There’s a long history of grown-up-beyond-their-years kids on television, in live-action shows and particularly in animated series. Sunday nights on FOX, you can watch Lisa Simpson, Stewie Griffin and Rallo Tubbs usually be a step or two ahead of the adults in their world.
They were joined Sunday (Oct. 30) by Allen Gregory De Longpre, the title character in the new series “Allen Gregory.” He’s worldly, he’s pampered and he’s 7 years old. He’s also a little off-putting.
Jonah Hill voices the character and also co-created the show, which puts the impossibly erudite Allen — home-schooled and essentially turned into a pint-sized, very entitled grown-up by his dad Richard (French Stewart) — into the wilds of kid-dom for the first time in his life. It does not go well.
Lisa, Stewie and Rallo (and Dexter from “Dexter’s Laboratory,” and a number of other cartoon children) are often the smartest (or smart-aleck-est) people in the room, but they’re also still very much kids, prone to the needs and wants of small children. Allen has almost none of that vulnerability built into his character, so when he condescends to his new teacher (Leslie Mann) or tries to one-up the popular kid at the lunch table, it doesn’t come off as precocious, or all that funny. On first impression, anyway, Allen’s not all that fun to be around.
That was our read on the pilot, anyway. It’s a fixable problem — having Allen exhibit a few more child-like qualities going forward could go a long way toward making the character more likable. And showrunner David A. Goodman, a veteran of “Family Guy” and “Futurama,” certainly knows his way around a successful animated show.
We suspect “Allen Gregory” will pull decent ratings Sunday, airing after “The Simpsons'” annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode. But we want to hear what you think: Did you like the show? Will you be coming back for more episodes?