The Not Too Late Show With Elmo review – an endearing, family-friendly Muppet talkshow routine

May 28, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
HBO Max, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

The Not Too Late Show With Elmo is refreshing and endearing for-all-ages TV that you can’t help but be charmed by.

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3.5

Summary

The Not Too Late Show With Elmo is refreshing and endearing for-all-ages TV that you can’t help but be charmed by.

Of all the streaming platform launches in the last few years, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that HBO Max’s has been the weirdest. With a light rom-com anthology making up the only scripted adult-skewing content, it’s left to the rest of the line-up to cater to other demographics. The Not Too Late Show With Elmo is aimed sniper-like at the usual Sesame Street crowd, obviously intending to introduce the nippers to the talk show format. And it’s pretty good at doing that, even if you have to wonder why kids would need to be introduced to such a thing in the first place.

Elmo (Ryan Dillon) hosts from his Sesame Street apartment where he lives with his father Louie (Tyler Bunch) and mother Mae (Stephanie D’Abruzzo); Cookie Monster (David Rudman) does his announcing for him, Prairie Dawn (D’Abruzzo) directs, Rosita (Carmen Osbahr) holds cue cards, Mama Bear (Jennifer Barnhart) and the Monsters are the in-house band. It’s everything you’d expect to see from a talk show, including Jimmy Fallon, who’s Elmo’s first guest, but with a toddler tone that delights in knock-knock jokes, dancing, and goodnight songs.

It’s hard not to be charmed by all this, regardless of age, and you have to imagine that the kids will lap it up. A lot of it is scripted, but there’s just enough improvisational patter for that riff-and-react Muppets style to come through. Perhaps more importantly, it isn’t trying to be preachy or make veiled gags in the direction of hot-button issues or trendy topics; it isn’t even trying to be educational, really, since Elmo’s bedtime routine is the closest the first episode gets to a lecture.

With bite-sized 15-ish-minute episodes, this is laidback for-all-ages distraction TV in the purest sense, and you can tell that The Not Too Late Show With Elmo loves being that and isn’t aspiring to anything more. It’s endearing and it’s hard to dislike, even if it’s equally hard to decipher what the value of it is – that’s something, though, that probably isn’t worth thinking too much about. Just relax, and enjoy celebrities interacting with Elmo. Why not?


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