Yesterday, Sarah Silverman posted the pilot episode of Susan 313 to her Youtube page. The pilot was made for NBC, but they didn’t pick it up. I was a big fan of The Sarah Silverman Program, so I may be biased but I was quite impressed by Susan 313. The show would have been about a woman in her late ’30s, who returns to her old apartment when she leaves an extremely codependent relationship. The big triumph in the episodes occurs when Susan figures out how to fix the water at her place (by calling the super.)
The pilot is stacked with funny actors (Jeff Goldblum, June Diane Raphael, Ken Leung, Tig Notaro, Harris Wittels) and it had a lot of funny moments. Every scene with Tig and Sarah was an absolute delight. That being said, I can definitely see why NBC did not pick it up based on the pilot alone. While the show was often very funny, the character of Susan was underwritten. I had no idea who Susan was after the first episode, other than a great looking, kooky lady in her thirties. Basically, Susan was Sarah with a different name.
The tone of the show was slightly confusing, as well. I say confusing because while Susan 313 would be at home on say, FX or Comedy Central, it definitely wasn’t made for NBC. The show makes 30 Rock seem mainstream. For one, the comedy is a bit too dark and a bit too quirky. I’m thinking specifically of the metaphysical moments where Susan talks directly to the viewing audience. The scene where Susan looks up to see that she is alone in her imagination was reminiscent in tone of Louie. Perhaps on a different network we would be seeing more of Susan 313.
I’ve always been interested by pilot episodes. The fact that 24 minutes can decide whether or not a show is fit for the general public seems cruel. Pilots are never perfect (except for maybe Freaks and Geeks) and they are often the worst episodes of an entire series. I can see that being true of Susan 313. There was a lot of ideas and a lot of potential but it didn’t quite gel properly. With time, Susan 313 may have found its legs.
I would recommend checking out the pilot episode if only for the absolutely delightful cameo by Jeff Goldblum.