Want to know the worst type of television? Not bad television, although that’s a solid guess. No, forgettable television is the worst. Forgettable television is similar to boring television, but it’s more than that — it’s those series that so utterly fail to distinguish themselves that, once an episode ends, it retreats to the back of our consciousness. This is precisely the sort of show that “Nobodies,” TV Land’s newest comedic foray, proves to be, leaving nothing in the way of a lasting impression due to its poor writing and easily replaceable cast of actual nobodies.
Immediately upon watching “Nobodies,” the show’s deficiencies are evident with its anonymous cast. As the series’ title indicates, the stars of “Nobodies” are, in fact, nobodies — they’re mainly screenwriters whose little acting experience has come through minor roles or parts as voice actors. The cast’s inexperience is apparent as they struggle to develop any chemistry. Playing fictionalized versions of themselves, Larry Dorf (“The Looney Tunes Show”), Hugh Davidson (“Mike Tyson Mysteries”) and Rachel Ramras (“Frank TV”) all fail to bring much of anything to their characters or consistently generate laughs. While its core characters do not deliver, “Nobodies” benefits from an excellent cameo by Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”), who is hilarious in his all-too-brief appearance as himself. Although strong in his role, Bateman ultimately receives too little screen-time to make up for the rest of the cast’s weaknesses.
Although the cast of “Nobodies” doesn’t do the series any favors, the actors aren’t given much to work with due to the show’s weak premise and lack of a strong focus. In “Nobodies,” Davidson, Dorf and Ramras meet with Paramount Pictures about picking up their script, “Mr. First Lady,” as a feature film. Since they aren’t known in Hollywood, they are forced to try and convince Bateman and comedic icon Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”) to star in the movie. It’s not a terrible concept in theory, but it’s a niche type of story that leaves “Nobodies” with limited room for growth. The series also seems to lose sight of this basic plotline, as scenes throughout the pilot frequently focusing more on Davidson, Dorf and Ramras’s personal lives rather than their efforts to make “Mr. First Lady” come to the big screen. While these scenes do offer an interesting perspective into their lives, they often meander and run a few minutes too long.
“Nobodies” is further dragged down by its writing, which often spoon-feeds viewers pieces of the plot. The series appears resigned to telling audiences much of its plot points rather than showing them, detracting from the show’s overall quality. In an especially obvious example of this, one scene features Dorf, Ramras and Davidson debating the future of “Mr. First Lady,” with Ramras stating, “I can’t quit because I’m a single mom with a child.” Such a bland line just dumps plot details on viewers, leading them to question why “Nobodies” doesn’t attempt to depict Ramras’s child or otherwise convey that Ramras is a single mother using less direct phrasing.
While “Nobodies” fails to consistently produce laughs, the show does succeed when relying upon raunchier humor. When Davidson, Dorf and Ramras allow their less family-friendly styles of humor to emerge, the result is actually pretty funny. For example, in one no-holds-barred scene, Ramras argues with Dorf and Davidson about how to talk to McCarthy’s husband about their film, and Ramras loudly declares, “He’ll feel gangbanged… gangbanged, like he’s ganged up on.” Scenes like these should become the norm for “Nobodies” if it aspires to prove itself something other than a complete flop.
Overall, “Nobodies” is a dud that doesn’t offer any memorable bits of humor or semblance of a succinct, engaging storyline, making it utterly forgettable television at its finest.