THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: ABC COMEDIES

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<> at SiriusXM Studios on April 26, 2017 in New York City.

The Mayor

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Logline: When an outspoken, idealistic rapper runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, he surprised everyone (including himself) when he has a natural knack for the and slowly transforms City Hall.
Cast: Brandon Michael Hall, Lea Michele, Yvette Nicole Brown
Creators: Jeremy Bronson (W / EP), Daveed Diggs (EP), Jamie Tarses (EP), Scott Stuber (EP), Dylan Clark (EP), James Griffiths (D / EP)
Studios: ABC Studios, Brownstone Productions, Bluegrass FanFare

This is the type of tidy high concept that I’ve bounced around in my head before. Given what’s going on in DC, a political comedy set in our nation’s capital almost seems redundant. You can even see that in Veep this season — it feels like it’s lost some edge because of the current real-life White House, even when it hasn’t. So why not go smaller and focus on a small time mayor?

Courtney Rose is a rapper. Of course, he still lives with his Mom and records in his closet, but that’s not going to stop him. We learn from news reporter backstory Courtney has a fundraiser (Jermaine), a campaign manager (T.K.), and he wasn’t very good in school. We also learn that he’s running for mayor to boost his fledgling rap . A pretty contentious debate follows, and by the act break we have our new mayor.

As mayor, Courtney is lost about politics, so he hires his former political rival’s campaign consultant, Valentina, a woman that Courtney used to cheat off of in school. Valentina tries her best, but is only able to wrangle two underqualified staffers. Courtney publicly screws up with a concert the police break up, but by the end of the episode he’s willing to move forward and help the people of Fort Grey.

The pitch for The Mayor is basically Atlanta meets Parks & Recreation. Atlanta was the best comedy of last year, in my opinion. It had depth, and cutting humor, and pathos, and specificity, and a location we hadn’t quite seen in that way before. Parks & Recreation had an ensemble that just gelled really well. The Mayor, at this stage, is lacking in most of that. It’s pretty generic, the humor is OK, and the cast has a bit of characterization (though not quite enough). This is a premise pilot, so it’s tough to really judge. It’s certainly not bad, and Parks & Recreation definitely struggled out of the gate, so The Mayor could work if given some time.

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