‘Mr. Mayor’ assessment: Ted Danson is properly elected to play TV’s newest bumbling politician

Granted, the bumbling-politician-and-his-eccentric-staff framework usually seems like a barely warmed-over model of “Veep,” minus nonstop swearing. There’s additionally a dollop of coronary heart related to Danson’s Neil Bremer, a retired billboard tycoon, who ran to be able to impress his teenage daughter (Kyla Kenedy) — a sitcom-style subplot the present may in all probability have performed with out.

That disclaimer apart, Danson is kind of humorous in locations because the proverbial fish out of water, mystified by the calls for of a job that he impulsively wanted the earlier mayor abruptly stop. That little bit of historical past may be the present’s most intelligent stroke, explaining away its absence of Covid-19 protocols within the course of — a joke made barely uncomfortable by information that manufacturing was briefly shut down because of coronavirus.

Premiering with back-to-back half-hours, the primary episode dutifully units up the idea and characters, amongst them Bremer’s harried chief of workers (“Loopy Ex-Girlfriend’s” Vella Lovell), who wonders what she’s gotten herself into; and a holdover from the earlier administration (“SNL” alum Bobby Moynihan), mainly saved round to have somebody to throw beneath the bus if issues get dangerous.

A lot of the battle, in the meantime, stems from a Metropolis Corridor veteran, Arpi (Holly Hunter, punching properly under her appearing weight), who resents having this newcomer in workplace.

The true hope for “Mr. Mayor” comes in the course of the second episode, when Bremer makes numerous public appearances after an unlucky pitstop at a pot dispensary. His altered state yields numerous laugh-out-loud moments, and that is not simply the brownies speaking.

Like “30 Rock,” the jokes come quick and livid, and there is a particular L.A.-centric vibe to them, made rather less novel by their familiarity. (For starters, distinguishing between second wives and daughters could be a actual problem.)

Fortunately, Danson elevates even the extra banal gags, and stays good firm if nothing else. There’s additionally one thing vaguely reassuring about having him again Thursdays on NBC, which has been his periodic house since “Cheers” opened its doorways in 1982.

Granted, many probably are much less inclined to snigger on the present state of politics than cry. But even within the face of that, it is oddly comforting to see Danson again in a spot the place all people is aware of his identify.

“Mr. Mayor” premieres Jan. 7 at eight p.m. ET on NBC.

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