The weather has suddenly dropped. Pumpkin flavored items are everywhere. (HUZZAH! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back. Only a matter of time until the new Starbucks red cup.) Groupon is going insane for apple picking specials. What does this mean? Fall premieres – exciting evenings full of crappy and wonderful television. One show that has caught my eye and would like to point out on this “communications” based blog is NBC‘s new show “Free Agents.”
As soon as I learned that another PR show was getting thrown into the mix, I groaned. I was skeptical and with reason, I tell you. Even though this foray was into scripted programming, I had my doubts – it’s reality series counterparts have made me sick to my stomach. “Spindustry“, really E!, how could you?
Naturally because this is a half hour sitcom on Wednesday nights (rival network ABC has solid comedy programming, “Modern Family” anyone?) the show is less about PR and more about character relationships and personal troubles. Free Agents stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as the lead actors. Both play the comedy well and I found their interactions to be believable. Neither played their characters over the top which I find to be a problem when it comes to sitcoms. But back to the PR aspect. In the pilot episode, the writers highlighted more of the negative aspects of the industry. Look at lines said by the agency principal during a morning meeting “How do we spin this? complete denial or blame someone else?” You can’t place too much fault on the writer’s for taking the cheap chots – it’s what people know and obviously elicits a chuckle. Another moment is during a brainstorm when an account executive states “PR BASICS: ephasive the positivies, get em out front, bury the negatives.” It’s these ideas that gets the industry in trouble.
What I like about “Free Agents” are the finer details the show took to get right. While the show highlights a hustling office environment, the set is pretty standard of what larger agencies look like today: hip and modern. They took the time to use a little jargon and tech terms! The dialogue is smartly written, somehow blending together comedy with a sometimes serious tone.
All in all, “Free Agents” while not being a PR focused show contains more reality than other PR-centric shows of the past. Did anyone else catch the pilot? If not, tune in Wednesdays at 8:30 on NBC. And no, NBC did not pay me to write that.