Will CBS Have Any Idea What to Do With a ‘Curb’-Style Improvised Sitcom Starring Paul Scheer?
If the pitch of “an improvised multi-camera sitcom about a married couple of real estate developers made by the network that does Young Sheldon” doesn’t sound attractive to you, then you don’t work at CBS.
The broadcast behemoth is reportedly working on a new series from Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman titled A Lot. The show will star Paul Scheer and his real-life wife and Grace and Frankie star June Diane Raphael as a married couple who spend their life savings trying to turn a defunct studio lot into a housing development. Both Scheer and Raphael come from improv backgrounds, and A Lot will be a loosely scripted, heavily improvised comedy in the vein of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm but in a broadcast sitcom format.
Because everyone knows that the one thing missing from Curb is commercials.
Plenty of sitcom showrunners give their stars leeway to insert their own jabs and jokes – Michael Schur has gone on record saying that Chris Pratt’s improv was frustratingly better than the writing on Parks and Recreation – but the concept of A Lot leans entirely on its lead actors’ off-the-cuff performances. Curb Your Enthusiasm is obviously the most successful example of this approach, but the hitmaker behind Friends seems to think that broadcast TV is ready for what HBO viewers have been enjoying for decades.
However, the stream-of-consciousness style of comedy feels like an odd fit for a CBS multi-cam sitcom – the set-up-to-punchline rhythm of a Chuck Lorre project doesn’t flow the way a scene from Curb does as it meanders through the minutiae of human interaction and escalates conflicts to their pettiest peaks. Though CBS has bucked its cookie-cutter formula for sitcom success with shows like the surprise hit Ghosts, an improvised sitcom sounds slightly overambitious for one of the most traditional networks on broadcast.
So in this case, it’s not so much about Curb Your Enthusiam the show, but actually curbing your enthusiasm.