One of the great things about the hang-out sitcom is that, even when its not firing on all cylinders, there are at least some storylines or b-plots that work in a particular episode. Season 1 of Grand Crew clicked more often than not, which gave us a lot of hope for Season 2. Does the new season live up to those expectations?
GRAND CREW SEASON 2: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: After a recap of the first season finale, we see Noah (Echo Kellum) finding out from Simone (Ashleigh Morghan) that her visa is ending and she’ll have to go back to Canada, unless… they get married.
The Gist: This makes Noah, ever the romantic, think about their entire lives together, from being married by Sherm (Carl Tart), having a kid who becomes a star jazz saxophonist, to dying together, holding hands. He says yes, of course.
The rest of the crew at the Cru wine bar think Noah’s nuts, including his sister Nicky (Nicole Byer). She’s secretly dating Michael (Colton Dunn), who is currently bunking with his brother Wyatt (Justin Cunningham) and Wyatt’s wife Kristen (Maya Lynne Robinson). Anthony (Aaron Jennings) objects, but he’s got his own issues, having to navigate the bubbling mutual attraction he and Fa
y (Grasie Mercedes) have for each other, even though he’s getting serious wit Talia (Ashley Blaine Featherson-Jenkins).
Noah has to get married the next day or else Simone will get deported, so, with Wyatt being the best man and Sherm driving them all in the Caddy he leased for his new car service company (established before cars were invented), and things are working against them. First, there’s a “carpocalypse”, then Sherm tries to take a shortcut and hits another car, that happens to be driven by Sherm’s scheming friend Ron Ron (Ronnie Adrian), who tags along to the courthouse in Santa Monica.
They end up taking the train, where they throw an ad hoc bachelor party. At a certain point, though, Noah tells his friends that he just wishes they were all being supportive of him, no matter how crazy they think this idea is. A ride in an ambulance and a three-blockl spring later, they make it. But are they on time?
Meanwhile, Nicky doesn’t want to be public with Michael, given her desire to not be in a public relationship. But the two of them like each other too much, and when Michael objects, Nicky has to rethink her stance.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? As we said when the first season premiered, Grand Crew is a classic hang-out show in the vein of Happy Endings, Cougar Town, Friends and many more.
Our Take: What made the first season of Grand Crew so enjoyable is that creator Phil Augusta Jackson, with the help of his old Brooklyn Nine-Nine boss Dan Goor, found the rhythm of the show, and this group of friends, pretty quickly. Those rhythms are definitely in place during the first three episodes of season 2, though we do have a couple of quibbles.
For one, the presence of Fay seems to be reduced; in the second episode, we see text messages from her, but Mercedes herself isn’t present. We’re not sure why that is; the chemistry of the group is best when all five of them are together, hanging out at the bar quaffing a fine red, or sitting in the lounge itself, treating Cru like their version of Central Perk. So when one of the five is missing, it’s a bit strange.
It also feels like the first three episodes are spent trying to untangle the gang from their Season 1 romantic entanglements, which is less entertaining to us than the group being together. It brings out less of the characteristics in each member of the group that we enjoyed watching last season, like Noah’s romanticism, Nicky’s romantic cynicism, Fay’s wariness after her divorce, and Anthony’s inability to see what’s right in front of him (namely Fay).
But there are moments during those first three episodes when we laughed out loud, like when Sherm thinks he poisoned everyone who tried his homemade peach wine, or Noah bonding with Simone’s best friend Courtney (Ian Owens). Once we get back to the crew being together more often and stories revolving around different subsets of the group, it should return to the fully-funny status last season’s best episodes exhibited.
Sex and Skin: Any sex is either implied or just talked about.
Parting Shot: As Nicky and Noah talk about each of their romantic statuses, they tell each other how happy they are, then the crew dances, wine glasses in hand.
Sleeper Star: Nicole Byer, all day, every day. She’s just ridiculously funny, and she plays Nicky’s romantic cynicism as a positive personality trait, not a deficit.
Most Pilot-y Line: “Is wine supposed to taste like pants?” Michael asks as Nicky and Faye share tasting notes on a wine that has notes of denim and velvet, but not leather.
Our Call: STREAM IT. The start of Season 2 of Grand Crew is a bit bumpy as Jackson and his writers try to write themselves out of the corners they wrote themselves into at the end of Season 1. But the chemistry among the cast is still there, and we’re hoping that once things are untangled, we’ll get back to what we loved about the show during its first season.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
By: Ny Post