Television
Sep 30, 2011

SECOND CHANCES: FREE AGENTS

After a so-so pilot, episode two featured Alex (Azaria) trying to entertain a recently-divorced client who is looking for a night on the town of picking up girls.  Hilarity ensues as they pursue college girls, and (unknown to them) high-priced call girls.  The episode also featured his assistant Emma (Natasha Leggero) going to Helen (Hahn) for flirting advice as she pursues a guy working upstairs but then loses interest when she sees the Spin Doctors on his iPod… apparently that’s a deal breaker.  The third episode featured Alex referring Helen to her therapist Dr. Hu, who she ends up dating instead, while Emma attempts to overshadow everyone while presenting a new men’s campaign to an umbrella company.  Alex attempts to knock Emma back down a peg when her youthful ambition gets the better of her and the result includes men sword fighting with umbrellas.

These plot summaries may not sound like anything new or exciting, but the writing of this show is outstanding, with each of these two episodes being unbelievably smart and funny.  Azaria and Hahn have hilarious on-screen chemistry, and their comic timing and deliveries are superb.  The supporting cast has really started to take to their roles – especially Anthony Head, Leggero, and Joe LeTruglio (MTV’s The State).  The show is quick witted, relatable, and entertaining, and more resembles The Office or SportsNight than the kind of romantic comedies it’s been promoted as.

This is not simply a show about people on the dating rebound, it’s a show about two aging workplace veterans trying to stay at the top of their game, despite the chaos inflicted on their personal lives.  In a season in which terrible comedies are getting all the attention for all the wrong reasons, NBC should find a way to make this show work.  Viewers of their Thursday block will find it much more at home with Community and Parks and Recreation then Whitney.  If you haven’t seen this show, or weren’t sold on the premiere, give it a chance.  This show proves that you can’t always judge a series by the pilot.

Free Agents airs on Wednesdays on NBC.

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