American Auto: Season Two
March 20, 2023 6:39 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

American Auto has to be in the running for the best sitcom that nobody is watching or talking about. A team of clueless executives headed up by Ana Gasteyer tries to run an American car company all while dealing with (or failing to deal with) the big issues of day that are familiar to corporate America (and countless MetaFilter discussions): ageism, sexism, credentialism, climate change, online security, legal accountability, red-state abortion laws, modern feminism, generational gaps, job security, corporate accountability, advertising and media relations, international politics, supply chain challenges, and more.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% audience score + one positive critic's score

The Decider: "Our Call: STREAM IT. American Auto isn’t on par with a workplace comedy like Abbott Elementary, but the ensemble works well together and there is more than enough character-based humor to overcome some plotting problems."

Entertainment Weekly: "American Auto feels like it's closing in on something edgier, with its cast of catastrophically unprepared executives edging their legacy company towards oblivion. Also, there's no such thing as a bad catamaran joke."

To get you started, the main characters are stereotypes, but ones that mostly work, and ones that allow a pretty easy entry into the show.

CEO: Mature woman brought in from a non-car company with no automotive background
Nepo Exec: Part of the founding family of the company and still the biggest shareholder, and an idiot
PR woman: Typical perky, people-pleasing PR type*
Young Exec: Pulled off the assembly line and given a corner office with no management experience or schooling*
Corporate counsel: British and the definition of milquetoast
Designer: Smart, savvy, gay

*hooked up at the start of the first season, so the casual sex precludes the will-they-or-won't-they sitcom problem and now the question is when will they hook up again?
posted by sardonyx (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I saw a few of the very early first season episodes. I'll admit, as a car person, I was curious about the automotive angle. There is less of that than I'd hoped for but enough to at least give a nod to the motorheads watching.

I've seen all of the second season (so far) and while there are some weaker episodes (which is to be expected) there is also some brilliance--specifically episode seven. Okay, it may not be brilliant, but it hit exactly right for me, especially when it came to the geopolitics/history portion of the the plot. (The involvement of a certain West Wing cast member definitely aided this story line.) I haven't laughed that many times watching a sitcom episode in ages.

Do yourself a favour and watch episode seven. Even if you haven't seen it, it does a good job introducing the characters and explaining their backstories. It also alludes to what has gone before, but the only thing you need to know is that Payne Motors has gone lurching from one crisis to another, and this was supposed to be a break for the team after everything that has happened.

Stepping away from episode seven in particular and looking at the season as a whole, I can say that some of the discussions around the big issues of the day are ones that I've either overheard or taken part in--or at the very least, I've experienced similar debates. Since it's a sitcom, things are treated a bit more broadly, but not always ridiculously so. A lot of Gasteyer's comments about being a woman of a certain age now having to figure out how to be and act comes across as legitimate concerns.

It's a network sitcom, so I don't want to overhype it, but I do think it's worth 22 or 23 minutes of your time (or however long sitcoms run these days).
posted by sardonyx at 6:54 PM on March 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

Justin Spitzer is getting better and better at skewering the modern corporate/business world, from "The Office", through "Superstore" and now "American Auto" the satire is just sublime at times. (As good as it can get on a corporate TV network anyways)

I unabashedly love this show, since S01.
posted by rozcakj at 6:04 AM on March 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

"construction-paper cows" ROTFLMAO
posted by sardonyx at 9:20 AM on March 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

Unabashedly love it. Funniest network show in years.
posted by davidmsc at 11:52 PM on March 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

I have no idea what the future of the show is, but the season finale almost felt like a good-bye episode in case of cancellation.
posted by sardonyx at 6:58 AM on April 19, 2023

100%, sardonyx.

I watched the last 4 of the season today and the comedy was a lot sharper there than in the rest of the season. Katherine's divorce seemed to help. More of Wesley's sudden saliva / penis incidents if this show continues, please.

(Oh, and Cyrus's alone-in-a-room karaoke, too.)
posted by minsies at 6:18 PM on April 23, 2023

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