Episode Title: "Pilot"
Writers: Jonah Hill, Andrew Mogel, and Jarrad Paul
Director: Philip Hackinson
Even though Fox renewed "The Simpsons" for at least two more years and has almost enough Seth MacFarlane cartoons to fill up a single night of programming, the network seems determined to find its next breakout animated hit.
Rest assured, that show is not "Allen Gregory."
There are plenty of mediocre animated series and sitcoms on TV, but "Allen Gregory" exists in a class all by itself. Jonah Hill plays the title character, a snobbish and cultured seven year old boy who lives with his two gay dads, Richard DeLongpre (French Stewart) and Jeremy DeLongpre (Nat Faxon), as well as Allen's adopted (and emotionally mistreated) sister, Julie (Joy Osmanski). The entire premise of the pilot is that financial issues are causing Richard to force Jeremy to get a job; which in turn means that Allen Gregory has to go to public school for the first time.
If the title character was even slightly sympathetic, that basic plot could have worked. But instead, Allen Gregory is an insufferable brat who treats everyone around him with disdain or worse. He loves no one but himself and he has no redeeming qualities at all. You may point out that Eric Cartman on "South Park" is similar in that regard, but at least Cartman is hilarious.
"Allen Gregory" commits the cardinal sin of comedy: it just isn't funny. A good deal of the blame for that has to sit on the shoulders of Jonah Hill, who co-created and co-wrote the pilot episode in addition to his starring role. Hill gives Allen Gregory his normal speaking voice instead of something that would allow the character to sound young or distinct. But there is nothing special or inherently amusing about Hill's delivery.
It feels like the writers believed that their show was a lot funnier and edgier than it actually is. Take for example, a scene in which Allen Gregory meets the elderly (and quite obese) Principal Gina Winthrop (Leslie Mann) and promptly has a disgusting visualized sexual fantasy about her, all to the tune of "In The Air Tonight." So... thanks for ruining Phil Collins for everyone!
And get this, when Winthrop shoots Allen Gregory down, he rips a massive fart and craps his pants. Wait, you mean there's bad toilet jokes too? This show has everything!
Most of the supporting characters don't come off any better. When this show was pitched, having the two gay dads probably came off as a progressive touch. But in execution, Richard DeLongpre is almost as reprehensibly humorless as his son. If Richard's constant putdowns and verbal slams of his husband, Jeremy were funny then they would be a lot more tolerable. But instead it gets old by the third time we see them and it doesn't let up until the end.
The only glimmers of hope for this series are Joy Osmanski's Julie and Nat Faxon's Jeremy. They aren't funny either, but at the very least, they have some sympathetic characteristics. Although I did lose sympathy for Jeremy's ordeal when he mentioned that he abandoned his wife and child to be with Richard, a man who treats him like s***.
The primary impression I got from this series was that Hill, Andrew Mogel, and Jarrad Paul looked at "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "South Park" and essentially said, "We can do that!"
Except making a good animated series isn't as easy as the other shows make it look. More than any other series in recent memory, "Allen Gregory" was agony to sit through and there is no reason to ever come back and watch it again. This horrible show exists as little more than a vanity project for Hill and his cohorts. But hopefully not for long...
Crave Online Rating: 0 out of 10.