blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Upload (2020) s01e07 – Bring Your Dad to Work Day

As a streaming sitcom, filler doesn’t feel the same way in “Upload” as it does in a regular sitcom. “Upload” is not chasing that syndication deal, which in theory wouldn’t affect the A plot—dead guy Robbie Amell falling in love with his living virtual—actual—assistant Andy Allo—much but the B plot involving Amell being murdered and his fiancée Allegra Edwards somehow being involved… the B plot seems like it’d be important since there are only ten episodes.

“Upload” doesn’t worry about it, instead turning in a more traditional sitcom episode. It fits the basic trajectory—Allo’s dad, Chris Williams, is slowly dying from his vape cancer (despite occasionally reminding, favorably, to the future news in Robocop, “Upload”’s predictions are usually basic and desperate)—and Allo has Amell show him around the virtual afterlife because she wants Williams to meet her potential fella.

It’d be amazing if they’d gotten someone with some charm for the Williams part. Or if they’d gotten someone with some chemistry opposite Amell, instead of the pair in a very forced class and maybe race clash and it’s unpleasant. “Upload” doesn’t have the capacity to ask hard questions; it’s outside the scope, something show creator Greg Daniels probably ought to remind the writers.

Speaking of writers… this episode’s script is from Owen Daniels, one of the regulars. He plays the virtual world’s A.I. assistant. It’s never as funny as it ought to be. Interesting how Daniels doesn’t give himself anything significant to do in this episode, instead plays it straight and subjects us to way too much Williams.

Some big subplot items this episode too, but the funniest thing ends up being Zainab Johnson. As usual. She loses a customer’s flash drive or whatever—containing the person’s data—and has to find it or else.

Allo’s got her investigating subplot, which is… eh. Though it certainly seems like it’s going to get moving given a sabotage subplot.

Allo’s been fine on the show—very likable, sometimes cute—but she has to carry her scenes with Williams and does a fairly admirable job of it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make the episode any better. It’s just nice to see her developing as an actor. Someone ought to get something out of “Upload.” Other than William B. Davis, relishing his performance as an eternal, ever evil Koch brother.

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