Mr. Mayor, assessment: Ted Danson returns to make American politics pleasant again


The reliable half-hour American sitcom had a good lockdown. People wanted something they could watch as a family that was funny, but not exuberant, that was overall uplifting rather than sarcastic, and most importantly, lasted for hundreds of episodes. Something must have filled all those idle lockdown afternoons. And mornings and evenings.

Schitt’s Creek has become a hit monster on the back of this need for comfort laughter, alongside Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place and Parks and Recreation. This is probably the reason why NBC made Mr. Mayor (Sky Comedy), a Ted Danson vehicle that’s about as risky as cuddling the dog.

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The plot is so simple that it feels like an amalgamation of several shows you’ve seen before but can’t quite put your finger on: Danson plays Neil Bremer, a retired advertising billionaire who’s falling into the post of mayor of Los Angeles, following the resignation of the former mayor in the face of the multiple horrors of 2020. Bremer sees his name on one of his empty billboards and determines that it must be a sign (in addition to be a sign – not a bad joke to begin with).

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It’s a classic fish-out-of-water setup and you can imagine precisely how it all plays out – Bremer is a good, straightforward man who definitely doesn’t suit office but style, as if Ted Lasso put Martin Sheen’s jacket in the west wing.

Bremer is a rich old white man who stumbles wide-eyed into a waking world, and writers Robert Carlock and Tina Fey (30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt) quickly surround him with several sitcom staples – Jayden Kwapis is his hapless communications director. (played by Bobby Moynihan, a double of our own Gordon Kennedy); Mikaela and Tommy are his two young strategists, tearing their hair out with every faux pas from Bremer; and Arpi Meskimen (Holly Hunter has fun) is his nemesis whom he brings in as his deputy, on the principle of inside the tent.

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