I’m not willing to say that Sean Saves the World is a good show. Hell, even saying it’s mediocre sounds more positive than I want to. But somehow, I am finding myself less irritated week to week by the show that once grated on my nerves so badly. Maybe I’ve just been worn down. Or maybe there’s some goodwill runoff from the episodes of Community and Parks and Recreation that air before it. Or maybe, just maybe, Sean Saves the World is becoming a more competent show.
When Sean Saves the World first started, the most egregious error it was making was the overabundance of laugh-track use. Not only has it toned down quite a bit, but apparently the show is now, or will in the future, start using a live studio audience. Regardless if it’s already started or not, the show has made the laughter at least tolerable.
But more importantly, Sean Saves the World is using its characters much better than it originally did. Sean has calmed down a bit, even though his plots largely remain generic ’80s-’90s plots. In “I Know Why the Caged Bird Zings,” Sean runs into Colin, a tall Brit that he used to date, and the two plan another date. Lorna and Liz know that Sean became an emotional—and bearded—mess after Colin quit seeing him, so they sabotage the date by texting Colin from Sean’s phone that he went crazy last time they stopped seeing each other. So when the date does go down, everything Sean says makes him appear to be insane. This type of story would feel perfectly normal in the NBC comedies of the ’80s and ’90s, except for now the people on the date are two men. (Side note, I would bet all my money that the coffee shop the two go to is reusing the old coffee shop set from Frasier.)
At the very least, Sean Saves the World does counterbalance Sean’s stories with weird plots, most often revolving around Max. In this episode, Max has too many cockateels, which he can’t have at his apartment. So Max leaves them in the care of Hunter, who then drops them off at Sean’s house, so when Sean and Colin go back to Sean’s place, Sean looks even more insane thanks to his bird-filled apartment.
Even if the Sean story is bland—and it usually is—there is at least the other, weirder side to make things enjoyable. No matter how generic the writing might be at times, Echo Kellum and Thomas Lennon at least sell their lines, often to great success. Even in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Zings,” Sean pulls off a few funny lines due to the confusion of the date.
Sean Saves the World might never be as good as the first half of NBC’s Thursday night comedy block, but at least it’s trying to get better, and for the most part, succeeding.