Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: Friday, April 25, 2017, 8:30/7:30c on NBC
“When you and I are at the office, we are co-workers.” – Katie
Carol (Andrea Martin) raised her daughter Katie (Briga Heelan) to believe she was destined for greatness. Instilled with that belief, Katie goes on to become a news producer at The Breakdown, a national cable news show on the MMN Network. Yet, despite working at the station for three years, Katie has never produced a lead segment. Instead, she’s stuck producing stories about Halloween costumes for obese pets and other fluff pieces. Trapped in a career rut, Katie desperately seeks a chance to prove she has what it takes. But Katie isn’t the only one seeking a change as Carol decides to redefine herself by going back to school. When the school admissions board tells Carol she can get credit for an internship, there’s only one place she wants to be. Will Carol become Katie’s worst nightmare or biggest cheerleader?
Great News is reminiscent of the hit series News Radio, one of my favorite shows from the ‘90s. Both are set in a fictional news station and feature an ensemble cast of quirky characters. After screening the series premiere, I couldn’t stop watching or laughing, and binge watched the entire ten episodes I was provided.
Full disclosure, I’ve developed a TV crush on Katie. While I have seen other shows Heelan had appeared on, it took me a while to recognize her on Great News. I love Katie’s charisma, and her drive makes you want to root for her. I love how she tries to prove herself not only to her co-workers, but Carol as well. Katie has a way with words when flustered that makes me laugh every time. Heelan portrayal of Katie has a similar kind of appeal that Jenna Fischer brought to her character, Pam Beesly, on the hit series The Office. Now, if only Katie could find her Jim.
As much as I was crushing on Katie, I knew finding the right actress to play Carol was the key to the success or failure of Great News. After all, the basic premise of the show is an overbearing mother who invades her daughter’s workplace. After viewing the official trailer, I wondered whether Carol’s shtick might get too repetitive over the course of an entire season and turn viewers off. Those concerns quickly faded as Martin’s infectious personality is absolutely hilarious. There’s a fine line between funny and annoying when it comes to Carol’s antics and Martin walks it masterfully. The mother/daughter dynamic between Carol and Katie is delightful to watch and is convincing on screen. Heelen, especially, does a wonderful job conveying the assortment of emotions Katie often finds herself experiencing as she is lovingly frustrated with Carol’s behavior.
While Katie and Carol are entertaining to watch, Carol’s scenes with her co-workers garner just as many laughs. I especially enjoyed the working relationship between Carol and Chuck Pierce (John Michael Higgins), the difficult-to-please news veteran, as both struggle to understand their younger colleagues. I’ve been a casual fan of Higgins’ throughout the years but his portrayal of Chuck is not only comical, it has me wanting to re-watch some of his previous work.
Rounding out the The Breakdown team is Portia (Nicole Richie), Chuck’s clueless co-anchor, Greg (Adam Campbell), a young executive producer with a witty English accent, and Justin (Horaito Sanz), the show’s laid-back video editor. One of the things that makes Great News special is the writers take the time to make Carol’s relationship with each of her co-workers a personal one. These are friendships that viewers will enjoy, watching them grow as the season progresses.
Great News is one of those series you should DVR and watch a second time to catch all of the funny bits taking place around the office that you might have missed. Created by Tracey Wigfield and produced by Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, and David Miner, the series is inspired by Wigfield’s relationship with her own mother, Kathy. Great News revolves around an entertaining mother/daughter relationship set inside a workplace comedy that the whole family can enjoy.
Tweet me @Staffaroadtrip or leave a comment below to let me know what you think about the Great News “Pilot.”
Tune in to Great News Fridays at 8:30/7:30c, only on NBC.
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All photos © 2017 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2017, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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