REVIEW: Allen Gregory (FOX – Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

ALLEN GREGORY is a new animated series that tells the story of one of the most pretentious 7-year-olds of our time.

When he looks in the mirror, ALLEN GREGORY DE LONGPRE (Jonah Hill, “Superbad,” “Get Him to the Greek”) doesn’t see a child. He sees a young man who is intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, artistic and romantic – characteristics he inherited from his doting father, RICHARD (French Stewart, “Private Practice,” “3rd Rock from the Sun”). The pair share an extraordinary father-son bond – a bond that is sometimes annoyingly interrupted by Richard’s life partner, JEREMY (Nat Faxon, THE CLEVELAND SHOW, “Reno 911!”), for whom Allen Gregory has minimal respect, if any at all. They live together in a stunning architectural loft, along with JULIE (Joy Osmanski, “Grey’s Anatomy”), Allen Gregory’s adopted Cambodian sister.

Although Allen Gregory has allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloë Sevigny, he’s about to embark on his greatest challenge yet: leaving the safety of his father’s homeschooling and attending elementary school with children his own age. His journey will be a struggle, not only with the other kids at school, but with the faculty as well. Whether it’s the all-out rivalry with GINA WINTHROP (guest voice Leslie Mann, “Funny People”), his by-the-book second grade teacher; his unique relationship with JUDITH GOTTLIEB (guest voice Renée Taylor, “How I Met Your Mother”), his 68-year-old principal; or his desperate desire to be best friends with JOEL ZADAK (guest voice Jake Johnson, “Get Him to the Greek”), the school’s popular stud, Allen Gregory has his work cut out for him. With the help of his trusty friend and assistant, PATRICK VANDERWEEL (Cristina Pucelli, “Finley the Fire Engine”); and the support of SUPERINTENDENT STEWART ROSSMYRE (Will Forte, “Saturday Night Live”), who believes the De Longpres are a tremendous asset to the school, Allen Gregory won’t have to get his hands too dirty.

ALLEN GREGORY is about an outsider. And while he may put on a tough exterior, deep down, all Allen Gregory wants is to fit in. Well, that, and for Julie to run away and never be seen or heard from again. And Jeremy too.  – FOX

25 out of 100

Back in the Spring when we were discussing the state of FOX as a network and their programming, we mentioned two new animated series that were set to debut this season that we predicted for a variety of reasons would be absolute failures just based on their show descriptions and how limited the episode orders from FOX were.  The first was Napoleon Dynamite for obvious reasons (hasn’t been relevant for seven years, wasn’t that funny to begin with, etc.) and the second was Allen Gregory which just sounded like it was going to suck.  We surmised that the reason that FOX committed to  another two seasons of American Dad, renewed Bob’s Burgers as quickly as they did and are still on the hunt for more prime-time animated fare was that they had about as  much faith in their two new Animation Domination offerings as we did.

Then we were inundated all Fall, particularly during the MLB postseason, with trailers for Allen Gregory and even we had to concede that it looked pretty funny.  Well, we should have gone with our gut on this one.  Allen Gregory is pretty awful and there really is no fixing it because it was created as an awful piece of crap from the start.

Allen Gregory is a show that’s trying too hard to be funny and it is failing miserably. The show is an unvarnished rip-off of other shows, particularly Seth MacFarlane shows. Could they be a little more obvious with making the lead character a bad copy of Stewie Griffin in a suit?  It’s so blatant as to be offensive to anyone with an IQ above 70.  It’s literally like Jonah Hill himself said, “Gee, Stewie Griffin would be a whole sh*tload funnier if I wrote his dialogue and did the voice.”  We’ve got news for Jonah: he wouldn’t be and it’s beyond arrogant to think that having a string of mild successes as an actor playing buffoonish characters qualifies you to create and produce a prime-time animated series on the network that created the format.

In all honesty, to put it bluntly, Jonah Hill sucks all the way around and we’re sick of him even more so than The Movie Bros. is sick of his cohort in all of his dopey movies, Michael Cera, but for all the same reasons.  He’s a one-trick pony and he plays the same damned character in every role he has.  Unlike Cera, who just inevitably plays the awkward, clumsy, mumbling, albeit, likable teenager, Hill regularly plays the role of the annoying, foul-mouthed, arrogant and condescending prick and the role of Allen Gregory is no exception which is the biggest problem with his character and all of these characters: you just don’t like them.

The Blonde Guy From 'Fargo' Knows How To Deal With Allen Gregory

We often discuss the need for a show to have relatable characters in order to find success with audiences and with Allen Gregory, the characters aren’t only completely unrelatable but they are absolutely unlikable, which is an issue that The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and American Dad have never had. As whacky as the characters on those shows are, they are at least relatable and you root for them. Not so with Allen Gregory, in fact, you really want to see this kid and every other character on the show get tossed into a wood chipper.

