We loved her as Annie’s weird, inappropriate, and nosy roommate in “Bridesmaids,” and she had us roaring as she ran horizontally and belted it out as Fat Amy in “Pitch Perfect.” Needless to say, it was exciting to hear that the immensely funny Rebel Wilson was getting her own ABC show, “Super Fun Night.” The show centers on Wilson as Kimmie Boubier, a recently promoted lawyer, and her two roommates, Helen-Alice and Marika. Together, the three ladies are a trio of underdogs. Marika, played by Lauren Ash, is a burly tennis coach with a deep voice and strong personality. Liza Lapira, who is best known for her role as Emma Stone’s best friend in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” plays Helen-Alice, a meek nerd who naively orders a Long Island Iced Tea at a bar without knowing it contains alcohol in the first episode.
However, despite the exponential talents of Wilson, who created and stars in the show, “Super Fun Night” doesn’t live up to the high expectations that accompany Wilson’s name. The show alternates between two spheres: Kimmie’s office and the apartment shared by the three girls. The combination of these settings, however, doesn’t quite work. The show doesn’t know whether it is a workplace comedy, like “The Office” or “30 Rock,” or if it is centered on a gang of friends, like “How I Met Your Mother” or “Friends.” If the show focused more clearly on the trio of friends and let go of the law firm office, it would be better off, since the two roommates are more dynamic and entertaining to watch than Kimmie’s two main co-workers.
“Super Fun Night” also doesn’t knock it out of the park because it is a single camera show. The nature of Wilson’s broad, heightened comedic style both as a performer and a writer is more suited for a multi-camera show, shot in front of a live studio audience with a laugh track. Although this is not a common critique of television, especially because as a whole the medium has recently been leaning much more heavily toward single-camera shows, “Super Fun Night” could benefit from this change in filming. The extensive physical comedy and sight gags at play throughout the show yearn for a laugh track. Plus, most sitcoms based around a group of friends that succeed are shot in this fashion.
Another mishap in the show’s comedic approach is that Wilson’s weight is often the focus of the comedy throughout the show. Within the first few minutes of the show, Kimmie loses her skirt in an elevator door and is left standing in her law firm wearing only nude Spanx. Later, she is seen running through her office in search of jelly doughnuts. Lastly, when she faints on stage at a piano bar she orders herself “consolation pizzas.” While it is commendable that Wilson truly owns her physique and uses it to its advantage in all of the roles she plays, most notably Fat Amy, she is so much more than just a heavy comedian. Her timing and wit are so ridiculously amazing that it is frustrating to watch her resort to jokes based on her weight.
As a final suggestion, the show would definitely benefit if Wilson dropped the American accent. While the accent itself isn’t all that bad, it becomes distracting since most of Wilson’s fans are familiar with her Aussie flair. While it is always enjoyable to watch Rebel Wilson, one of the funniest, most skilled comedians currently on television or in movies, the show itself could use some fine-tuning both in terms of structure and content. With some changes, “Super Fun Night” could be showing Wilson for all she’s worth, but right now it’s falling flat.