TV Thursdays: The Last TV Show With Robin Williams Starring In It (The Crazy Ones)


Like I mentioned earlier in the week, it’s a very sad week that we as a nation and globe connected through social media may never fully ‘get over’; after the death of one of the most loved, respected, and popular TV and movie personalities ever- Robin Williams. It was shocking, it was unexpected, and soon enough, the tweets and messages flooded in from fans and his celebrity friends and acquaintances. I even wrote a post about my initial reactions, and writing down some personal thoughts, in the hope that people get some closure, healing, hope and understanding from this tragic and senseless mess. Now I think that it is only fitting that I delve into The Crazy Ones for this TV Thursday- the short lived 1 season CBS comedy TV show that would turn out to be Robin’s last role ever (not including the 4 movies in post production right now that Robin starred in, in some capacity). It’s an interesting show, although sometimes a little bit too procedural, and some people have said that if the show was renewed that Robin would still be alive. Well, that’s a very tricky subject matter, and one that I hope to answer with as little controversy as I can.

The Crazy Ones starred Robin as Simon, an ad executive and head of the company Lewis, Roberts and Roberts, and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter Sydney who works with him. Rounding out his work team was Zach (James Wolk), Andrew (Hamish Linklater) and Lauren (Amanda Setton), and in each episode they had to solve a problem for a client, and sometimes broke the law or used unconventional methods to please the client, much to the displeasure of Gordon, the other head of the company (Brad Garrett). That was it, that was the show. Simple enough, huh? The show, from the synopsis, sounds quite tame, and maybe even uninteresting- after all haven’t office workplace comedies already been done before, namely The Office starring Steve Carrell?

Though The Crazy Ones wasn’t Robin’s finest work (his heyday was in fact in the 90’s in my personal opinion), the 22 episodes were entertaining in their own right, and showed Robin improvise his comedy a bit and utilise the other 4 main actors well- each of them had a chance throughout the 22 episodes to show off their comedy acting chops, each with varying degrees of success. Brad Garrett played off Robin well also, as the main antagonist/misunderstood anti-hero type person, and as stand alone episodes, these were probably the best TV show episodes of the 2013/2014 season, new comedy-wise.

Yet for me it seemed like the character development in one episode for numerous characters were simply erased in the next. If in one episode, Simon and Sydney had a heart to heart and talked about a few things, the next episode has them bickering, and not mentioning their previous conversation. Zach, always the ladies man, bedded a different woman every couple of weeks, and seemed to be stuck as a man child for the entire season. Andrew has a flip flop on/off romance with his girlfriend Nancy, and also had burgeoning feelings for Sydney, yet the season (series) finale had Andrew and Sydney kiss, but felt nothing. It was these little moments that dragged the show down, and when you look at the ratings (a 3.9 demo in episode 1 all the way to a 1.3 by episode 22) it’s evident why the show was cancelled- people tuned off when they found the characters not developing at a rate that they wanted them to. It may not have been the actors fault, or the creator’s for that matter, but the matter remained that The Crazy Ones was a great concept on paper, but it’s execution wasn’t up to scratch for CBS standards (it may have survived on NBC though).

Given that this was Robin Williams’ last TV show ever, I’d imagine The Crazy Ones would be a cult classic in the years to come, and it’s a shame that it takes someone dying for the show to be popular. As far as the fact that Robin would have been alive if the show was renewed, I think that assumption isn’t really based in anything concrete. Because as far as I know, Robin was suffering from depression and other ailments, and that doesn’t just go away overnight- renewing a show he was starring in wasn’t going to change his condition. If the show was renewed, it would have been a pity renewal anyway.

It’s going to be hard to watch Robin Williams’s movies from now, considering that he’s not with us anymore, however someday I will be able to watch a movie with him in it, without crying or breaking down or… I don’t know because I haven’t seen anything with Robin Williams in it since The Crazy Ones when he was still alive. But I think that in time, watching a show/movie starring Robin will be easier, as we celebrate the life he lived, the lives he touched with his laughter, and the hope he gave us through the heartfelt and poignant messages and characters he portrayed. Its your choice if you want to watch The Crazy Ones or not given what I just told you about the show, but as far as I know, I will probably re-watch it in a few years time, as it’s another way to remember Robin as the fun, happy-go-lucky and inspirational person that he was.

Til next time!

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