They All Do It, Some Shows Just Do It Better Than Others.

The truth is that most animated series rip-off characters from another series, but a show can get away with that if they can manage to produce a unique show with well-developed characters and clever writing despite any similarities to other characters from another series. Fans of The Simpsons have complained for years that Family Guy ripped off The Simpsons as far as characters are concerned (and plotlines of some episodes… but we’re here to tell you that they are both guilty of that) and we don’t think that there’s any question that there’s some merit to that charge but the characters on both shows are so different and the format, style and writing of Family Guy is so unique that it makes any similarities between characters irrelevant.  The same goes for the comparisons to Family Guy and American Dad. Same producers, same types of characters, similar jokes… completely different show in style and format.

Allen Gregory just can’t effectively separate itself from the obvious criticism of recycled characters because the show is a mess everywhere else especially with the awful storylines that don’t go anywhere and don’t make you laugh.  We actually found ourselves actively rooting against Allen Gregory in both episodes we saw. That’s a bad sign when you are rooting against the protagonist.  Finally, the fact is that the whole show reeks of Jonah Hill. Simply put, the show, like all of the characters that Jonah Hill plays, is a condescending, arrogant prick towards its audience and we hope audiences turn away from this like they should have with Bob’s Burgers.

Watch full episodes of Allen Gregory here, on FOX‘s pageor alternatively here, on VuReel.

12 comments on “REVIEW: Allen Gregory (FOX – Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, except that I think a 25/100 is being way too generous. Allen Gregory has to be the worst FOX animated show ever, even topping Bob’s Burgers. With an ugly animation style, writing that seems to have been by adolescents and characters that you wish you can inflict physical harm upon I hope this show gets shit-canned immediately. Two episodes was more than enough for me; I would find more enjoyment slamming my member into a car door repeatedly for half an hour than watching this tripe again.

    • Thanks for your comments, James! I gave it a 25 for two reasons. First, the animation itself on the technical side is very good (no it’s not pretty, but it’s well-done), second, I expect Napoleon Dynamite to be even worse than this so I wanted to leave some wiggle room when I have to explain how they aren’t equally as bad. 🙂

  2. It amazes me that there are some people who actually defend this show because it’s so “edgy” and “out there” when it’s really just being offensive for the sake of shock value.

    This show is so cold-hearted and mean-spirited that it’s almost unforgivable, never mind that it was written and created with a main character who I’d rather see being slowly fed to starving wolves than doing whatever it is that he does on the show (which is act like a superior jerkoff).

    And the really sad thing is that the defenders of this show actually find it funny when in truth it’s about as funny as having a tooth drilled without any novocaine or being repeatedly kicked in the gentleman’s department for 30 minutes.

    • Brilliant commentary, John. I may be recruiting to write for us. I could use the help and and your insight and sarcasm fit in perfectly. I still can’t stop laughing about being kicked “… in the gentleman’s department.” Pure. Awesomeness. 🙂

  3. Dude – So true. I’ve watched all the episodes of this show – week after week hoping that it’ll get funny one time. But today’s Hispanic episode was even more obnoxious. Forget a laugh, I didn’t even crack a smile. I still don’t understand what this show is supposed to be – a comedy it definitely is NOT. It just puts up another mean person on TV that thrives on hate and banter (any publicity is good publicity right?). Figures that this is what got on Fox – considering they have real life people o-reilly on there. Just another way of a network giving intelligent audiences a big middle finger saying “we gots the money, we’s gonna put whatever out there for the dumb hicks that we all know you are” – Sick.

    • The show is very mean-spirited and not at all funny, agreed, but, for the record, Bill O’Reilly is on Fox News, not FOX. The networks have nothing to do with each other besides the fact that they are owned by the same multinational conglomerate. The programming decisions certainly aren’t done by the same people. Kind of embarrassing that I have to keep explaining this to people who at least appear to be adults. Also, not really sure why you have a bug up your ass about O’Reilly, either, especially to the point where you had to bring him in a comment about Allen Gregory. Oh, nevermind… that’s right. If you disagree with the political opinions of a commentator they must be full of hate and that needs to be brought up at every opportunity. I stand corrected because of course, that’s the new mantra in this country regarding civil discourse. Demonize those we disagree with.

      Anyway, here’s a piece I did several months ago where I actually explain briefly the separation of powers that exist between separate entities within corporate structure. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s near the end. Just look for the picture of Rupert Murdoch dressed as a pirate.

  4. This show is the biggest piece of crap ever! If you haven’t watched it, you’re lucky, don’t bother! If you’ve watched it for more than 5 minutes, seek help. The creator of this worthless turd should seek employment at a burger joint and FOX should be given a time out for allowing it. Speaking of burgers, they took off Bob’s Burgers for this? The exec’s that made that genius decision should get new jobs as newspaper carriers or janitors! Although, that would probably be beyond their comprehension as well.

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