September 15, 2011 7:34am PT by Lindsay Powers
'Up All Night:' What Critics Are Saying
Up All Night and Free Agents premiered on NBC Wednesday night.
Up All Night marks Christina Applegate's return to network TV. The comedy -- about two exhausted new parents -- also stars Will Arnett, Bridesmaids' Maya Rudolph and Nick Cannon. It's produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels.
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So what are reviewers saying about the new fall show?
The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic Tim Goodman thinks Up All Night "could break out this year" thanks to the chemistry between Applegate and Arnett.
"It cleverly touches on all the hardships a new addition brings, along with the joy — and manages to do this without being so sappy you want to hang yourself," Goodman writes.
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"Credit creator and writer Emily Spivey (Parks and Recreation) for getting the tone just right, from jokes about when the couple find out they’re pregnant (“Stop saying, ‘There’s a baby in there’ like it’s a baby in a closet with a knife”) to their combined astonishment and horror that they now have to care for it (Arnett and Applegate swearing about how cute the baby is works perfectly well, as does their exasperated exhaustion)," he adds.
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"Arnett is exceptional here, able to ratchet down the manic absurdism he already does so brilliantly and play the comedy at a quieter level. Applegate is also excellent and might have finally found the sitcom that has the writing to showcase her comic timing," he includes.
David Wiegand writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that the show "has a great cast, crisp writing and, most important, the potential for plot and character elements to maintain our interest beyond the premiere. "
He says the show is balanced "between the reality-based humor of a young couple coping with their new baby and their evaporating youth, and the SNL-sketch-like satire of a powerful and powerfully self-involved talk show hostess." (Rudolph plays the talk-show host who urges Applegate, who plays her producer, to return to work as soon as possible.)
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Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times says that "newborns have no business in comedy."
"A baby changes everything…Unfortunately, a baby also changes television comedy, forcing writers to tiptoe through jokes and babyproof their story lines," she writes in her review. "Network television has grown remarkably callous and blasé about all kind of things, including rape, adultery and masturbation, but there is still a taboo against child endangerment."
Robert Lloyd in the Los Angeles Times calls the pilot of the show "tight and often funny."
"The show can be, in odd passing moments, unexpectedly, almost nervily touching," he writes. "Imagining their life far into the future, Applegate tells her daughter, 'Then one day when you come to visit me in the nursing home and they ask me who's there to see me, I'll say, 'It's my daughter, Amy.'"