Calling a show created by David E. Kelley and starring Robin Williams The Crazy Ones is only logical. Robin Williams, as ad exec Simon Roberts, doesn't have to be anything but his most manic to be hilarious. In this show, he gets to do plenty of that.
David E. Kelley has a string of bizarre hits to his credit including Harry's Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal, and, my favorite, Picket Fences. Together, these two guys are the world's most outlandish and wacky minds on the planet. Putting them together on a sitcom is, again, only logical.
To play extra comics and straight men, Williams gets two young actors who emphasize and encourage his style. James Wolk as Zach can riff with the master almost as well as the master himself. Hamish Linklater as Andrew is the hapless foil for Williams' antics. These three form a well-oiled comedy machine.
Then you introduce Sarah Michelle Gellar as Simon's daughter Sydney to the mix. She's the other Roberts in the Roberts & Roberts ad agency.
I love SMG – Buffy forever! – but she's not known for her comedy chops. Before the show started I saw posts from critics who said Sarah Michelle Gellar was a bad choice for this part. The critics couldn't see her pulling it off. Me – I have faith in my favorite vampire slayer. I watched her be terrified in The Grudge, I watched her play twin versions of herself in Ringer.
It aggravates me that a woman who has been acting since 1983 should have to prove her talent now just because she's opposite Robin Williams. Nobody is worrying that James Wolk – a guy – can't keep up. They are only talking about pitfalls facing the "little lady."
Part of the reason I was initially interested in The Crazy Ones was to decide for myself if SMG could keep up with the world-class comedy awesome Robin Williams brings. A considerable part of her job on The Crazy Ones is to be the sane one. She reins in her father with a voice and look that she surely acquired from being a mother. Even though she tries to tone him down, his excesses are always a stroke of pure advertising genius which she should have actually encouraged rather than discouraged. She never will, however, because the premise of the show is that she must act as the tether that ties her father to solid ground.
Even so, it isn't all perfect sanity from her. She's been given a chance to stretch her comedy muscles. She's proven she can do the fast talking and the sight gag stuff with aplomb. She's got the timing down. We're seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar grow her comedy wings on this show and it seems to me that it's working out very nicely.
Working with Robin Williams every day must be like going to the college of comedy with the valedictorian as your personal mentor. I think she's taking advantage of the education and holding her own with a solid performance. I'm sold on this funny show and my belief in the powers of Sarah Michelle Gellar remains intact.
The Crazy Ones airs on CBS on Thursday nights. Have you seen it yet? What's your opinion?
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