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Series / The Crazy Ones

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Sydney: Dad, this is not something you do to a partner. My name is on the door now.
Simon: Really? I thought that was my name twice.

The Crazy Ones is a comedy which began airing in fall of 2013 on CBS. The series focuses on the Lewis, Roberts + Roberts Advertising Company, headed by Simon Roberts (Robin Williams) and his daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Sydney has recently been promoted to partner, which means she not only has to contend with her buffoonish and off-the-wall father on his own terms but also the charming copywriter Zach (James Wolk), nebbish art director Andrew (Hamish Linklater), and ditzy assistant Lauren (Amanda Setton).

The series is mostly carried by Robin Doing Something Funny and Sarah responding to it, but it has its fair share of standard workplace comedy and father-daughter heartwarming moments.

The show was cancelled after one season, with the final episode airing on April 17, 2014. It was the final television role for Williams, who died four months later.

Tropes Include:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Lauren. She's brought up an uncle in Syria and being in the Middle East when she was younger. Everyone had different theories.
    Lauren: I'm from Long Island!
    Simon: But you're our diversity hire! If anyone asks, just say you're "other."
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Zach, at least early on in the series. This bugs Andrew because everyone thought that he was the Jewish one.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Lauren points out that an old commercial Simon did featured a British man, a French maid, and a windmill in the background, and wonders what country it takes place in. Simon points out it was the 80s and nobody cared about those things yet.
  • As Himself: Fred Melamed, the voiceover artist, plays a haughty, lascivious version of himself on the show.
    • Also supermodel Adriana Lima in "Models Love Magic."
  • Batman Gambit: Simon goes into a meeting with McDonalds executives knowing they plan on firing him and taking their account to another company, spins the entire situation into a sob story about the good old old days with his daughter, and leaves with a second chance at making them a better ad.
    • One of Simon's techniques when dealing with an uncooperative client is the "pivot": go along with all of their requests, then convince them that it isn't working and try to make them come along to his side. He tries it on Kelly Clarkson in the pilot, but she's seen it before.
  • Berserk Button: Australia for Simon. It was the cause of his last and worst bender, before him finally deciding to clean up his act.
    • Although on second thought, it might have been New Zealand.
    • St. Patrick's Day as well for Simon.
    • Simon also doesn't like being accused of abandoning Sydney in a mall when she was a child.note 
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Simon is rather...eccentric, but damn if he's not a brilliant ad executive.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Andrew.
  • Celebrity Paradox: At one point Sydney mentions the TV show Bones and David Boreanaz, which means that the Buffyverse exists in the show's world.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Zach, being The Casanova, is normally a master in The Art Of Bra Removal, but in "Models Love Magic" he realises he's unable to do it... unless he's already making out with her.
  • Chick Magnet: Zach.
  • Closer to Earth: Sydney is a lot more sane than Simon, though she is learning to think more outside the box than he is.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Sydney is this to Simon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sydney and Andrew.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Invoked with the "Medal of Glory" game, where the character customisation is just a little too uncanny.
  • Dirty Old Man: Mr. Finger.
  • The Ditz: Lauren, though she's recently been shown to have more than a few Hidden Depths.
  • Ear Worm: Sydney gets a song written about her that absolutely no one can get out of their heads.
    Sydneeeeeeey, you're one of a kind...
  • Eating Pet Food: Andrew develops a taste for a client's cat treats in one episode.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Used as a legitimate plot device considering that this show is about an advertising agency.
    • In "The Spectacular", Sydney's disastrous hot coffee pitch is described by the media as "resembling a horror movie". Sydney makes a new pitch, retooling the damning footage to look like a grainy old horror movie. She nails the deal.
    • There's one episode where Simon needs a pitch for an unconventional breakfast burrito. Sydney thinking she'd done something unethical by kissing Andrew when he had a girlfriend inspires him to write the tagline "Cheat On Your Breakfast".
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Helena, described as "a sexually omnivorous Mary Poppins."
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Sydney's ex-stalker Danny gains the attractions of both Lauren and Zach.
  • Expy: Sydney is one to Ally McBeal. Adding a meta twist, there's even a moment when she is mistaken for the much older Simon's wife!
