THE SERIES “Making History”
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Fox/5
WHAT IT’S ABOUT This is probably exactly the political moment in which we need to hear our nation’s Founding Fathers gaily announce “a wild satanic orgy in the woods that we all deny in the morning” — right after they play an 18th century prank involving a chamber pot.
Need a laugh, citizens? Try “Making History,” with its blithe disregard for propriety — nay, its finger in the air to propriety — especially when it comes to esteemed American institutions. What if those institutions weren’t necessarily produced by deep intellectual thought but by mischief and mishap? And time travel. (Maybe even sappy song lyrics and movie dialogue.)
Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project,” “Happy Endings”) stars as our century-tripper, Dan, who otherwise works current-day maintenance at the local college. Having stumbled onto some temporal technology, the awkward dude uses it to charm an 18th century girlfriend with his 21st century pop culture fluency. This causes the distaste of Yassir Lester (“Girls”) as the nerdy young history professor from whom Dan seeks tips on colonial times.
Their misfit odd couple fully emerges in the agreeably grimy/smelly past, then morphs into a trio by adding the era’s goofy girlfriend of Leighton Meester (yes, “Gossip Girl”). Despite being a presage feminist, she’s entranced with Celine Dion songs and the actual physical trash of the future. She’s also Paul Revere’s daughter.
Can she help the professor set things straight so the revolution starts? Will the colonists get to keep their beloved guns (and wigs)? And who gets told he looks “like a baby mouse, naked and blind”?
MY SAY Cartoons are what fill Fox on Sunday nights, and “Making History” lands as one with cartoon-like characters. Created by Julius “Goldy” Sharpe, a veteran of “Family Guy” (but also “Dads”), the show spurts onto the air like ketchup spewed from an oversqueezed bottle, plopping frenzied mayhem all over everything.
The cliffhanger pilot and second episode are laced with the anything-can-happen insanity of Monty Python, as well as that TV landmark’s awareness of, yet irreverence for, things we hold dear. Even Lester’s stick-in-the-mud professor role has some juice, animated by the smarts that made Lester not just a standup comic but a writer for “The Carmichael Show” and “Girls” (where he also plays Declan).
The preview disc Fox sent to critics then continues with two April-airing episodes. Uh-oh. Their comedic target moves from the American Revolution to Al Capone’s Chicago gangster-verse, about which who-cares? The madness sags, the pace drags, the characters don’t seem themselves.
However, series regular status was belatedly bestowed on pilot “guest stars” John Gemberling as John Hancock and Neil Casey as Sam Adams, whose antics helped animate that great start. (Both are “Broad City” veterans.) So there’s firm hope for further revolutionary lunacy.
BOTTOM LINE Crazy comedy for our crazy-making times.