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EW review: Here and Now is muddled and self-serious

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Do you remember that SNL sketch “Funny New Comedy“? It starred host Tom Hanks in a faux commercial for a half-hour show pretending not to be a drama (mostly so it could beat out other so-called comedies like Transparent at award shows). The premise was a family of adjunct professors all diagnosed with depression on the same day. “Watch as the gang navigates love, life and—buckle up—sex over fifty!” the narrator gleefully promises.

It’s impossible to watch Here and Now without feeling like, on some level, it’s parodying itself.

Tim Robbins stars as a depressed adjunct professor (yup) who adopted three multi-racial children and raised them alongside his biological child with his New Age-y wife (Holly Hunter). We first meet him while he’s having sex with an escort. His family reminds him often he’s depressed. It doesn’t help that he has the exact same hairstyle as Tom Hanks in the SNL sketch.

We get hints in the pilot that Here and Now is planning on veering off into a very different type of show: one of the bishop children (Daniel Zovatto) keeps having visions of the number 11:11 and something supernatural is going on, especially when he sees the numbers engulfed in flame in the middle of a birthday party. Show creator Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood) has an impeccable track record for writing fantastic shows about unconventional families and so I wouldn’t bet against him, and the performances are as excellent as you’d expect from the level of talent involved, but at least in its first episode, Here and Now suffers from a self-seriousness that’s hard not to laugh at for the wrong reasons. B-

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