Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


with your Minimum Requirement of Stephen Fry... and some other stuff
October 10, 2013 5:45 PM   Subscribe

CBS made a deal with producer Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl", "Raising Hope", "Yes, Dear") to make two pilots recently. One, "The Millers" with Will Arnett, premiered as a series last week to good ratings and lukewarm reviews. The other remains unsold but CBS (in a semi-unprecedented move) has put the pilot up online. So sit back and waste 22 minutes with a rather "Earl"-esque complex-concept comedy starring Stephen Fry as a loyal butler and Rupert "Ron Weasley" Grint as "SUPER CLYDE".
posted by oneswellfoop (58 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
rupert, where is your adorable voice???
posted by Think_Long at 5:48 PM on October 10, 2013


OH MY GOD HE HAS AN AMERICAN ACCENT

WHAT IS HAPPEN

UNACCEPTABLE

im upset
posted by elizardbits at 5:51 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, his American accent is well-done, but otherwise...

Just seems like it's trying way too hard. And when the first 15 minutes of your pilot rely on voiceover, you should try again.
posted by xingcat at 5:52 PM on October 10, 2013


This is perhaps not the most august production with which Stephen Fry has been associated.
posted by elizardbits at 5:55 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jason Lee had to change his accent for "My Name Is Earl", too... (It's a Greg Garcia go-to)
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:57 PM on October 10, 2013


I'm three minutes in and there are already cameos by Lou Wagner and Todd Giebenhain. I wish I remember where but I read some theory that all the Garcia shows exist in the same universe even though the actors guest star on all the other Garcia shows.
posted by edeezy at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but I kind of loved it. I hope they can make it happen.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:22 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man Will Arnett... will he ever land in a successful series?
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:24 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Rupert's accent suffers from the common misconception that there is one true American accent.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:24 PM on October 10, 2013


That was a pretty fun pilot. I can certainly see why it didn't get picked up, and I'll agree with xingcat that the voiceover was a little much (nothing kills a story like too much exposition, eh?), but pilot episodes are always hard in that respect. My real question is where would the series have gone from there? We'd get some newly rich people acting crazy antics with the brother and sister, some feel-good moments with Gint giving away stuff to strangers, and some butler banter with Fry, but besides that? It's hard to imagine a 22 episode a year season off of the premise. It almost seems like it could work better as a movie. Or am I just being horribly uncreative tonight?

In any case, a surprising gesture from CBS to post the pilot online.
posted by zachlipton at 6:24 PM on October 10, 2013


I didn't hate it, which is more than I can say for most television.
posted by SPUTNIK at 6:29 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


YESSSSSS

As someone who works in TV and lives in Los Angeles I was desperately hoping that Super Clyde would get picked up and I would get a job working on it.

Alas, it seems not destined to happen, but I'll take watching it online as a consolation prize.

That said, how bad is Super Clyde that The Millers got picked up instead? From what I understand The Millers is a (literal?) shitshow.
posted by Sara C. at 6:31 PM on October 10, 2013


Yeah, I mean, it was definitely better than at least 50% of what's on/getting inexplicably renewed now, but that isn't really saying an awful lot.

He is so endearing and ginger though.

ilhsm
posted by elizardbits at 6:32 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


That actually was really enjoyable, and I usually abhor more sit-coms (was not very impressed with My Name Is Earl).

I do, however, like the whole "reward people for being decent human beings" angle, because sometimes we need something like that in the media to at least remind us that not everyone is a selfish prick.
posted by daq at 6:34 PM on October 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Re the voiceover thing, the opening actually reminds me a lot of the Mindy Project pilot.

I sort of get why this show was not picked up, even if it's not flat-out horrible or anything. It just... doesn't make a ton of sense. It's very all over the place, and I think from a network standpoint that's probably the worst thing you can say about a sitcom. Even Seinfeld, the show about nothing, knew what it was.

That said, I am taking copious notes for my own spec pilot, which has a lot of the problems inherent to Super Clyde.

