'The Crazy Ones' Pilot Review: Williams, Gellar, And Wolk Make A Great Team
Robin Williams can play zany, funny, outrageous, schizophrenic, ground, sad, animated genie, crazy homeless guy, and by play I don't mean he can play each individually. Williams can play all at the same in a mad burst of energy. Robin William’s style isn't for everyone. He's super-charged. He's like the only actor who lended his voice to an animated character who was more bombastic than the animated character. I think Robin Williams would wear the genie out.
Robin Williams stars in David E. Kelley's newest sitcom about a down-on-its-luck advertising agency that's losing credibility and clients. He dominates the action. Critics mostly focused on his performance in reviews. The set design includes a giant portrait of the Robin Williams character. The Crazy Ones is the Robin Williams vehicle. He didn't want to play Dungeons & Dragons on Harmontown, but he's more than happy to accept a high salary to work for/with David E. Kelley.
David E. Kelley lets Robin be Robin for the episode. He's zany and funny for awhile. James Wolk works really well with him. Their off-the-cuff song during a meeting with Kelly Clarkson is inspired and fun. James Wolk stole hearts and minds as Bob Benson this past summer on Mad Men. Wolk went from playing the bland guy on that president show Greg Berlanti created, which USA aired in summer 2012, to the mysterious and dynamic Bob Benson. Wolk's terrific in his few scenes. The sexually charged recording with Kelly Clarkson is the best part of the "Pilot." Kelly Clarkson, whom the agency is trying to get for a jingle, wants to re-do her image so she can sex about sex. Oh, Kelly Clarkson sings about sex all right. I'd watch Robin Williams and James Wolk woo clients weekly.
Sarah Michelle Gellar also stars in the series as the daughter of the Robin Williams character. Most notably, Sarah Michelle Gellar sings in the third act of the episode in a desperate attempt to keep Kelly Clarkson's services. The firm is desperate. Sarah didn't want to sing for "Once More, With Feeling," the season six musical episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Sarah sang, though, and sang really well in "Once More, With Feeling." The "Pilot" is limiting for Sarah, unfortunately. She's the complete package as an actress. On Buffy, she could make you laugh and cry, and do both those things at the same time. On The Crazy Ones, she plays the straight woman to Robin Williams and James Wolk. The secretary gets funnier lines than Sarah. Sarah can be funny; let Sarah be funny, David E. Kelley.
The heart of the series is the father/daughter relationship. Like many modern sitcoms, The Crazy Ones is silly fun for 2/3s of the episode until the third act arrives and one needs a dose of heart to remember what feeling feels like. Robin Williams works with the material very well. Sarah Michelle Gellar's always been wonderful in heartfelt moments. I think The Crazy Ones has a winning formula. It's fun, funny, and heartfelt. Robin Williams, James Wolk, and SMG make a great team.