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.
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.
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.