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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the premiere of the ABC comedy United We Fall. Read at your own risk!
United We Fall premiered its first two episodes on ABC, and it seems like the network has another potential classic comedy hit on its hands. I say "classic" in the sense that it's a sitcom with a live studio audience, and if the first two episodes are any indication of what to expect from the rest of the series, the show will make that studio audience laugh far too often.
If there's any positive to this, it's that United We Fall had a ton of zingers and jokes in its first two episodes. Some of which were funny, but as someone who already has an aversion to shows with a studio audience, the jokes were coming at such a rampant pace that I was hearing uproarious laughter almost every other line. It certainly killed some of the moments I thought were legitimately funny, and slowed the pacing of the show as well.
I think the main issue is that this show is loaded with so many off-the-wall characters that there was no opportunity for real moments to break up the comedy or laughter. Even shows like The Big Bang Theory and Everybody Loves Raymond had their serious story beats, which spaced out the laughs throughout the episodes. United We Fall at times feels like the writers were intent on having a joke-off, to the point that each character's line is a punchline to another character's joke.
I can't deny that it was effective because United We Fall got more laughs out of me than the average sitcom-style comedy, and I did legitimately enjoy some of the commentaries on parenting as a fairly new parent myself. Other times I was flat out exhausted trying to keep up with the zingers and questioned whether or not the jokes that did make me laugh would've hit harder had the series been more selective in taking its shots.
At the same time, United We Fall is doing its best to make light of parenting situations that aren't nearly that fun to deal with in real life. Perhaps it's poetic that the show that features situations in which parents are never laughing is the one that laughs the most? If so I appreciate the philosophy, though still am not anymore on board with the studio audience going as hard as they did these opening episodes.
Overexcited studio audiences aside, I won't wag a finger at one of the few new network shows that have debuted in 2020 so far. United We Fall certainly has potential, and pilots aren't always representative of the finished product down the line. The show may rein things in as it gets farther along, or maybe a majority of audiences won't mind the near-nonstop audience laughing as much as I did.
United We Fall airs on ABC Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for updates on the series, and the latest major news happening in television and movies.