Has NBC’s “Up All Night” Jumped The Shark With Sean Hayes ?

You know that terrible feeling you get when a show you love has lost its way?

That’s how I feel about the addition of Sean Hayes to “Up All Night.”

“Up” is a nice candy show. It’s not one of my all-time favorites, but I like Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph. I’ll watch if it’s on.

However, I’m not sure what exactly the writers were thinking when they canceled the Ava Show at the beginning of season two. Since the premiere, I feel like each episode is stuttering around trying to find its rhythm.

The theme is repeated within the show itself as Ava (Maya Rudolph) moves into Chris (Will Arnett) and Reagan’s  (Christina Applegate) neighborhood. Meanwhile Chris has started a construction business with Reagan’s brother, Scott (Luka Jones). And Reagan restarts her career as a stay-at-home mom, spending more time with Amy,and less time with Ava.

That’s a ton of change. And it just keeps coming with the introduction of Walter (Sean Hayes) two weeks ago.

He and Ava do get involved in some delightfully unaware antics as they create a haunted house that is “a good basis for a lawsuit.” Their interaction is reminiscent of another odd pair: Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally in their “Will & Grace” days. But I’m not sure there’s a place for it in this show.

In the Halloween special, “Ma’m’d,” I felt like I was watching the “Chris and Reagan Show” intercut with the “Ava and Marty Show.”

To be clear, I like some of the changes on “Up All Night” so far.

I adore Hayes as a goofy, cynical and selfish foil to Ava’s naïve, selfish caricature. I’m happy to see him on network comedy again. But why is he there? I don’t believe his character’s storyline, or need to be with Ava, when she obviously treated him poorly in the past.

I like Luka Jones. The addition of his character has added a much-needed calm and experienced perspective to Reagan’s manic need for control. And unlike Walter, I believe Scott’s motivation to be with Chris and Reagan as he restarts his life with a new business, post-divorce.

Applegate, Arnett and Rudolph continue to make me smile. I love the interaction between their characters and enjoy seeing their relationships evolve and change.

But the truth is, I miss the show within the show. Where is “Ava Show 2.0”? Why doesn’t Ava start her own network? Why don’t Ava and Reagan have more dialogue? I need the “Ava Show”!

Finally, the gripe that has stuck with me all through season one and now into season two? Why do we bother with baby Amy?

Sure, she’s cute. However the entire line with Chris learning to enjoy the moment instead of watching it on a screen felt forced. I realize the show is trying harder to give us reasons for the baby to exist by incorporating her into storylines. Each episode seems to include a new common parent problem for Chris and Reagan to address. But as a non-parent viewer, I care more about the friends’ shenanigans than the headaches of parenthood.

What do you think of the changes on “Up All Night”? Voice your opinion in the comments section below!

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Krista Smith is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City. She has written professionally since 2008. She has worked with Demand Studios, Resource Investing News, FiPath.com and the Art of Backpacking. Her three great loves are words, travel and television. Visit her site Krista Mae Smith for more about Krista.