First Impressions: Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life

Premise: No-one tells you how to survive life after college

Verdict: I actually really liked this, so… it will probably get cancelled.

Who is on it? A bunch of unknowns, the ghost from Being Human and Justin Bartha (The Hangover)

I am not sure why, but I always seem to find myself liking comedies that the critics deem unworthy. Looks like this show is the latest example.

I watched the trailer and it looked funny; plus FOX had extended the original order months ago which made me think that it had something special So… I watched the first episode with high expectations and I actually enjoyed it! This does not happen very often, especially with comedies.

But me liking a comedy and it becoming a hit… now that never happens. So, of course, ratings were not good. In addition, it didn’t get a lot of critics’ love. Nevertheless, occasionally [read frequently] I enjoy rebelling and going against the “experts”. So here I am, about to give Cooper Barrett a good review:

CB’s guide to surviving life is one of those quirky oddball comedies where anything can happen and the mundane turns into surreal with the snap of a finger. I would describe it as The Hangover meets Community, which is right up my alley. In the pilot episode, they basically introduce the characters: Cooper [the cute/immature 20-something], his lovable loser friend, his nerdy friend, big bro with midlife crisis (Bartha) and cute neighbour.

I thought the group of characters had a lot of comedic possibilities. In addition, the show is well-cast, it has heart without getting too corny and it is quirky without trying too hard [unlike Superstore]. It was certainly much better than the rest of the midseason comedies. And… I would even go as far as saying that – for a pilot – it had a pretty well defined tone.

I admit, I am much more flexible when it comes to comedies than dramas. I expect to be wowed by dramas, while I try to see potential in comedies. Even great shows like Community and Scrubs took a while to find their tone and not everything can be as sharp as Arrested Development or Kimmy Schmidt [which has Fey’s unique voice all over it]. In this context, I thought Cooper Barrett’s – even if not quite there yet – had a lot of promise.

If given time, I think this could turn into something fans of shows like Community could enjoy. But people are already comparing it to Brooklyn Nine-Nine [which is a very different show]… and the future is uncertain. Guess Cooper Barrett should have a guide to surviving upfronts…

Buy hey… what do I know? Maybe it just appealed to my 20-something-self trying to survive life… [I would also like to note that most – if not all – critics giving this show a bad review are probably in their 50s and comparing it to shows that aired in the 80s when they were incidentally 20… hmmm #justsaying]

Should you watch it? Yeah… give it a go before writing it off. 
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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