If I see one more new show about a guy who works in a big-box retail store, I’m going to scream. Cavemen, which debuted on ABC last night, has a protagonist who works in an Ikea-like furniture showroom called Nörskbild, which I suppose is a step up from the Best Buy-like Buy More where Chuck works on Chuck (next door to the Wal-Mart-like Large Mart), or the Home Depot-like Work Bench where Sam works on Reaper, or even the Kinko’s-like Copy Kingdom where Claire’s dad started working this season on Heroes. We get it: big-box stores are as soul-crushing as they are all-American. Let’s move on.
Here’s my one-grunt review of the Cavemen premiere: Ehh. (Look for an official, more sophisticated review from our critic in a forthcoming issue of EW.) There’s been a lot of talk about Cavemen as a racial allegory, but there’s really not much to chew on there. Joel (Bill English) is an assimilationist (the pilot’s plot hinged on his reluctance to tell his roomies that he’s dating a homo sapien), while Nick (Nick Kroll, pictured, right) is a proud separatist (fittingly, he’s also a grad student, with academia-bred politics). But the show seems to favor Joel’s position by default, since he’s a nice, smart guy, while Nick is pretty unlikable: he’s lazy, he’s a mooch, he’s pretentious, and he’s constantly undermining and taking advantage of his supposed friends, particularly Joel’s naive younger brother, Andy (Sam Huntington, left). On the other hand, as the designated sarcastic one (the David Spade character, if you will), Nick does get all the best lines. (Even so, the Nick character was funnier yesterday for a few minutes on The View, poking fun at creationist/flat-earther Sherri Shepherd, than during the whole Cavemen pilot.)
Still, for all the hand-wringing about fitting in, the cavedudes didn’t face much in the way of prejudice during the pilot — the closest thing was a handful of patronizing comments by a neighbor, cynical Realtor Leslie (Six Feet Under’s Julie White, scene-stealingly funny). Excessive body hair aside, the cavemen aren’t that different from any other group of late-twentysomething guys. That may be the point, but it prompts the question: why, then, should we be interested in them or care about what happens to them?