I have no issue with Rupert Grint's American accent. Especially since nothing else in the show makes any goddamn sense, anyway. And he does a not horrible job of being a dull shlumpy burger flipping millionaire.
posted by Sara C. at 6:58 PM on October 10, 2013


I thought that totally sucked and wasn't worth the 12 minutes I made it in hoping it would get better. I had a hard time relating to anyone. They got to grow up in a mansion and had no worry of their next meal? Cry me a river, Batman!
posted by cjorgensen at 6:59 PM on October 10, 2013


Goes to show that there really is no surefire way to select a pilot for production. This wasn't anything amazing, but I'm with other people in the thread: it's better than most of what gets picked up on TV.

I wonder if it got squashed because it was about-as-good as alternatives, but more expensive to produce -- Fry and Grint surely aren't working for scale.
posted by chimaera at 7:00 PM on October 10, 2013


God, Stephen Fry and Rupert Grint really light up a fucking screen, though.

I want to cast both of them in a totally different show that is not this show at all.

I wonder if it got squashed because it was about-as-good as alternatives, but more expensive to produce -- Fry and Grint surely aren't working for scale.

Well, you need names for any series, anyway. Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, and Beau Bridges don't work for scale either.

I do think it's probably about budget at the end of the day, though. The series as conceived is expensive to produce aside from the cast (and it's obvious that they spent their entire casting budget on Fry and Grint, anyway). You've got the rich people locations and toys, which aren't cheap, all those comic book graphics that require a whole special wing of the post-production department, etc. And... for what? How do those expenditures add up on screen and make something people will want to watch?

Say what you will about Chuck Lorre, once you pay the big name stars of his projects, the rest of the show is basically free and can run forever at the same costs, raking in more and more profit every year. The result isn't good, but it's a formula that works for making CBS money in a predictable way.
posted by Sara C. at 7:08 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we have a show that's simply Stephen Fry driving Rupert Grint around in the sidecar of his motorcycle? Because I'd watch that forever.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:15 PM on October 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


YES SO MUCH
posted by Sara C. at 7:17 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sweet and funny. Might have been the rare network sitcom I bothered with.
posted by eugenen at 7:21 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having made my way through it, I think another reason it didn't get picked up is that that part of the pilot that is most likely the story engine for future episodes (surprising the big box employee with a car) was really dull.

If the part that's going to happen every week is the least interesting part of the episode, that's not great.

But still, I would gladly watch PAINT DRIES: THE SHOW starring Rupert Grint and Stephen Fry. So.
posted by Sara C. at 7:40 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sweet and funny, yes. With adorable Rupert Grint and OMG Stephen Fry on a motorcycle with a sidecar to the rescue! I'd watch it. But who wants sweet and funny and discovering that being nice to people can be a super power when they can watch the likes of Walter White?
posted by Anitanola at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2013


Is this is a stunt? I'd put that in the crazy pilot pile with Heat Vision and Jack and Lookwell.

They wouldn't pay Rupert Grint and Stephen Fry money for a show that goofy would they?
posted by Ad hominem at 7:49 PM on October 10, 2013


I don't know. I can see why either of them would take the job. What's Rupert Grint doing these days? He needs a Post Potter Thing, and an American sitcom, why the fuck not? And I think Stephen Fry says yes to everything. And based on previous stuff he's done, I think goofy/treacley is sort of up his alley. The role also is full of nudges to Jeeves and Wooster.

And I don't think the words on the page lead directly to UNWATCHABLE DRECK.

As to whether CBS would want to pay them to make this show, though, clearly not, and it's obvious why that's the case.
posted by Sara C. at 7:59 PM on October 10, 2013


Sara C.,
Obviously, you are in the "business".

Frankly though, I think America kind of needs to treacle and dreck.
Our other options are, as Anitanola states, Walter White. As much as I enjoyed Breaking Bad, I think maybe we should have a little bit of nice on the tellie, to counter so much of the freakshow (reality TV) and crazy (24/7 news).

I know it's kind of a pine for some Ozzie and Harriett, or some nice lies to fall asleep to, and I know I'm getting old, because edgy and mean is so much of actual real life now, it would be maybe nice if our circuses could be a little less gladitorial bloodletting.

