CBS series The Crazy Ones—debuting on September 26—is billed as a comedy set in an advertising agency. Not sure if the title is paying homage to the Apple campaign that opened with the line, “Here’s to the crazy ones.” Regardless, it’s unlikely viewers will witness Apple-caliber campaigns being crafted on the show.
Mork on Madison Avenue might have been a better name for the series, as Robin Williams plays a lead role alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar. The program concept came from a creative director via Leo Burnett in Chicago, who inevitably pitched it to David E. Kelley. Leo Burnett employees, incidentally, were also responsible for the short-lived TNT series Trust Me, which focused on ad agency life as well. At first blush, The Crazy Ones mirrors Trust Me in its accurate-yet-embarrassing portrayal of our industry.
The agency, Roberts & Roberts, is led by the father-daughter team of Simon Roberts (Williams) and Sydney Roberts (Gellar)—which covers blatant nepotism. The key characters are White, displaying the exclusivity so prevalent in the field. The lobby image of Simon Roberts shows the self-absorbed egotism that still fuels typical ad firms. And the official trailer features references to sex as a sales tool, excessive living, clichéd celebrity endorsements, contrived client appeasing and more. The light bulbs are overdone and corny too.
The Crazy Ones is not crazy at all. Rather, it appears to be an unintentionally sobering depiction of the ugliness and warts present in the advertising industry.