This week served up a double dose of Up All Night to close out the first half of the retooled season—the last couple of episodes before the new (second) retooling that will result in the show being shot in a multi-camera format and in front of an audience.
Luckily “First Snow” starts off with the Brinkleys going to get a Christmas photo, and comedian DC Pierson makes a cameo. That put me in a good mood, but then the rest of the episode slowly starts going downhill. Chris and Reagan attempt to write a Christmas newsletter after reading Gene and Terry’s fun-filled letter. They realized they’ve been so busy that they did not get anything worth writing about accomplished, so they make their way up north to take Amy to see her first snow.
Unfortunately the fight over how Reagan embellishes the newsletter bounces back and forth until it is revealed that she and Chris are a little unsatisfied with their lives—Reagan because she no longer is producing the talk show and is a stay-at-home mom and Chris because his construction business isn’t as successful as he’d like. Of course, in the end, it all turns out OK as they end up in a desert and not a snowcapped mountain. The two realize it’s not the destination, it’s the journey together that makes it all worth living.
Meanwhile, Ava is depressed because her accountant took away her credit cards due to her lack of income and her knack for buying extravagant Christmas gifts. Like the Brinkleys, all turns out well as Scott reminds her that even though it has been a rough year, things will turn around. She’s determined to give the Brinkleys the best Christmas present ever and eventually gives them Amy’s first snow experience right in their own backyard.
The two stories parallel the Up All Night saga pretty well. Even though the first half of this season was rough and didn’t live up to the first season, maybe the newly retooled second half of the season will do just fine. After all, the second episode from this week reminded me of how cute and funny the show can be.
“The Wedding” is entirely a flashback of Chris and Reagan’s wedding, and it provides a lot of funny insight into the Brinkleys early life and how Ava got her talk show.
While Reagan doesn’t want a big wedding, Chris begs her to have one even though she thinks it will turn into a disaster. Of course, it does when Ava turns the attention on herself after announcing she got her own talk show and Scott reveals he knocked up Connie after dating for a month.
The interactions of the pre-married couple were very sweet and showed how much chemistry Will Arnett and Christina Applegate have when the writers aren’t making them bicker once an episode. It was also hilarious to see Ava’s annoyance with Walter, her musical sidekick she eventually fires.
Up All Night’s bumpy second season closed with Chris and Reagan happily married standing in their home until Ava comes in and reminds them, “Finally, it’s just us.” And maybe that’s what the show needs to do. As much as I wanted to see the Brinkleys’ story focus on them raising the baby, it just didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Instead they should focus on the friendships between Chris, Reagan, Scott and Ava and strip away all of the excess the show has been trying to force into each episode.