But, well, I'm a sap, and this is sappy, and I got choked up with the anti-climactic big box worker getting a car. It was simple. It was sweet. And frankly, it was a nice palate cleanser to everything else in media right now. A little secular humanistic nice people, instead of (Big G) God nice, or the stupid that is most of the other "nice" shit that the morons in programming seem to think will play in Peoria.
posted by daq at 8:15 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just noticed that the pilot for The Millers and this pilot both had fart gags.
posted by cazoo at 8:21 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My issues with it aren't that it's treacly at all.

I actually liked it, in its awkward pilot-ish way. And the best parts about it are its optimism and earnestness.

I just can TOTALLY see why CBS, specifically, would pass on it. They're a very small-c conservative network who have a history of success spoon feeding the public the same types of things that have worked well in the past. This show is way out of left field in terms of style, and CBS doesn't usually take that sort of gamble on shows.
posted by Sara C. at 8:28 PM on October 10, 2013


From the bit I watched it seemed very ABC canceled after a halfseason type of show. Maaaaybe a Fox show from the Malcolm in the Middle days.
posted by Think_Long at 8:51 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we have a show that's simply Stephen Fry driving Rupert Grint around in the sidecar of his motorcycle? Because I'd watch that forever.


Just wanted to repeat this for a signal boost because yes, it would be the best thing. Perhaps an occasional run-in with someone like Hugh Laurie for hijinks and shenanigans.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:55 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's almost embarrassing how few hijinks and shenanigans are in this pilot, considering the stars and the premise.
posted by Sara C. at 8:57 PM on October 10, 2013


Nobody else had trouble getting past the bit where they show you how they're going to deal with the overweight sister character, which is that when she gets bullied she eats raw packaged cookie dough? I can't wait for a season of inspired sight gags like that.
posted by nanojath at 9:00 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I assumed that that particular bit of "character development" might not have gone over very well with test audiences. Do they even DO the test audience thing anymore? I have no idea. But it definitely made me uncomfortable, and I'm not the most sensitive to body positivity issues (i'm working on it, it's getting better).
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 PM on October 10, 2013


FWIW the first thing the sister does when she gets rich is to get skinny via surgery. Which is ridiculous and fucked up, but the whole show is really cartoony.

Also, I'll give them credit for one thing -- after she becomes skinny and hot, her first order of business is to ask out every asshole who made fun of her when she was fat and give them a taste of their own medicine. Which, in this episode, was bringing the spitball guy to some kind of diet clinic/overeaters anonymous thing and having everyone shoot spitballs at him. So it kind of seems like they're at least trying to subvert some fat people media tropes and give the only female character at least a little bit of personality.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say a show about a formerly fat girl who is now a hot woman, getting revenge on all the haters from her entire life week by week is a way more interesting idea for a TV show than the actual show they ended up with. It's too bad they didn't cast a more interesting actress who had the chops to stand up to Fry and Grint.
posted by Sara C. at 9:07 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny because fat people eat a lot.

Sweet Jesus, I only watched three minutes of it, and I wish I hadn't.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:08 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


The fat girl eating a lot jokes reminded me of every time I've been working on a comedic thing, and someone makes a waaaaaaay too easy (and also mean spirited/fucked up) joke. And nobody says anything, and somehow it ends up in the finished thing and gaaaah this is why you can't be afraid to be That Person and just speak up about this stuff.

Because if you don't speak up, the fat girl dips a soft pretzel in nacho sauce while waiting for her plastic surgeon appointment. And America cringes.
posted by Sara C. at 9:23 PM on October 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ha! When I read "Stephen Fry driving Rupert Grint around in the sidecar of his motorcycle" I pictured the leather helmet and goggles on Fry and sure enough there it was when I watched.

I actually really enjoyed the hook of the show and the sweetness but the thing that left me cold is that Clyde solved all his problems by the end so... why keep watching? He found what he needs to feel good about himself and can keep doing it as long as the money's there, and (unless I missed something?) that wasn't presented as an issue. His uncle just kept on doing his thing his whole life and you leave with the impression that Clyde will too.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2013


Also Clyde's thing is exactly his uncle's same thing. I was sure that after his abortive attempt to follow the big box store employee home, he would realize that times have changed and you just can't do that stuff anymore. So he's going to up the ante by helping people in some other more awesome way!

