As many have said, the last few years have been sort of a renaissance for television. In everything from Breaking Bad to Adventure Time, we’ve seen that audiences appreciate having more to sink their teeth into. There’s something great about keeping up with a series, enjoying all the intricacies and hints, all while enjoying a new episode week to week. In many cases, every episode is so important, since the characters have evolved so much after each new episode.
But then there are still shows like The Crazy Ones.
Now I’m not saying that The Crazy Ones needs to have some deep mythology, filled with smoke monsters or Yellow Kings, but it desperately needs to have something!
We are seventeen episodes deep into The Crazy Ones first season, with only five episodes left. Including commercials, that’s eight and a half hours of The Crazy Ones that have aired so far, yet I genuinely can’t recall one story arc that has mattered, one joke that has made me laugh, hell, even one character development of any significance. Not even one. Nothing in seventeen episodes has made any impact.
There have been little jokey additions to the Simon and Sydney characters that have given some background on who these people are, but nothing actually integral. Worst of all, look at poor Amanda Setton as Lauren. The only things we know about her is that she has slept with Zach (who hasn’t?) and that she’s almost certainly a literal crazy one.
“Heavy Meddling” actually continues a storyline from last week of Sydney getting a boyfriend, a unemployed, homeless guy who is now living with her, the first time a story has gone on for more than one episode. It seems like he could be the key to making Sydney calm down a bit, maybe breathe some new life into this show or at the very least give us an interesting relationship to follow. But no, Robin Williams has to come and ruin all of that.
Simon gives Sydney’s new boyfriend, Owen, a job at the office, and as soon as he finds out that Owen has a fear of babies, he throws him into a room conveniently filled with babies to kick him out of it. This leads Owen and Sydney’s relationship, both personal and business, to end, sending him out of the office and all potential for this show going right out the door with him.
Meanwhile, Zach has just returned from a vacation, which left Andrew to collaborate with someone else who is much more supportive. When Zach hears about this betrayal, Andrew and Zach decide to take some time apart from each other, but by episode’s end, they’re back to working together again.
At this point, The Crazy Ones hasn’t evolved a bit since the pilot, and it seems content to maintain the lowest common denominator. Even the worst CBS sitcoms evolve at least by accident. The Crazy Ones almost acts like it is forcing itself to stay the same when all it needs to do it move forward to improve. Really guys, at this point any change at all can only be an improvement.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.