Mr. Mayor

3 out of 5

Created by: Robert Carlock & Tina Fey

covers season 1

Ted Danson is charming, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock write some meme-aware jokes, Bobby Moynihan acts innocently goofy, various guest stars come through and mug for the camera, and Holly Hunter is delightfully insane. If you liked Danson in the recent The Good Place, and enjoyed 30 Rock, chances are you’ll titter frequently enough at Mr. Mayor, and have no problem sitting through a season’s worth of its breezy episodes, but this is strictly playing-it-safe TV for anyone drawn in by those mentioned touchpoints.

Ted Danson is L.A.’s newly elected mayor, Neil Bremer, despite his zero political experience. Intending to get by on his business savvy, he’s really only out to look good on social media to earn the respect of his daughter (Kyla Kenedy), but does inadvertently solve various “crises” – like avocado shortages – through happenstance, though Fey and her writers very smartly avoid ever turning this into moral lessons. Nah – the mayor is rich and privileged, and his staff are various forms of incompetent (or maybe just ignorant), and yet they bumble into solutions anyway, primarily because the problems they solve are lambasting shallow LA culture in the first place, so the resolutions can be equally shallow, and no one really learns from them, and it’s all okay. The gags are reliant on poking at readily recognizable zeitgeists, and it trawls a line where it’s just smart enough to appeal to cool kids, but can also leverage having a clueless older dude as its lead to mine the “What’s this TikTok business?” vein, and thus get nods of approval from us slightly older, possibly also clueless viewers. Present all of that with a game and comedically committed cast – and blend it with Holly Hunter playing left-field crazy in there, stealing her scenes – and it works.