NBC’s Up All Night underwent some considerable retooling between its first and second seasons, abandoning one of its settings (thus wiping the existence of a “Nick Cannon” from viewers’ minds) in an attempt to alleviate creator Emily Spivey and her writing staff of the feeling they were simultaneously making a highwire workplace sitcom and an even-keeled domestic comedy. Of course, what emerged from that retooling feels like a different show in and of itself—so, by The A.V. Club’s unofficial count, when Up All Night returns this spring as a multi-camera sitcom taped before a live studio audience, that’ll mark the fourth iteration of a fairly low-concept series about a loving husband and wife balancing personal ambitions with raising their first child. And hey, maybe this version will feature a wise-cracking canine, “the original dog from Hell,” if you will. (You mean Cerberus?)
Up All Night 3.0 will finish production next week before wrapping itself in a cocoon and emerging as a beautiful butterfly with harsher lighting and the laughter of invisible strangers in February. The five episodes taped in the show’s new format are set to debut in April or May—a buried lede which frees up several potential dates for the mythical October 19, though there’s been no official word yet on whether or not NBC has tired of kicking Community fans while they’re down. Or maybe network brass is waiting to announce that, like Up All Night and Happy Days before it, the fourth season of Community will also be retooled as, er, some other format or filmmaking style the show hasn’t imposed on itself yet. (Has it done anything in the style of traditional Japanese Noh Theater?)
Of course, there are a lot of assumptions there: In an attempt to be the huge hit NBC apparently wants it to be, Up All Night will only leave a smidgen of retooling behind for other shows. Those other shows will go to the refrigerator, and they’ll be like “Babe, why’d you leave only a few drops of retooling in the carton,” and Up All Night will be like, “Well, I didn’t want to be selfish, babe,” and the invisible strangers will just laugh and laugh and laugh and forget all about poor Jennifer Hall.