When it comes to Hollywood, Brad and Angelina just don't do it for me.
Give me hilarious and adorable instead of untouchable and elegant any day—my "couple crush," if you will, is on comic geniuses (and married couple) Amy Poehler (former "Saturday Night Live" darling) and Will Arnett, best known for his role as Gob in "Arrested Development."
Since Poehler's comedy "Parks and Recreation" has already been featured in this column, I've chosen to focus on another NBC show—Arnett's hilarious sitcom "Up All Night."
A mere 13 episodes into its first season, the show's early success is due in part to its casting of two other veterans of comedy: Maya Rudolph (another SNL all-star) and Christina Applegate (also known as Veronica Corningstone, Ron Burgandy's rival anchor and love interest in "Anchorman").
The show revolves around Chris (Arnett) and Reagan (Applegate) Brinkley and their adorable toddler Amy. Chris is a stay-at-home dad on semi-permanent leave from a law firm, and Reagan works as a producer on "The Ava Show," an Oprah-like talk show hosted by Reagan's best friend (and former R&B superstar) Ava Alexander (Rudolph).
"Up All Night" has brought family- and parent-based humor to NBC, a type of comedy other networks adopted long ago (see ABC's "Modern Family" and CBS's "Two and a Half Men"). Before the show premiered this past fall, NBC's most successful sitcoms—"30 Rock" and "The Office"—revolved around relationships and situtations in the workplace.
Although "Up All Night" also features some office-related jokes, these jokes tend to make up the show's side plots.
Though it veers into different subject matter from other NBC comedies, "Up All Night" possesses the same strong caliber of character development that has pleased fans of "Parks and Recreation" and "The Office."
Its opening credits exemplify this perfectly; a photo montage of Reagan, Chris and Ava chronicles one particularly raucous night at a club—including shots of Reagan and Chris making out—then seamlessly shifts to pictures of Chris and pregnant Reagan trying to build a crib, then baby Amy sitting up smiling between her sleeping parents.
The credits take all of 30 seconds, yet they do an excellent job giving us some backstory.
A great deal of the issues that former partiers Chris and Reagan face are based around their new roles as parents.
Though these plotlines certainly add further depth to their relationships and characters, the writers often ignore the crux of the show's premise: baby Amy herself.
Instead of focusing on stress caused by the baby, most of the show's plots revolve around how parenting has affected Chris and Reagan's relationship.
Though the title of the show (and an episode called "First Night Away") suggests that Chris and Reagan rarely get enough sleep because of Amy, there has only been one scene in the series thus far where they are featured arguing in the middle of the night about whose turn it is to tend to crying Amy.
However, the lack of Amy-based plotlines does not significantly detract from the show itself. In fact, it might be an asset—a show can only have so many jokes based on I'm-cranky-because-the-baby-kept-me-awake-last-night humor, something "Up All Night's" writers must have realized and tried to keep to a minimum.
"First Night Away" includes two excellent examples of the parallel plot lines the writers feature on a regular basis: some problem for Chris and Reagan (due to their new status as parents) and a personal or professional issue that arises for Ava (sometimes involving Reagan), a true diva given her former occupation as a pop star.
In "First Night Away"—the series' eighth episode—Ava is dating a club promoter named Julian, who says she is "soft like Cottonelle" (yes, the toilet paper brand), but complains to Reagan that she wants to date a "normal" guy.
In the meantime, Chris and Reagan are planning their first night away from Amy in the famed Beverly Hilton. When their babysitter cancels (somewhat predictably), Ava offers to take over.
Chris is wary about the new babysitter ("If Ava's watching Amy, who's watching Ava?"), but Reagan decides that since Ava is their best friend, she must spend time with Amy.
As in most sitcoms, all ends well; in the last scene, Chris and Reagan are lying in bed, saying "I've never felt so good in my life. That was amazing, babe."
They are, of course, referring to the "eight glorious hours of sleep" they got, but "hey, the sex was great too, babe," says Chris.
Ava meets a—spoiler alert!—"normal" guy (Jason Lee) while babysitting Amy, and lucky for viewers, the brazenly funny Lee soon becomes a recurring guest star on the show.
Much of the charm and finesse of the show lies in Arnett, Applegate and Rudolph's delivery of lines and their ability to make their characters seem like real people.
"Do not disturb," Chris says to Ava as he and Reagan prepare for their first romantic night away. "Unless there's a real emergency, then definitely do disturb." Notwithstanding the excellent timing with which this line is delivered, this actually sounds like something a parent might say.
Perhaps the real humor lies in the accuracy of these lines.
But either way, it's got my vote.