Having a baby changes everything. That's the premise behind Lorne Michael's new NBC comedy Up All Night. The show stars Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, a busy television producer, and Will Arnett as her husband Chris, who is a stay-at-home dad for their newborn baby, Amy. SNL-alum Maya Rudolph plays Reagan's egotistical yet loving best friend Ava, and star of the Oprah-like talk show that Reagan produces. The three veteran actors carry the show, and the result is a better-than-average, refreshingly feel-good sitcom.
For young couple Reagan and Chris, still in love with the hip Los Angeles bar scene and staying "up all night" partying, the pregnancy came as a bit of a shock. But although baby Amy was not exactly planned, Reagan and Chris do their best to love and raise her well. Chris leaves his job at a law firm to stay home with Amy once she is born, while Reagan returns to her job at the talk show. The new parents wrestle with a variety of typical problems such as a lack of sleep, post-pregnancy intimacy and getting enough personal time.
Applegate and Arnett are completely adorable as the young couple struggling to balance Amy, Regan's career and their quickly escaping youth. Rudolph's character is so over-the-top as the self-absorbed Ava that I cannot help but enjoy her as well.
I thoroughly enjoy watching the show every week, purely for its brevity and laughs. However, the problems the couple faces with their new baby as well as in their own relationship seem fleeting and too easily resolved, making the show less realistic. This television version of reality is arguably unavoidable in comedies, but I bet it will deter parents who have already been there and done that from watching the show.
Although the basic plot of a young couple dealing with their new baby is somewhat original, it remains to be seen whether the show will be able to sustain its steady ratings. We know that kids grow up quickly, so with a plot centered around learning to cope with a new child, how many problems can the writers come up with before the audience becomes bored? And how long can a show last with silly jokes and light laughs before baby Amy grows up? I suppose that only time will tell, but coming up on its seventh week, I have high hopes for at least this season of Up All Night.