Super Fun Night: TV review

In her new sitcom, Rebel Wilson trades in her edge for dull jokes about Spanx.

Photograph: Colleen Hayes
Liza Lapira, Lauren Ash and Rebel Wilson star in Super Fun Night on ABC

The decision to scrap the very mediocre pilot episode of Super Fun Night in exchange for its second episode was not the best sign for this new sitcom. Second episodes are rarely the strongest outings for freshman series and this new introduction into the world of Rebel Wilson's new comedy doesn't solve any of its original premiere's issues.

The premise of Super Fun Night is blown via the forced narrative crutch of a video diary from protagonist Kimmie Boubier (Wilson sporting a thin American accent). Kimmie, a lawyer, has recently been promoted at work and along with this new job comes a flirtation with the boss's son, Richard (Kevin Bishop, who keeps his native English dialect). These changes have prompted Kimmie and her childhood friends Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash) to take their usual indoor Friday night fun out on the town. These three have long been nerdy shut-ins and now they're finally breaking out of their shells and daring to live bigger.

The issues with Super Fun Night's original pilot are difficult to correct and this new premiere episode seems less focused on doing so than capitalizing on Wilson's Pitch Perfect success by having Kimmie face her stage fright during an outing at a piano bar's open mic night. Thrusting a microphone into Wilson's hand doesn't substitute for the major qualities lacking in Kimmie. Wilson has thrown her recognizable Australian accent into a drawer—and with it, the biting and sassy attitude that's been the hallmark of her film roles. Kimmie is a nice and sweet girl that's likable enough, but watching her play the wallflower is a bit of let down. Without the actress's trademark brash confidence, Super Fun Night is reduced to tired physical humor revolving around her size, including Kimmie wrestling with a pair of Spanx or having her skirt ripped off by the world's strongest elevator doors.

There's also a dull and manufactured-for-TV love triangle between Kimmie, Richard and their bitchy colleague Kendall (Kate Jenkinson). Kendall's interest in Richard seems to be based entirely around his relationship to the boss and the fact that he and Kimmie get on well. It's so plainly obvious that Richard, to his credit, favors the sweet Kimmie over the awful Kendall, killing any momentum this story has.

Wilson is in an undeniably funny lady, but in her attempt to show off her softer side, she's stripped away all the humor, resulting in a comedy that is sadly neither super nor fun.

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