TV Review: 'Mulaney'

...Mulaney knows enough to feature a ringer or two, beginning with Martin Short, who plays his loopy comedian and game-show-host boss, Lou Cannon. Short is a tremendous physical comedian, and he can sell the gags that Mulaney can’t quite pull off. Thankfully, the show makes great use of Short’s talents. Not only does he careen around the set, he has ingenious comic timing. Cannon tells Mulaney that he likes “fast setups and slow punch-lines,” which seems to apply to Short himself, though there are times when his fast setups are followed by rapid-fire punch-lines, too.

Not every character is so well served by the material. Mulaney and Motif’s third roommate, Jane (Nasim Pedrad), is especially problematic. Though Pedrad doesn’t sound like a stand-up, Jane is obviously underdeveloped, and thrown into subplots that focus on typical—if not offensive—female storylines and stereotypes...The offense only gets worse when you realize that she’s the only one of the three roommates who, after the first few episodes, doesn’t have a clear profession. (Motif and Mulaney are both, predictably, comedians.) She’s another female character on TV who’s defined by her relationships with men, whether it’s her platonic friendship with Mulaney or her train-wreck romances. If Mulaney really seeks to emulate Seinfeld, it should seek to turn Jane into as vibrant and singular a character as Elaine Benes...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

Bustle TV Coverage: 9/22/2014 to 10/5/2014

Fall TV means lots and lots of Bustle posts. Recently, I...

...marveled at how much British TV David Tennant has done that hasn't hopped the pond.

...coped with the loss of Trophy Wife by tracking down Michaela Watkins' other projects.

...discovered that it's super weird to see H. Jon Benjamin and Dan Mintz, who play Bob and Tina Belcher on Bob's Burgers, talking to each other in real life.

...traced the Elliott Gould's career highlights leading up to his across-the-hall hippie neighbor role on Mulaney.

...made a slideshow of all the guest stars coming to The Simpsons this season (including Don Hertzfeldt, an animator who did an amazing couch gag for the premiere).

...placed The Simpsons in the timeline of the longest-running shows on television (it's getting up there).

...uncovered Stephanie Beatriz's theater background before Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

...discovered Ryan Hansen's elusive wife, who was Kristen Bell's best friend and only witness at her wedding.

...caught up with both Sabrina and Jeremiah from Return to Amish.

TV Review: 'Gotham"

'Gotham' Is No Place for Nice Guys

...From the series premiere, it looks like Gotham fits somewhere between Burton’s and Nolan’s creations, not quite as stylized as the former, but not quite as contemporary as the latter. It’s dark—even the daytime scenes feel overcast—and the streets feature little retro touches, like checkered cabs. The striking visuals make clear that Gotham really is about the city first and foremost. While the first episode mostly follows Gordon, it does so to explore the city’s institutions (legal and illegal), how they overlap with each other, how each vies for control.

The institutions are premised on the individuals they affect as well as those who wield power. And, like most first episodes, this one offers a quick overview of the series’ players. Gotham feels like a fully populated town, almost akin to The Simpsons’ Springfield. Batman fans will recognize a few of the names, like Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley), and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). Since it’s too early in the Batman timeline for them to give in wholly to their villainous tendencies, right now they’re just townsfolk, however eccentric...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

Bustle TV Coverage: 9/8/2014 to 9/21/2014

I was about to interview the creator of the WGN America series Manhattan. He told me about writing strong female characters, the crazy parties that happened in Los Alamos, and what might be in store for a second season (since the show isn't just about the bomb). 

I also...

...loved Donal Logue's Bullock in Gotham so much, I traced the other Bullocks from movies and TV. 

...explored the charms of Reid Scott, who plays Dan Egan on Veep.

...speculated about the chances for renewal for You're the Worst and Married, and about whether the move to Sunday would be good or bad for Brooklyn Nine-Nine (illustrated with a lot of amazing Andy Samberg faces).

...found out who created the Miss America pageant, and what the winner gets.

Photo Credit: WGN

Bustle: 8/25/2014 to 9/7/2014

Boardwalk Empire returns tonight for its last season!

For Bustle, I wrote an appreciation of Sally Wheet, Patricia Arquette's character. Between Boardwalk Empire and Boyhood, Arquette is having a heck of a year.

I also...

...wrote about how Frozen is the highest-grossing movie by a female (co-)director. It's sitting at No. 5 right now, and the next woman is at No. 74.

...explained what the whole Stand Up to Cancer thing was (and why it's worthy).

...became really jealous about Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele's job as creative director of Chopard jewelry.

...opined that we still have a long wait before Sherlock and True Detective return.

...wrote about the time that the director of Factory Girl called Brittany Murphy's husband "a con artist and a bad man."

Image: Macall Pollay

Bustle TV Coverage: 8/11/2014 to 8/24/2014

Recently, on Bustle, I...

...wondered what's next for Anna Paquin after True Blood.

...opined that I want a BFF like Tina Majorino.

...contemplated the complexities of making a historical show with entirely fictional characters, like Manhattan.

...rejoiced that Miss J is no longer fired from America's Next Top Model.

...told the fashionable cord-cutters how to watch America's Next Top Model online.

...then explained to the unfashionable Project Runway fans who YouTube fashion icon Bethany Mota is.

Photo courtesy of HBO.