  • Genre Savvy: Kelly Clarkson has seen people try to "pivot" her before, and won't fall for it again.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The gang tries to mediate a dispute between their Spoiled Brat intern and her roommate over who gets the bigger bedroom. They manage to convince the roommate that smaller is better only to have the intern change her mind over taking the bigger room as well. This results in the two girls launching themselves at each other across the conference table with our heroes desperately trying to keep them apart.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Zach and Andrew. Hilariously Lampshaded when Andrew "starts seeing other people" while Zach is on vacation.
  • Hidden Depths: When working out how to campaign for an award Simon's been nominated for, Lauren off-handedly mentions she's good at sabotaging other campaigns (citing the use of eye drops during a beauty pageant that took her competitor out of the running). She then goes on to say, in detail, how easy it'd be to take over the ad company by killing Simon and Sydney, while laughing it all off as some hilarious joke. Simon looks mighty uncomfortable that she's put that much thought into it.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Revealed all at once about Sydney in "Bad Dad".
    • Andrew too. The "hilariously" part actually pops up as Zach and Lauren have problems not giggling over his stories.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: If you stay until right before the credits, you will see several of what didn't get put into the show.
    • This one with Kelly Clarkson unable to keep a straight face.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Guy: Gordon is much taller than his husband Timothy. Considering he's played by Brad Garrett, that shouldn't be much of a surprise.
    • Sydney is a foot shorter than Andrew. She needs to use a Scully Box when she kisses him in the finale. Even with the box, the top of her head just reaches his eyes.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: When Simon is torn between two clients, Gordon (played by The Big Guy extraordinaire Brad Garrett) shows his support for one of them, a used car dealer, by showing up at the lot and trying out a car. Unfortunately the one remaining car is... kinda small. At least it's a convertible and meant for Gordon's much smaller husband.
  • I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Invoked when Simon is pitching an ad for an erectile dysfunction drug. Since Robin Williams is the Trope Namer, it was probably inevitable this trope would show up sooner or later.
  • I Want Grandkids: Sydney's lack of romantic success has become pretty draining on Simon.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Pam Dawber, Robin Williams' co-star in Mork & Mindy, made a guest appearance in "Love Sucks".
  • Imprinting: The ducklings do this to Andrew in "Spectacular".
  • Intercourse with You: Kelly and Zach's song from the pilot, "It's Not the Meat it's the Motion". And yes, it is a sexy song about meat for McDonald's.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Zach gets a crush on a girl he's dating, though he hates it and wants it to stop.
    • Later, it's revealed that the only woman he really loved dumped him and broke his heart.
    • Happens to Zach again in the finale. He finally decides to do the grown up thing and try and pursue a proper relationship, only to realize that the tables had turned and he was the one being used.
  • Large Ham: Come on, it's Robin Williams.
    • The Voiceover Guy is a close second.
  • Love Triangle: Zach and Simon get into one when Helena (a client who owns a dating site) takes them as her lovers. She isn't interested in a relationship and when they get too emotionally involved, she chooses a Third-Option Love Interest - the announcer for a commercial after she gets aroused by his voice.
  • Married to the Job: Sydney, to the point where she complains when forced to go on vacation.
    Sydney: So they all get to stay here and I have to go to Hawaii?
    Andrew: Do you even hear yourself right now.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe: Apparently, Brad Paisley will take any gig as long as he gets paid. He even records answering machine messages at 35 dollars a pop.
    • Fred Melamed, the voiceover artist, as well. He agrees to do the eulogy at the funeral of a man nobody particularly liked only after Simon agrees to pay him an extortionate fee. He only speaks for all of ten seconds before sitting back down.
  • My Greatest Failure: Simon's was in "Spectacular". He poured pop rocks into a lake, causing a sugary geyser and killing most of the animals in it.
  • Only Sane Employee: Sydney, though it's starting to become apparent that "sane" is a relative term here.
  • Painting the Medium: The Ear Worm written by Sydney's stalker Danny, and played and hummed by everyone in the office, makes its way into the BGM.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sydney's mother walked out on her multiple times and frequently forgot about her even when the family was together. After being accused of being the neglectful parent one too many times, Simon angrily points out that although he has made countless mistakes, he accepts and admits that he was a lousy father and is honestly trying to make up for his failings.
  • Product Placement: The firm does work for real companies such as Allstate and McDonald's.
    • Word of God says that the show uses real products without any sponsorship or deals that would allow companies to have any say in how they're portrayed on the show so that the characters can riff however they want to about a product for good or for bad.
