always, he is pitch perfect. I liked him on Rizzoli & Isles, all the way back to the original MacGyver, in My Cousin Vinny, heck even Semi-Tough. But whenever I see him? All I can think of is Captain Braxton from Star Trek: Voyager, the time cop gone a bit nutty about Janeway’s involvement in timelines. He’s solid for the whole EP, and while there’s no guarantee he’ll be around much, he’s pretty good for backup.
The one that threw me the most though was Beth. She is pretty inconsistent. She seems almost like Carla from Cheers, a bit dumb, but smarter than Kevin, gets really invested in his personal life, has some sort of boyfriend or husband that could do double-dates if Kevin was dating someone, it’s a bit confused. I’m not even totally sure what she does for the team. But she has decent interactions with most of the other cast throughout the episode. And then, right at the end, small spoiler alert, she has this serious moment with Kevin that he is totally clueless about. She is basically telling him she’s into him, and he misses it entirely. But for just a moment, she goes serious, all the other attributes of the character disappear, and it’s a great scene. Her name is Sarah Stiles, and I looked her up on IMDb as well. Nothing I’ve seen her in, a moderate list of credits. I just hope they do something with the character.
For the writing? Well, it’s not funny. Which is kinda important for a sitcom. There’s a lot of one-liners, but most of them aren’t that good. More importantly, a lot of the characters seem inconsistent, which is really hard to do in 22 minutes of airtime. Most of them have only a few lines, yet even when they do, it’s hard to make it jive with the previous lines. Catherine is terrible, Kevin is one-trick, even Beth who is awesome in one scene is kind of all over the EP. Bobby is great, but the show isn’t about him. Sigh.
I have to go with cancellation. The show is still stuck in its opening premiere “box”, I know, but there just didn’t seem to be enough funny there for me to care about any of the characters either.