Up All Night is back for a second season, and the writers are revamping the entire dynamic of the show. Tonight’s premiere was all about the logistics of rejiggering the premise. Gone is Ava’s talk show, eliminating some of the workplace drama that weighed down the first season, but also essentially changing Ava’s character from stressful, demanding boss/friend to stressful, demanding friend. It’s clear that the writers are hoping to focus on the home dynamic that propelled season one, but they’ve also clipped an essential part of what worked. As we learn tonight, Chris and Reagan are switching up their family dynamics. Chris is going back to work, while Reagan’s going to stay home with Amy. Will that mean the spirit of the show changes dramatically? Or just that Will Arnett will have fewer freak-outs about his manliness?
“Friendships And Partnerships” also introduced a new character: Reagan’s scruffy-around-the-edges contractor brother Scotty, played by Luka Jones. Reagan and Chris hire him to redo their bathroom, but Reagan frets that he’ll take too long about it. “When I look at you, I still see the little brother that broke his collarbone doing the worm at a bar mitzvah,” she explains. “Did I stop dancing? No. I got the job done,” Scotty retorts.
Chris entices Reagan into letting Scotty do the work with a vision of a relaxing Jacuzzi, which is interrupted by a five-alarm Ava panic attack. There’s not much information about why, but Ava has apparently been cancelled. Over white wine, Ava and Reagan stress over their next move, which Ava thinks should involve some sort of Deadline-esque expose work. But Reagan suddenly has other plans. A stray pacifier convinces her that she needs to stay at home with Amy for a while. It’s not that it’s completely inconsistent with Reagan’s character that she would make a snap decision like that, but with all the to-do about how important work is to Reagan last season, that decision needed more explanation than it got. Chris, meanwhile, snaps up his old job as a corporate lawyer. Ava sulks and consults Chris for fashion advice for her Today Show interview outfit.
Reagan and Ava have a blow-out fight about the blouse Ava wore, which Reagan advised her was too sheer for the camera lights, and apparently was. They make up at the office while cleaning up their separate spaces and simultaneously blasting “Edge of Seventeen.” Six cups of Greek yogurt and one attempt to steal a golf cart later, they’re back to BFF-dom. Chris and Scotty, meanwhile, decide to take a crack at going into business together. Chris breaks this to Reagan after revealing the Jacuzzi to soften the news, but she doesn’t take it that well.
All in all, it was an episode that needed to do some heavy lifting, rather than crack jokes. In total, here were the lines I laughed at:
- When Chris says “Ukelele” and Reagan snaps “Gross, babe.”
- When Chris abbreviates Jacuzzi to “cuzz,” and then his face immediately falls.
That’s it. But now that the rearranging is done, let’s hope that the actual comedy can begin.