Instead there's this scene where he begs Stephen Fry to help him do this thing that is obviously a bad idea, and Stephen says no, but then he says yes, and they do the ill-advised kinda boring thing that they opened the goddamn show with in the first place. With promise of more of that exact same thing every week for the next 22 episodes. And, if CBS is to make any money, for several years of episodes.

It's like if Six Feet Under's pilot had centered around David deciding to become a funeral director, rather than Nathaniel.
posted by Sara C. at 9:36 PM on October 10, 2013


I had issues with the fat jokes, I thought the premise was excessively treacly, I have a giant chip on my shoulder re: rich people, and I'm not actually the world's biggest fan of Rupert Grint's acting. I watched the whole thing despite myself, though, and was kinda charmed.

That said, I think that the important thing here is that Rupert Grint basically is Clyde, only with children in need of treats instead of random help-needing adults. From the linked [warning: Daily Mail] article:
"I tend to avoid July and August, but the rest of the year I’ll drive around the local villages and if I see some kids looking like they’re in need of ice creams, I’ll pull over and dish them out for free. They’ll say, “Ain’t you Ron Weasley?” And I’ll say, “It’s strange, I get asked that a lot."
Everyone, now: n'awwww.
posted by MeghanC at 12:49 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't watch it here due to stupid region blocking. However! It looks Mr Fry is in similar employment as when he played Wodehouse's Jeeves all those years ago. In other words he is a valet, not a butler. A valet serves one man, a butler serves a household.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:59 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


zachlipton: "...and some butler banter with Fry, but besides that...
.
.
.
In any case, a surprising gesture from CBS to post the pilot online.
"

First off, I neglect to see a downside to the aforementioned butler banter.

Secondly, kudos to CBS for apparently getting some little handle on this whole internet thing.
posted by Samizdata at 1:51 AM on October 11, 2013


The depressing part was when the little kid was reading comics in a flashback and I thought "aha! Kyle Rayner Green Lantern isn't an old comic! It's far too recent to be in a flashback from fifteen... years... aw, Christ."
posted by Shepherd at 3:42 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nobody else had trouble getting past the bit where they show you how they're going to deal with the overweight sister character, which is that when she gets bullied she eats raw packaged cookie dough? I can't wait for a season of inspired sight gags like that.

Garcia takes easy jokes, mean spirited and obvious, and wrings them dry for laughs, until you like laughing at the horrible trope... and then he yanks the rug out from under you. MeMaw in Raising Hope - Senility is funny, amirite? Then the Elder Abuse episode happens. No, she's just eccentric and mean... and she has special needs as an elder, needs that weren't being met. Humanizing the inhumane is a pretty common theme in his work, and he does this by working with the audience's own prejudices and unexamined values, and bringing them to the right place with humor, character and story.

I'm just getting into "My Name is Earl" and it's full of this stuff - I'm pretty impressed, actually. It's never going to meet a strict checklist of proper social attitudes, but on the other hand, it emphasizes that none of us ever will, all we can do is travel in the direction we choose, and work to get closer to where we want to be.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:47 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I love that the series takes place in Camden County, which is apparently somewhere in coastal Arizona.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:52 AM on October 11, 2013


Stephen Fry and Rupert Grint in: Son of Blackadder. Oxford Don Ignatius Melchett leaves college when offered a ludicrous sum to personally tutor the son of billionaire financier (and former student) Edwidge Blackadder. Eddie Jr has lead a privileged life for years but now his dad wants him groomed to join the family business. Upon meeting him, however, Melchett realizes that there is a good soul inside the young man that would be stomped out by such an education. Feeling responsible for the amoral, money-grubbing Edwidge, Melchett decides to teach Eddie to be socially responsible, all the while pretending to follow the elder Blackadder's wishes (which is made easy as Blackadder's longtime personal assistant, Mr. Baldrick, is not exactly the best). Does nature or nurture win out?

Elevator pitch: It's Happy Madison meets Mr. Belvedere with English accents.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


OH MY GOD HE HAS AN AMERICAN ACCENT
WHAT IS HAPPEN
UNACCEPTABLE
im upset


I had the same reaction when "House" came out. Now I know people who don't trust me when I say Hugh is British.
posted by Mezentian at 6:29 AM on October 11, 2013


The fat girl eating a lot jokes reminded me of every time I've been working on a comedic thing,

Or American Horror Story: Coven. Because fat people love midnight chicken legs!

