Parents' Guide to

First Impressions

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Mild but unfunny improv-with-impressions show strikes out.

TV USA Comedy 2016
First Impressions Poster Image

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This trying-too-hard show screams '90s from its first seconds, with a saxophone-riff theme, neon titles, and a brick-wall set familiar to anyone who watched comedy specials during that decade. Not coincidentally, the '90s were also the peak of both Prinze and Carvey's careers, but this will decidedly not be their comeback. The problem with the show lies in its very conception. Impressions can be amusing, if they're fresh, surprising, and perhaps, most of all, practiced. So building a show around impressions combined with improv is flawed, since these people who are best at learning how to speak and act like someone else suddenly also have to come up with on-the-spot jokes. It doesn't work, and it hurts to watch.

Plus, though there's definitely a live audience, the laughs sound fake, and heaven knows the hosts are forcing their laughter (though guests such as Steve Carrell are game and amiable enough). At one point, the show's pilot resorts to having dueling Sharon Osbourne impressions going through the alphabet. It's every bit as drags-on-forever as you'd think. Even more painful are the segments where Carvey and his guest host give aspiring comics and impressionists advice. "What's funny is to take a celebrity and put them in a new situation," says Carvey, who then does a stale impression of Christopher Walken as a driving instructor. Frankly, Carvey, though you were indeed adorable in Wayne's World, we still haven't forgiven you for Master of Disguise, and this is no way to apologize.

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