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The Great Indoors Review CBS

The Great Indoors Review: Joel McHale Schools Millennials in CBS Comedy

grade_C+At this summer’s TCA press tour, the cast and creatives of CBS’ The Great Indoors (premiering Thursday at 8:30/7:30c) were taken to task for mercilessly mocking the “millennial” generation in at least the pilot, the only episode available for review at the time.

Community grad Joel McHale — who stars as Jack Gordon, a renowned adventure reporter brought in from the cold to shepherd an outdoor magazine’s young, online editorial staff — countered that the workplace sitcom is “not just jokes about SnapChat. It is about generations,” Great Indoorsand as such will mock all age groups, including that of Stephen Fry, who plays Jack’s mentor.

Indeed, the second episode does flip the script and land Jack in the crosshairs, as the Outdoor Limits staffers ridicule and then revamp the swaggering adventurer’s previously nonexistent social media profile (shirtless pics out! muffin pans in!) and lead him into the app-based dating scene.

As you might surmise, McHale is in familiar waters with The Great Indoors, wielding sarcasm like a pro as Jack takes the wind out of the sails of his undeservedly self-entitled underlings, a group raised on participation trophies and content to podcast about… each other’s podcasts. (Though none of the Outdoor Limits staffers exhibits Britta Perry levels of righteousness, Jack finds plenty to poke fun at.) Unlike Jeff Winger, Jack is somewhat amendable to self-improvement suggestions, though not before all but dying on his hill of choosing (e.g. GREAT INDOORSWas the hottie who swiped right for him actually out to steal his identity?).

Among the supporting cast, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) stands out as Clark, a bit of a Jack Gordon fanboy with precious little outdoorsman aptitude to show for it, while Christine Ko finds some fun, sassy line deliveries as Emma, the staff’s social media “influencer.” Shaun Brown’s Mason is still being defined two episodes in, while Susannah Fielding — an almost uncanny hybrid of Emily Blunt and Alison Brie — has potential as Jack’s love interest, once they give her any character trait beyond “his onetime hook-up now adorably in love with her (longtime, ha!) fiancé.”

As Jack’s pal Eddie (a Chicago bar owner who’s more than happy to charge hipsters $6 for a can of PBR), Chris Williams offers a refreshing break/hangout away from the website workplace, while the aforementioned Stephen Fry is always, always welcome, here playing Outdoor Limits‘ charismatic, whiskey-loving and slightly goofy founder.

Coming off a decent if not remarkable pilot, the second episode is frankly a bit on the nose with its theme of “Hey, Let’s Show the Unplugged Older Guy How Technology Works!” But Joel McHale is pretty bulletproof in my book, and if The Great Indoors can maintain a balance of smart, and not tired, barbs lobbed between “the human version of dial-up” and the “stupid twentysomethings” with whom he must now work, there surely is a show here.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: The Indoors are good, not great.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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24 Comments
  1. Eric says:

    This show has always looked and sounded pretty awful, which is a shame considering its great cast. Joel McHale, Stephen Fry…even Chris Mintz-Plasse. But I don’t think I’m going to even bother watching it, unless I hear about a significant uptick in quality. C+, however, is roughly what I expected. Sad.

  2. Laura says:

    It’s awful I reckon it’ll be this year’s angel from hell.

  3. jtrattray says:

    I’ve seen the trailer so many times on CBS All Access, it looks awful. The lead character needs a slap, and it has every offensive stereotype of millennials possible.

  4. peterwdawson says:

    Hopefully it’s not too mean-spirited and decently self-aware, that’s a double no-no.

  5. flowerduh says:

    This sitcom reminds me of Last Man Standing.

  6. Christian says:

    Joel McHale’s hairplugs are still on fleek! This show, however, is very weak!

  7. Kevin K says:

    There’s always a reason why CBS have bad sitcoms which turned into huge hits like it did last year with Life in Pieces. Also 2 Broke Girls is still on the air and I don’t know how long the Kat Dennings-Beth Behrs led sitcom is going to end. My take on Great Indoors may not get a big boost for a TBBT lead-in.

  8. WenRaz says:

    I liked McHale on Community and Talk Soup, so I will definitely give this one a try. Plus, Stephen Fry is always awesome.

  9. Lauren says:

    It’s Joel McHale and Stephen Fry, so I’m going to at least give it a chance.

  10. Heather says:

    As big of a fan of Joel McHale and Stephen Fry that I am, I watched the pilot. Horrendous, tedious, unfunny garbage with an annoying laugh track. I am disappointed, I wanted to like this. I miss The Soup and would love to see Joel be funny somewhere else on Tv. This isn’t bearable to watch, cringing as you see talented people deliver the most trite lines you’ve ever heard. Who hires and pays these writers?!? Utter trash.

  11. AC says:

    This show is a complete rip off of Last Man Standing on ABC. If I was the producer of Last Man Standing I would sue this show I mean it is a totally carbon copy of the show.

  12. Adam Vaughn says:

    when will Hollywood realize twitter followers doesn’t always translate into a shows success, RECAST McLOVIN absolutely no acting skills.

  13. T Harrington says:

    “The Great Indoors” is the worst show ever. Compared to “My Mother the Car,” (one of the worst shows ever!) it is dreadful. Not one of the actors is even amusing or talented. The story line is non-existent and I would rather see the 2016 elections debates rather than this nonsense. Yes, the disgusting debates were better than this show! I am hoping that it will be taken off the air within the next two weeks.

  14. Joyce White says:

    So you could not find one Black Girl to cast in this show. Or is this one more way to say the White girls are taking all their men. By the way the BLACK GIRL at the hot dog stand was the best part of the show!

  15. This show is just SO bad. It is derivative and a poor clone of at least a half dozen other failed sitcoms of days gone by. CBS please please please come up with SOMETHING original.

  16. Kk says:

    Omg been seriously down depressed for a few months & I just laugh laugh laugh at this show that explains my non info on anything social media wise like not even sure if I’m in the right comment box & googled how can I respond to this episode!!!!