(Especially fat black people is the South because chicken. But then, and this is a derail, I thought the whole opening segment of AHS with the slaves and such would ignite fires out outrage, and I am not especially racially sensitive)
posted by Mezentian at 6:35 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's also that promo for 'Super Fun Night' or whatever that features large women eating copious amounts of food while wondering where all the boys at.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was going to say something about how the heavy narration seems to be a Garcia thing - there was a lot of voiceover narration during My Name Is Earl.

But then I thought about it, and realized - this is a show about someone who has a lot of money and wants to do good works with it...and he's surrounded by a lot of quirky people....

....And then I realized, wait, this show is "My Name Is Earl" all over again. Only with Rupert Grint instead of Jason Lee.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 AM on October 11, 2013


Mezentian: "The fat girl eating a lot jokes reminded me of every time I've been working on a comedic thing,

Or American Horror Story: Coven. Because fat people love midnight chicken legs!

(Especially fat black people is the South because chicken. But then, and this is a derail, I thought the whole opening segment of AHS with the slaves and such would ignite fires out outrage, and I am not especially racially sensitive)
"

Hey now, I am a fat person, and I like chicken 24/7. Hell, I've fixed peoples' computers for a rotisserie chicken. And I am a white guy. Seriously white. Even the hair.

Over all, I liked the show. I thought overall it was pretty good natured and the whole "random acts of kindness" stuff needs covered more nowadays. And preferably with Mr. Fry...
posted by Samizdata at 8:28 AM on October 11, 2013


Can we have a show that's simply Stephen Fry driving Rupert Grint around in the sidecar of his motorcycle? Because I'd watch that forever.

Can I have a life where Stephen Fry drives Rupert Grint and I around in the sidecar of his motorcycle?

Yeah, that'd be the stuff.
posted by BrianJ at 8:59 AM on October 11, 2013


Remove everything except Fry, Grint, the motorcycle, the helmet and goggles and replace it with Tintin-style adventures and then take all my money.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:46 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey now, I am a fat person, and I like chicken 24/7. Hell, I've fixed peoples' computers for a rotisserie chicken.

I usually just fixed computers for the kudoes.
Or, I did before I switched to Linux and WHAT IS VISTA? I DON' EVEN KNOW....

Over all, I liked the show. I thought overall it was pretty good natured and the whole "random acts of kindness" stuff needs covered more nowadays. And preferably with Mr. Fry...

Super Clyde needed an upgrade to Flash, and I wasn't prepared to do that since I assume it will be region-locked, but what you type makes me want to see it more.
posted by Mezentian at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2013


You know, for a show sporting an apparently weightist writing crew, they sure cast a lot of fat people in the episode.
posted by pwnguin at 10:38 AM on October 11, 2013


I was actually pretty impressed with that.
posted by Sara C. at 10:46 AM on October 11, 2013


I also think that shows the problems with blanket "-ist!" thinking. The problem isn't that the writer HATES fat people and wants to make all the worst jokes about them. The problem is that somebody (somebody who probably doesn't think of themselves as a hateful person) went for the easy joke and didn't think. The sister character could be so much more interesting if she were specific. Instead she's a cartoon.
posted by Sara C. at 10:50 AM on October 11, 2013


She wanders off into the beginning of what I'm assuming was to be her future character arc (building a sense of self worth) halfway through, when she leaves on a date with the guy who tormented her as a kid. She's probably the only one in the show with internal conflict, actually. It's just unfortunate that they surrouned her with low hanging fruit jokes, yeah.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:59 AM on October 11, 2013


I think they were getting somewhere with Clyde's general fear/anxiety/germ-phobia thing. Making it that he's afraid to get out in the world and make something of himself rather than that he's just a happy go lucky dude who doesn't need much out of life.
posted by Sara C. at 11:14 AM on October 11, 2013


« Older There has long been protest about the name of Wash...  |  The Secrets of Bezos: How Amaz... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments