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'Undateable' premiere recap: Baby bird leaves the nest

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pilot” | Aired May 29, 2014

On the outside, Undateable is a silly sitcom about a group of guys notorious for epically failing at relationships, and their willingness to invite a self-proclaimed ladies’ man to mentor them in the art of dating. If you take a closer look, it appears Undatealbe is striving to be a dude comedy about dorks who follow the advice of one d-bag. Because the show doesn’t air on HBO or Spike TV, the abrupt vulgarity culturally accepted on cable had to be watered down to locker-room crudeness for network television. As a result, I feel it lost a bit of its intended edge.

But all is not lost. With Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Spin City, Cougar Town) and Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Made of Honor) at the helm, Undateable brings a full range of sarcastic zings, witty one-liners, solid comedic timing, nerd love and prepubescent boy humor. Let’s meet the bros.

Danny Burton (Chris D’Elia) is an attractive, confident lady magnet who has different women parading in and out of his apartment. The distressed jeans, black leather jacket and desire to start a gang called “Los Lobos” screams biker dude. But he thinks of himself as a “soulful Keanu Reeves,” while his lovable sister, Leslie (Bianca Kajlich), affectionately calls him a bum. I’d say Danny is part Rebel Without a Cause, part hobo, with a bit of frat boy social chairman mixed in for good measure.

Because his current roommate is getting buried married, Danny has selected a new cohabiter with one particularly impressive line item on his resume: He owns a bar. WINNER! The watering hole is named Black Eyes, which is often mispronounced as Black Guys. I’m sure this will be a recurring joke, and the verdict is still out on whether it will continue to be funny.

UndateableWe meet Justin (Brent Morin) in the back office of the bar, singing pitch-perfectly along with Cyndi Lauper to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” When Danny harmonizes the last refrain with Justin to tease him, I was convinced that this relationship was going to work. Even though Danny wears a biker jacket and Justin wears biker shorts, it was clearly the beginning of Los Lobos.

Justin introduces Danny to his band of misfit friends. Shelly (Ron Funches) claims to be the “black guy” for which the bar was named. (So far … still funny.) Burski (Rick Glassman) is a mainstream nerd, who turns into a misogynist when he opens his mouth. And Brett (David Fynn) is an English bloke who recently came out of the closet, only to step right back in. He’s perfectly comfortable standing in the proverbial doorway.

Like a moth to a flame, Danny chats up bartendress Nicki (Briga Heelan), to the chagrin of Justin, who has been laying the groundwork to make a move on his employee “for the last 80 weeks.” This information floors Danny, and he takes the naïve one under his wing. It’s suddenly so clear why Justin is in his life; he must feed him sexual knowledge.

It was at this moment that Chris D’Elia improvised a father bird regurgitating its lunch to feed his baby bird. There were noises I’ve never before heard issue forth from a human, accompanied by unfortunate body language. I may have regurgitated my own dinner as a result. He did commit to the bit — I’ll give him that.

Justin swears on Danny’s newly instated (read: totally made up) “Lobo Code” and attempts to impress Nicki with his newfound knowledge. The exchange begins with a quote from Goldilocks, commenting on how she’s juuuust right, and somehow ends with the bar owner miming the act of suffocating Nicki with a pillow through fits of giggles and apologies.

Poor baby bird.

Danny to the rescue! His sister is a wine rep and is hosting a party. What better way to inundate the flock than to observe them out of their natural habitat?

First up? Burski. He approaches a lovely young woman who is practically glowing! Unfortunately, “When is your baby due?” is not a strong icebreaker and he is denied.

Next, Brett becomes tongue-tied when a guy begins flirting with him. In a moment of panic, he professes his love for women and fallopian tubes.

Our little flock is crashing and burning.

Some lessons, however, did stick, and young baby bird spent the night with a girl from the party! They grow up so fast. Justin is given the appropriate accolades from his friends and mentor, but it’s soon discovered that the hottie he hooked up with is none other than Danny’s sister.

Leslie’s apology melts into frustration as she confesses to her brother, who is unwilling to hear the intimate details of the tryst between his sister and roommate, that Justin wouldn’t take advantage of her because she was too fragile from her recent divorce. Disgust turns to rage, and Danny busts into Black Eyes demanding to know: Why Justin didn’t bang his sister?

All is forgiven when Danny realizes Justin is a stand-up, caring guy. And so are his friends. He softens when they share the events of the previous night. Through Danny’s tutelage, Burski talked to a girl for six minutes before she slapped him for mentioning that women shouldn’t earn as much as men. And Brett gave a guy a phone number that was very close to his own digits!

Baby steps.

Danny admits that he’s not good at being alone. Justin slaps him on the back and says that their crew will always be Los Lobos. Then Danny begins to cry. Let’s go ahead and add coffee-shop poet to that expanding list of Danny Burton alter egos.

Undateable‘s impressive cast, made up mostly of stand-up comedians, paired with a pretty solid script leads me to believe that this show just might have what it takes to make it. I’m rooting for Los Lobos! Are you?

Undateable Quotables

Leslie: Creepy sticks, Danny. It’s like herpes. It’s for life.

Justin: I went to choral camp every summer as a kid. I was the first male Annie.

Danny: When is the right moment [to ask Nicki out]?
Justin: A Tuesday. In the fall. Because that’s when my wardrobe is at its best. But not too late in the fall, so I can still have a tan. At dusk. Magic hour.

Brett: I can’t go out tonight. I’m dressed like a chubby Marty McFly.

Danny: What happened to going out with Asian Zac Efron?
Leslie: He went home with white Rhianna.

Undateable, rated TV-14, airs Thursdays at 9/8 C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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