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Review: Despite a timely presence, 'The Great Indoors' cannot escape generic sitcom territory

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CBS

Millennials have begun their takeover of the world. Older, more experienced professionals have started getting replaced by young, energetic millennials who have no idea how the world works.

At least, this is the main idea behind the new CBS comedy series, “The Great Indoors.”

The series stars Joel McHale as Jack Gordon, a rough and manly journalist who works as a field reporter for an outdoor adventure magazine. It also helps that he has the most stereotypical name possible for a wilderness adventurer.

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When the magazine hits tough times, it must switch to a primarily digital method of publication, a relevant issue faced by many media outlets today.

The now-digital magazine makes the decision to hire a group of young, intelligent millennials in order to increase its social media presence, much to Jack’s dismay.

The show fails to make use of this timely premise and results in a stereotypical, mediocre sitcom with most jokes falling flat. It's unfortunate career step for McHale, who previously starred in the brilliant and critically-acclaimed comedy series “Community” for six seasons.

In both “Community” and “The Great Indoors,” McHale plays a similar, narcissistic man’s man of a character. In "Community," he had a talented cast and brilliant writers behind him, but “The Great Indoors” does not provide these elements, instead settling for poor acting and forced jokes typical of a CBS sitcom.

The series does try to address relevant ideas about how millennials now fit into the workforce as well as the changing world of journalism, but these issues merely present a framework for the show’s disastrous comedy elements.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays one of the newly hired millennial “journalists” in a role also beneath his talents. Mintz-Plasse may not be the funniest or the most talented comedian, but at one point he had starring roles in hilarious films such as “Superbad” and “Role Models,” so to see him appear on an average network sitcom signifies what may spark the downfall of his career.

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The rest of the cast also give performances with nothing particularly notable other than disappointment. In general, the writing and acting present nothing noteworthy at all.

The series revolves around the idea of Jack, an experienced professional, trying to fit in and take charge in a workplace now dominated by young people with no journalistic sense, if you can even refer to an outdoor adventure magazine as journalism.

Apart from a few chuckle-worthy jokes, nothing about the show feels new, fresh, funny, or exciting.

The pilot just premiered Thursday, so the show should still have time to improve as the season progresses. Based on what we've seen so far though, that seems highly unlikely.

Luckily, the series premiere did feature an adorable bear cub, the most memorable aspect of the entire episode. In a comedy series, however, if something like that ends ups being more enjoyable than any of the characters or jokes, that says a lot about the quality of the writing.

We should all feel bad for Joel McHale for having to star in a show like this. Let’s just hope, for his sake as well as our own, that “Community” eventually returns for another season.

Grade: C-


 Follow Alec Kuehle on Twitter



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Updated December 3, 2021