Is Super Fun Night an Australian comedy? Well, since you ask… no. It’s made in the USA by an USA network for USA audiences. And yet here we are, about to have a whinge about it anyway. Our excuse? It stars “Australia’s own” Rebel Wilson as both lead and series creator. Plus we talked about the US version of Wilfred that one time so it’s totally fair enough, okay?
We’re filing this one under “overseas sales” even though it’s not a remake of a local series because if you squint your eyes a little it’s kind of obvious that this is just Wilson’s latest attempt to peddle a comedy persona she’s been working pretty much non-stop since she left Pizza: the fat chick with a heart of gold who’s also kind of a tramp but not knowingly so but she’s still a tramp so yeah. Hey, remember when she said this:
“Kimmie is prissy in a way.” Wilson paused. “It would be nice if there were hearts on her clothes. She believes in true love, and that’s part of what gets her out of the house.”
And then dressed like this:
So yeah, there’s that. Sometimes you just have to go for the big laugh.
Meanwhile, what did Fairfax TV reviewer Tony Squires have to say about it?
Super Fun Night copped a hammering from US critics, but its first few episodes gathered a strong following from audiences. People want Wilson to succeed because she appears to be an everywoman, dealing in knockabout, self-deprecating humour.
Give it a crack. You only stand to lose half an hour of your life.
Gee, so the people with an educated opinion thought it was crap but morons loved it so you’re going to side with the morons? Clearly we place a value on our time slightly higher than “whatever, you’ll be dead soon anyway”.
That said, we did actually watch the first episode and… yeah, it was crap. Two minutes into the episode and we’d already seen a toilet joke, a “whoops, check out my embarrassing underwear” joke (different underwear than the photo above, mind you, which suggests we’re going to be seeing a lot of Ms Wilson’s scanties) and a cutaway joke which… okay, they’re an accepted part of comedy now, but if you can’t do them better than Scrubs (or The Simpsons, or even Family Guy), then don’t bother.
What follows is a bog-standard US sitcom of the “utterly generic” variety featuring the occasional scene designed to play to Wilson’s strengths, which are fat jokes and singing. She has two friends – an Asian Nerd and a Butch Gal – there’s a Cute Guy at her workplace who already seems into her and she likes him back so presumably the only reason they’re not together is because he doesn’t root fat chicks, and a Blonde Bitch type who by week six will turn into either everyone’s friend or Ms Babcock from The Nanny. Wasn’t The Nanny a good show? Yes, yes it was.
Reportedly Super Fun Night is doing well in the ratings in the US, but some seem to think that’s more due to it getting a massive lead-in from Modern Family than any inherent quality in the show itself. It’s hard to see Super Fun Night being any kind of long-term hit: Wilson’s act works best in small doses, while the supporting cast are totally forgettable and the set-up is clearly going to be ditched the second they can think of something better.
Ironically, the one thing that seems to be dragging in all the praise – having Wilson playing a strong, independent woman despite her size – is the thing that seems certain to kill the comedy. Elaine on Seinfeld was a bundle of neuroses, and 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon was a slobby sexless nerd. In contrast, Wilson’s character is outgoing, good at her job, is briefly worried about singing karaoke but overcomes that, and likes a workmate who seems to like her back. Being a self-confident winner despite her XXL size works fine for comedy in tiny doses, but week in week out? Comedy and role models don’t mix.