Oftentimes, when a network passes on a pilot, the lone episode of a TV show that wasn't meant to be gets tucked away somewhere on a shelf that I like to imagine is organized, not alphabetically, but by a system that separates the pilots that never should've been made in the first place and the ones that were full of potential but somehow passed over, while some inevitably cancelled, less-funny comedy gets the green light. If such an organizational system were to actually exist, I think Sarah Silverman's Susan 313 would be filed somewhere toward the latter category. The Twentieth Century Fox comedy, which was ordered to pilot by NBC in 2011, but eventually passed over the following spring, is charming, well cast and full of potential.
Susan 313 follows Silverman's Susan Farrow, a woman who's recently become single after ten years of being spoiled by a relationship. She's literally trying to pick up exactly where she left off, as she heads back to her old apartment, which has apparently been waiting for her on pause this whole time, though the residents have all moved forward in their lives. All the while, Susan's narrating this story from her own skewed perspective to a support group, and to us.
June Diane Raphael plays Susan's old friend, and it seems the two have had a falling out. Raphael's involvement is one more reason to acknowledge the wasted potential of this series, as the NTSF:SD:SUV star has been on the rise lately, with a number of credits under her belt, including the upcoming comedy Ass Backwards. Also among the cast are Tig Notaro, Jeff Goldblum, Troy Hatt and Lost's Ken Leung.
As Silverman says in the preface, she's not leaking this comedy pilot online as a slap in the face to anyone. She just thought she'd share it, and the studio gave her permission to do so, which is rare and pretty wonderful. I really wish we'd see more pilots released after they're passed over, if only to appreciate the work that went into them, and get an idea of what was in contention each season. Of course, it might cause us to gripe about network decisions, especially if it turns out that something the network did pick up that season wasn't nearly as good. Like, say Animal Practice, for example?
As it turns out, 2012 wasn't a good year for new comedies for NBC. All of the greenlit comedies were eventually cancelled (Go On, Animal Practice, Guys with Kids and The New Normal), which only makes it more frustrating that we never got to see what kind of potential Susan 313 had to offer. I'd take Jeff Goldblum duetting with Sarah Silverman over an adorable monkey in a lab coat any day.
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