NVTV 30: Mulaney "Sweet Jane"

Mulaney had its best episode yet this week, though it's still very much at war with its format and likely to die by falling on that sword. Despite that grim inevitability, this was a pretty major win for Mulaney as it finally gave Motif something to do besides "black guy stuff," it got excellent mileage out of show MVP Nasim Pedrad, and it continued to lean into its knack for darkness. 

All three plot lines mostly worked, John's girl of the week was very funny (and officially acknowledged the Seinfeld criticism), and Martin Short continues to make Lou Cannon more compelling than the writing ought to allow. Even Andre was good this week, as the show now seems to hate him just as much as we viewers do.

On the downside, Elliot Gould's Oscar continues to be a massive disappointment on both a writing and performance level, and the show might want to think about cutting back his role to more of an occasional guest start type thing. The live studio audience continues to murder the show's comic rhythm, and the writing still has a bad habit of occasionally over-explaining itself. 

All in all, the show continues to be what it has been, but better. Depending on whether you count Bad Judge as still among the living, Mulaney is probably the second or third most enjoyable (though Black-Ish is an objectively more sound show) remaining new sitcom behind Selfie. That's not the compliment it may initially appear to be, as even Selfie is just "pretty ok," and Mulaney is only a step or two north of "bad." This has been a grim season full of promising shows that can't seem to put the pieces together, and while Mulaney is funnier than most of them, it's certainly under that same disappointing umbrella.