New pilot “Graduates” explores life after the undergrad

Props to Seltz for hooking me up with “Graduates” – a new pilot from Here’s To Productions, available online here.

The show follows a bunch of students as they attempt to continue the party well into their Graduate careers. John, Cameron, and Gus are sort of out of place: too young to settle down, but too old to be kickin’ it with the undergrads. While John struggles to deal with the professors he’s forced to assist (like newbie-asshole prof Evan Young), Gus refuses to believe he’s out of his prime.

John’s struggles never cease as he weasels his way out of his TA position by agreeing to speak at the memorial services of Young’s predecessor. While Gus and his new friend Greg Petzold continue their mission to continue the party, John seeks the quiet and responsbile Cameron to help him write his speech, which only puts Cam in the middle of two assinine situations as the worlds collide.

Watching “Graduates” was a lot of fun, and I totally recommend it to everyone. Though taking place in a far overused setting, it never gets caught up in the ordinary cliches that college movies get stuck in. The jokes and the dialogue are spot on, and at times reminiscent of “It’s Always Sunny.” Daniel Shafer rocked it as the douchey Evan Young and Stewart Schneck also shined as the partly suicidal (or is he?) Dean of Students. Both performances were killer.

“Sunny”-like jokes are great, but Gus’ character came a little too close to feeling like a Charlie clone. Part of the reason was the writing, and part of the reason was because Steve LaChioma literally sounded like Charlie Day at times! If the show ever got picked up, I think that’d be one area to focus on – or focus away from. Being a “Sunny” fan, it was hard for me to focus on Gus as a new character because I had Charlie on the brain.

Josh Ruben’s character John Corkery also was a liiiittle off for me too. Ruben played the socially-awkward John well, though, I think I’d want to see John be written one of two ways, either:  1)  more awkward or 2) slightly wittier.  Some of the scenes ended a little flat for me (maybe lack of a punchline?) and some of the scenes could’ve been more uncomfortable. That grating, squirmy feeling you get when Larry David, well…does anything out of the ordinary on Curb Your Enthusiasm? That would be money. The character could be pushed more and maybe even in a combination of both directions. Ruben could definitely handle it.

But hell – who am I to criticize? I for one don’t have my own pilot! Overall, “Graduates” was insanely funny (I laughed out loud quite a bit!), smart, not entrenched with cliches (I can’t stress the importance of this enough, given the plot), and the execution of the jokes and story was awesome!  Ok, networks: PICK IT UP!

I’d tune in, for sure.

The trailer is below (which doesn’t even give it justice!).  Then, watch the whole thing for free, dammit!

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