By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Disney’s attempt at reinvigorating the Monsters Inc. franchise with a series nearly ten years later simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t hit the same mark as the classic sitcoms it tries to emulate. I’m thinking of Taxi, WKRP in Cincinnati and Murphy Brown. To see once freakish creatures attempt to be funny really needs Garry Shandling involved in crafting the concept rather than unrecognizable names penning the episodes. Sadly, he passed away.
Technically, the production team is not all from PIXAR. They are in-house talents (like Roberts Gannaway who is better known for Emperor’s New School) groomed by The Mouse. Although the series was given its blessing by the creators, none of that original charm exists. The only good part is that we have a look at how the creature universe is surviving since the power of a child’s laugh is the only way to keep Monsters at Work.
John Goodman and Billy Crystal return to voice their characters of Sulley and Mike. The new cast includes an impressive list of today’s top comedians. No word is said if they’re allowed to improv and the writing team is editing to give this series the sense of continuity. The focus is more on Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman) than the other beasts we‘ve come to love. He’s no comedian (in contrast to the actor playing him).
Mike is off to teach, perhaps like in Welcome Back Kotter, and Sully is in charge of the scare floor. With only two episodes offered so far, I’m not too impressed.
I may change my mind after more have aired. For now the debut pair is hardly a wah–wah. The series needs a proper foundation to build upon and it’s teeter tottering between two subplots–the rebuilding of the factory and training of new recruits. Ten episodes is short. Perhaps this length is best since the series is a distraction to whittle the dog days of summer away.
3 Growls out of 5