Lucky 7 Tries to Balance Comedy and Drama

Kristina Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Editor
ABC’s Lucky 7 is one of many new series that premieres this fall.  Set in Gold Star, a New York City gas station, the show focuses on the seven employees and their families.  Each character is struggling financially to support themselves and their families, and some are in more trouble than others.  For years, the Gold Star employees have been pitching in every week for a chance to win the lottery, but have had no success.  So it comes as a shock to everyone when, one miraculous night, they win the $45 million jackpot.
Sounds interesting, right?  And that’s only one of many major plot points we are exposed to in this episode.  But despite the fact that there are a bunch of major things going on, some which have never really been portrayed on TV before, overall it was disappointing.  The show is trying too hard to create a mixture of comedy and drama.  The jokes that are continuously dropped in throughout the episode (some even during the most serious situations), detract from the believability and make it seem much more artificial.  There are some really deep moments in this first episode, a robbery, a near death situation, and many relationship problems, but they are all ruined by the show’s attempt to be humorous.
The beginning of the episode was especially frustrating, because it left the audience with absolutely no clue as to what was going on.  It started out with a car chase involving the cops.  Brothers Matt (Matt Long) and Nicky Korzak (Stephen Louis Grush) argue with each other as they are being chased.  This ultimately leads to Matt throwing a bag full of money out of the sunroof.  Why?  We have no idea.  Do we eventually find out?  No.  This scene isn’t even brought back at the end of the episode, and the audience is forced to make the connection themselves that they are employees at Gold Star.  These first two minutes of the episode left the show off to a very rough start, because it failed to introduce the characters and the plot of the show.

Matt Long and Stephen Louis Grush in the pilot of Lucky 7. Photo Credit: ABC/John Medland.
Matt Long and Stephen Louis Grush in the pilot of Lucky 7. Photo Credit: ABC/John Medland.
Another problem with this episode is that the Korzak brothers are really the only interesting characters in the whole show.  Although the audience is given a peek at the other coworkers’ backgrounds and home life, they lack substance and don’t compare to those of Matt and Nicky Korzak.  There’s Samira Rajpur (Summer Bishil) whose father (an immigrant cab driver) is dead set against her desire to attend Juilliard, and instead is aiming for an arranged marriage between her and a doctor.  Then there’s Denise (Lorraine Bruce), a middle-aged woman whose husband is falling out of love with her because she’s overweight.  Leanne (Anastasia Phillips) is a single mother struggling to make ends meet.  Bob Harris (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) is the boss, and is preparing to break the news to his employees that the owner of Gold Star is considering selling the place to a national chain…meaning that all of them could potentially lose their jobs.  Antonio Clemente (Luis Antonio Ramos) is a mechanic at the gas station, and is the only worker who doesn’t reap the benefits of the jackpot, because instead of putting money into the pool he has been saving it at home in a jar (causing a major problem with his wife, who for a brief moment thinks that he has won the lottery).
So what’s so interesting about Matt and Nicky that puts their stories above everyone else’s?  Well, Nicky is an ex-convict.  Actually, after this episode, we realize that the “ex” in ex-convict isn’t so accurate.  After Matt’s wife threatens to move out with their kids into her sister’s home (to escape Matt’s crazy mom whom they live with), Matt is desperate for some money to buy a new place.  Nicky is also in some sort of trouble, as we see him talking to several mysterious people on the phone.  When Nicky comes to Matt with an idea for a quick source of cash, Matt agrees.  However, this plan turns out to be not so simple, and definitely not so legal.  They end up staging a somewhat fake robbery at Gold Star (with Nicky dressed as a robber pointing a gun at Matt and forcing him to open the safe).  What was supposed to be a clean, fast, painless job eventually leads to Bob being whacked over the head by Nicky and almost dying.  When Matt learns that he has won the lottery, he is torn between telling the truth about the robbery or keeping quiet.
Lucky 7 lacks the wow factor that is needed for a fall series premiere to succeed.  However, it’s not too late.  It’s possible that all this show needs is a little time to expand on their characters and work out the kinks (basically, take out every joke that is made).  Although this first episode proved to be a disappointment, viewers should give it a chance.  You never know, maybe next week’s episode will be a must-see.

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