Here’s why CBS ultimately rejected the high-concept comedy Super Clyde, according to EW’s own James Hibberd: It “was deemed off-brand for the network and the net’s other comedies came in strong. Plus, successful comedy blocks are about creating flow, and there was also nothing compatible that CBS had to pair it with.”
That reasoning is understandable, if disappointing for fans of ex-Harry Potter star Rupert Grint. But after watching the pilot for Super Clyde – available now on CBS.com – I can’t help but wish I had a time-turner, which I’d use to travel back and urge the network to change its mind.
Super Clyde stars Grint as its title character, a humble fast-food worker who decides to dedicate his life to helping people after he suddenly comes into an enormous amount of money. In both premise and execution, it evokes another quirky, highly pedigreed sitcom that died an untimely death last year: The Goodwin Games, which lasted just seven episodes on Fox.
Both Goodwin and Clyde revolve around three 20-/30-something siblings – an oldest brother, a blonde middle sister, and a youngest brother – living together in a mansion. Both clans must deal with the legacy of their eccentric millionaire patriarchs. Both boast great casts, high production values, a kooky sense of humor, and themes about redemption. If CBS had saved Goodwin from cancellation and picked up Clyde, it could have created an hourlong block of comedy perfect for viewers sick of the interchangeable family sitcoms currently clogging primetime.
Instead, we’ll just have to sigh and imagine what might have been. Clyde’s pilot isn’t perfect, by any means; the fat jokes about Clyde’s sister Faith (Justine Lupe) are hoary and lame, and Clyde’s own germaphobia is ill-defined. (He’s afraid to ride a bus, but not to work at a bacteria-laden joint called Ploppy’s Burger?) But its writing is sharp and quippy, its premise is intriguing, and most of all, its cast is pretty great – particularly Grint, doing a flawless American accent, and brilliant British comedian Stephen Fry as Clyde’s loyal butler Randolph. (Fun fact: Fry also voiced the UK editions of the Harry Potter audiobooks.)
There are a few new fall sitcoms funnier than Clyde – but several are a whole lot worse. And if nothing else, it really stings that CBS spurned this show but picked up another, more conventional Greg Garcia project: The Millers, a.k.a. Margo Martindale Farting. Perhaps that’s the sitcom its schedule needed – but it’s not the one that viewers deserve.