Outmatched: Renew Or Cancel?
Written by Brandon Lewis on March 29, 2020
Photo credit: imdb.com
Thursday night I sat on my coach in my basement and watched the season finale of the FOX comedy Outmatched. The show, which debuted in January, revolves around the idea of two dumb parents raising four children, three of which are genius’. I found the show hilarious from start to finish, but the general public disagrees.
The season only averaged 2.4 million views per episode, a far cry from their competition. For comparison sakes, a re-run of CBS’s Young Sheldon drew 5.34 million viewers Thursday night. Outmatched only drew 2.6 million, in their season finale.
Last Man Standing, the popular comedy starring Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, has had good numbers since moving over to the Thursday night at 8 p.m. time slot at the beginning of this year. The show averages 4.3 million viewers per episode. Now yes, that number is behind Young Sheldon and ABC’s Station 19, but 4.3 million is still a ton of viewers when you compare it to Outmatched.
Now, there are two questions FOX must answer:
- Why are the ratings for Outmatched so low?
- Should the show be cancelled after just one season?
The answer to the second question is obvious to me; the show should have a Season 2. I never feel that a show should be cancelled after one season unless the ratings are abysmal, and I mean a-bys-mal!!! It’s just too hard in my opinion to judge a show based on one season because the plot of the show is just getting set up, and we are just starting to get a grasp on what the show is really about.
However, FOX does need to figure out why the ratings for Outmatched are uncharacteristically low for such a new show. In this article, I will be diving into two big reasons why the show has struggled to keep viewers not named me.
Let’s be honest here: A show usually doesn’t get good viewership because the show isn’t well written, and Outmatched is no exception. The idea is a brilliant one: Two dumb parents raising four kids and three genius’. However, the writing doesn’t add up to the brilliance of the idea.
Me and my best friend Andrew Baca recorded a podcast together this past week where we talked about the writing of the show (skip to 6:25 to hear the part about Outmatched). I don’t think Baca could have explained it any better.
“There’s definitely a few people I would write off. They need to get rid of their neighbors and best friends (Irwin and Rita). I do not like them. The fourth daughter is really dumb, and that’s who they love… NOPE! I would have written her off immediately… IMMEDIATELY! She serves no purpose.”
“Why is their house nice? If they’re supposedly this blue-collar family that jokes about private school tuition, and how they can’t afford it, then why are they living in a house that big in New Jersey, complaining about money and private school tuition. They have a nice ass kitchen, a nice ass living room, everything seems updated and new, the basement’s nice. Why? Why do they live in such a nice house hold?”
As my best friend would later go on to explain, “It’s not that the writing is BAD. It just could be A LOT better. It just aggravates me that they (the writers) fumbled a multi-Emmy winning concept!”
Unlike Baca, I am not a detailed-oriented person. I didn’t even think about details like that until he mentioned them to me on the podcast, but he’s right, especially about the house part. I don’t know if the character’s need to be written off, but the show lacks details.
Better character development
Character development goes hand-in-hand with the writing, but it is also on the actor’s to embrace their role. I feel like I know who Mike, Kay, Irwin, Rita, Brian and Nicole are, but I’m not sure of Marc and Leila. I really feel the actor’s that play Mike (Jason Biggs), Kay (Maggie Lawson), Irwin (Finesse Mitchell), Rita (Tisha Cambell), Brian (Connor Kalopsis) and Nicole (Ashley Boettcher) understand their characters whereas the actor’s that play Marc (Jack Stanton) and Leila (Oakley Bull) don’t fully grasp their character, yet.
The reason why I say yet is because on the season finale (SPOILER ALERT), Leila reveals to Irwin that she is secretly a genius as well during a birthday party in which Leila was upset throughout the whole episode because she wasn’t sharing it with Marc (It wasn’t actually anybody’s birthday. What happened was it was Marc’s birthday a week before, and Mike and Kay decided to tell Leila that she shared the same birthday with Marc for eight years, so they didn’t have to throw four parties. Mike and Kay felt guilty about the lie, so they threw Leila a party).
If Outmatched does receive a Season 2, I am going to bet it will focus more on Leila and Marc growing as characters as Leila tries to hide being a genius to the rest of the family while Marc continues to grow.
Now that is a concept I can buy into, and then you throw in Mike and Kay’s shannigans with Irwin and Rita, plus Brian and Nicole growing older and (thinking) that they are wiser?! Sign me up!
Yes, Outmatched has its flaws when it comes to writing and character development, but the concept is there. We got a twist and a cliffhanger at the end of the first season. The show cannot end after just ten episodes.
The creator of the show, Lon Zimmet, famously cut ABC’s Happy Endings too early. Here’s to hoping Outmatched doesn’t suffer the same fate.