As a soon to be new parent, when NBC starting to promo “Up All Night”, a new comedy about new parents, I was all over it. I knew that we’d probably find a bunch of the stuff pretty funny. It’s been ok so far, some ups and downs. Some of our friends with kids at home find it pretty funny, as they’ve have or are currently going through the newborn stages. I personally found the part where they trying to top the other on how little sleep they got. I just know that’ll be us.
What weird to me is that the show’s promos (and title) suggested that the focus of the show was how much a child changes your life (for better and worse). Besides that one fight, the show really hasn’t been about the kid at all. Maya Rudolph plays a daytime talk show host, and in one episode she purchased a “baby wallet” because that’s what she thought you get a baby. This joke could have been done with any random baby, so it doesn’t really require a main character’s baby. Another episode focused on her being upset that she doesn’t get to go out with her friend (Christina Applegate, the mother) anymore because of the baby. This episode could have been exactly the same, only changing out baby with new husband or new job, etc.
I guess I feel a little duped. I expected more baby centric comedy. There is a reason that’s probably the case. Reading this past weekend’s Entertainment Weekly, they had an article on child actors. Did you know that a child, age 0 to 6 months can only “work” 20 minutes a day? From 6 months to 2 years it’s 2 hours. So it is nearly impossible to work baby stories in with such restrictions. This is why they typically hire twins so that they can work 40 minutes.
The other interesting thing I read was that baby/toddler “actors” don’t make very much money, perhaps a hundred a day. Sure, I’d like a $100 bucks for 20 minutes of work, but if you think about it, just the cost of traveling from home to the studio (gas, car, sanity) has got to be near that. So, what’s really in it for the baby. Well, nothing, other than the chance to tell people that they were the baby on a TV show, and have one of those spotlight articles on Yahoo.com, like they did recently for the baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind.
Back to the show, last week’s episode did a flashback to the last days of the pregnancy, and showed the birth (not literally). One thing I haven’t mentioned that deserves some notice is that its dad (Will Arnett, playing a normal person for once) who has decided to stay at home. They haven’t talked about it much, which I find interesting. They made that decision, as opposed to her staying at home, or having a nanny/daycare cover. The stay at home dad is not a new concept, but one that has not been overdone, so it should provide some unique opportunities, such as dad talking parenting stuff with another dad….through Xbox Live while playing Call of Duty (or whatever).
If I were a crazy person (and you don’t know that I’m not), I take away from this show that raising a baby isn’t hard, it’s everything around it that’s hard. Maintaining an old friendship, retaining your “cool”, working around work, and keeping up with the Jones’. Perhaps in future episodes we’ll learn that baby really will keep you up all night.