ABC Family has a new comedy on offer: Kevin From Work which is being shot in single cam, versus multi-cam, and sadly, it tries too hard to be funny. Hulu has the new half-hour sitcom pilot up for viewing before the official air date of August 12. There are moments that amuse and the writers include at least one pop culture reference. The Karate Kid is mentioned, the original and not the remake, where Kevin says Audrey’s boyfriend may be “the evil karate instructor” and it works well enough but it feels like a token effort.
Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Terminator Salvation) the show deals with Kevin’s (Noah Reid) unrequited love for the girl in the cubicle next to his. Kevin gets a job in Italy and before he goes, he writes a letter expressing his feelings about Audrey. His job overseas falls through and the girl he thought he would never see again will read the letter and he will not be in Italy when she does. He tries to get back the letter and save the situation from becoming uncomfortable. The pilot then tries to cram as much as humanly possible into its half-hour time slot.
Perhaps having a cast of unknowns hinders the show’s ability to connect with the viewer. Although Reid has an impressive amount of credits after working in the industry since 1996 he, like the rest of the cast, is not a readily recognizable performer. Newcomer Paige Spara plays the love interest and perhaps the best known member of the cast; Jordan Hinson (she played Colin Ferguson’s daughter Zoe in Eureka ) is Kevin’s baby sister Roxie, “Not Roxanne, that sounds slutty,” she says before flashing her boobs at the cute guy in the car next to her.
Amy Sedaris, plays the “boss from Hell” Julia, and in terms of experience this actress has 83 credits since her start in the business back in 1991 but again, she is not a recognizable figure. Casting is part of the problem as the actors do not really gel in the pilot although this may change later. It could be the amount of gags that the creator has attempted to cram in a 22 minute runtime that stifles any chemistry that could have been achieved. That and the amount of stereotypical “comic characters” introduced in the show.
The “heavy” roommate with issues and a hearty sexual appetite, the gay muscle man who is Kevin’s best friend, the wacky sister, the sexual predator and “cougar” boss, and an entire office full of geeky people. The love interest being a gorgeous girl, in the cubicle beside Kevin, who is perfect and has the douche boyfriend, the list of types goes on.
Rather annoyingly the best bit of Kevin from Work is the teaser trailer for the show. That may well be because the pace is quick, the action snappily edited and none of the characters have too much screen time.
This sitcom may grow into a very funny and topical series. ABC Family has a good track record with their lineups, better than ABC proper where the quick demise of the Karen Gillan, John Cho comedy Selfie springs to mind, but this looks like a case of kitchen sink humor; every bit of schtick including the kitchen sink has been thrown into the mix.
Kevin from Work suffers from the three F syndrome. Flat, Forced and False. The comedy as well as the chemistry between the actors is flat, the humor is forced and the whole situation, from start to finish feels false. The best sitcoms have a grain of truth amidst the comedic chaos and this latest offering from the network lacks the one essential ingredient it needs to make it work.
The pilot airs Wednesday, August 12. This may develop into a very funny show in time, but right now, the wisest decision may be to give this one a miss.