    • We do get the occasional Bland-Name Product, like the "Medal of Glory" game.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Lauren is implied to be one.
    • Zach has referenced more than one in his past. There's even hints that Lauren is his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend, but neither seems to realize this.
  • Really Gets Around: Zach has an epic sex life, if his bragging is to be believed.
    • Lauren as well. Her solution to wanting a guy with both Zach and Andrew's qualities is to date both of them on the sly.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The Scary Black Man guarding the bejeweled bra in "Models Love Magic" gives dance lessons in his offtime.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Considering that Gordon Lewis (played by Brad Garrett) is the first name on the Lewis+Roberts & Roberts title, they take quite a while to introduce him.
  • Road Apples: One of Simon's talks to the staff is illustrated with a kopi luwak coffee bean. See Solid Gold Poop for more on that.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Andrew and Sydney get their clothes wet after the fire sprinklers go off. It leads to their Ship Tease moment.
  • Shiny New Australia: Averted by Simon, who claims that "Australia is so hot even the Nazis didn't want it."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening credits have the cast imitate famous ad campaigns.
    • Two for the price of one in the outtakes at the end of episode 3 — Simon asks Sydney "Where did you learn that Dukes of Hazzard thing?" and she replies "Sunnydale."
    • During an ad pitch to the Australian Tourist Board, Simon, Zach and Andrew dress as drag queens and dance around as an allusion to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Hilariously, the Australians (where the movie originated) don't get the reference.
    • The "quant's" blunt, spartan ad in "Simon Roberts Was Here" resembles the infamous "Head-On" ad campaign.
    • Robin Williams manages to make on to himself. One episode finds the team pitching a campaign to a Viagara knockoff, and Simon drops several euphemisms for his penis, including "Mr. Happy".
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Since his first appearance, Danny Chase has gained some notoriety (of the good kind) within jingle writing circles, but his level of fame is far lower than what his Jerkass attitude would imply. He believes he's in the middle of a feud with Brad Paisley while Brad Paisley has no idea who Danny is.
  • St. Patrick's Day Episode: In "March Madness," Andrew's sisters arrive to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, which displeases Simon because he disapproves of the holiday.
  • Straight Gay: Gordon Lewis, Simon and Sydney's other partner at the agency.
  • Straight Man: Sydney
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: The times in which Sydney tries to be serious while Simon starts cracking jokes and Incredibly Lame Puns.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Lauren and Zach know a bit more than stalkers than they let on in "Sydney Australia".
  • Take That!:
    • One episode has the team pitch the idea of taking the smaller room to the Spoiled Brat intern's roommate.
    Zach: "Us younger people, we know that smaller is the place to be."
    Andrew: (operating the slideshow) "The iPad Mini."
    Zach: "The VF-500."
    Andrew: "Josh Hutcherson."
  • Those Two Guys: Zach and Andrew
  • Title Drop: In the Pilot, when Sydney is trying to win over Kelly Clarkson.
  • Too Much Information: "She's So European" focuses on this. When Sydney becomes friends with Helena, the latter shares details with her about her sex life with Zach and Simon, which makes Sydney extremely uncomfortable.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Danny Chase's second appearance sees him dressed garishly and greeting Lauren by dipping and kissing her without permission. He acts like a complete douche to everyone in general.
  • Totally Radical: Sydney every now and then, which is quite fitting as Sarah Michelle Gellar was a pop culture icon herself.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Invoked by Simon in "Sydney, Australia" while he is trying to get Danny Chase, Sydney's stalker-ish former co-worker (played by Josh Groban), to sell him the rights to the saccharine love song he'd written. Simon succeeds by pointing out that the material written after Sydney broke the co-worker's heart is much better than the song he's trying to buy. In the show itself, this is represented by having Josh Groban sing the first song in a generic pop voice while he sings the second song in the classical baritone he's known for.
    • Also the second song gets an entire club (including Sydney's current co-workers) dancing and singing along.
  • The Unfavorite: Andrew certainly feels this way.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Sydney growing obsessive with the "Medal of Glory" game leaves her ragged.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Simon and Sydney.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Sydney, who wants to prove to her dad that she can be just as legendary an ad executive as he is.
    • Andrew has this relationship with Simon also, though in his case it's closer to "Well Done Employee Guy". Although he does accidentally call Simon dad in "Spectacular".
    • Zach too, who tells Simon that he knows he's "number one" in 'Sixteen Inch Softball', talking right over Simon's attempt to reassure Sydney.