In the 2012 comedy “Bachelorette,” Rebel Wilson plays a bride with wild friends. After alienating Wilson’s character on the night before her wedding, one of her bridesmaids asks another, “What do you call a bachelorette party without a bride?” The response: “Friday night.” The friends then proceed to drink and do coke, setting up the foursome’s raucous night.
Rebel Wilson’s new ABC comedy “Super Fun Night” also looks to Friday nights for plot inspiration. The sitcom, which premiered on Wednesday, follows three socially awkward young women who decide to go out instead of stay in on Friday nights.
Unfortunately, the show is neither super nor fun. Wilson, known for her critically acclaimed performance in “Pitch Perfect,” joins a group of confident female comedians on TV right now: Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” is on FOX and Lena Dunham’s “Girls” is on HBO. But while the other shows center on un-self-conscious women who don’t define themselves by their dress sizes, “Super Fun Night” relies on jokes about Wilson’s plus-size body that run on a little too long.
With Wilson writing and starring in the show as Kimmie Boubier, an ambitious junior attorney, the show had the potential to be successful. But Wilson’s comedic talent can’t save “Super Fun Night” from using every fat, Spanx, and breasts joke cliché out there.
Wilson’s castmates also have poorly written, archetypal characters: Liza Lapira plays Helen-Alice, an Asian nerd, and Lauren Ash portrays Marika, a tennis teacher with an unflattering wardrobe. Kevin Bishop stars as a British lawyer who sees Kimmie for the sweet, clumsy girl that she is, while Kate Jenkinson plays Kendall, Kimmie’s thin, mean-girl coworker and archnemesis.
The jokes are typical and the situations are excessively exaggerated. Two of the better moments from the pilot include a scene of Wilson running around the office for doughnuts and an embarrassing karaoke episode. The girls decide to go out to a piano bar, where Kimmie overcomes her stage fright to sing a hilarious cover of Meat Loaf’s ballad “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” In this scene, Wilson is being herself, using the knack for physical comedy and the singing ability her fans know and love.
But judging from the pilot, “Super Fun Night” will not last long if the writers don’t make some significant changes to the show. If the creators want to add variety to the female characters represented on TV, perhaps they should stop stuffing Rebel Wilson into the “I am fat and I will laugh at myself” box and let her Australian accent shine through. If Lena Dunham’s much-talked-about sex scenes on “Girls” proved anything, it was that TV audiences are OK with seeing mature women with realistic bodies on screen.
“Super Fun Night” airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.