Every once in a while broadcast television manages to cough up a sly fluffball of a sitcom, something that looks thoroughly silly but also manages to bring some sting when it wants. “Making History” is just such a sly fluffball.
This is a time-travel comedy that doesn’t bother with any of the standard time-travel conundrums. Where did the time machine — in this case a large duffle bag — come from? Who cares? How does it work? No idea. Worries about messing with the present by disrupting the past? Yeah, kinda, but not really.
Adam Palley plays Dan, a guy who has an unspecified, low-level job at some unspecified college. On weekends and some Tuesdays, he travels back to 1775 to flirt with a hot Colonial girl he’s met, Deborah (the delightful Leighton Meester). But one day in the present he sees Starbucks advertising tea, so he worries he may have altered the outcome of the American revolution.
He enlists the help of a black American history professor, Chris (Yassir Lester), and they travel back to the past to straighten things out. Which they do and don’t.
Colonial times, by the way, are not pretty, with drunks throwing up everywhere and rampant sexism. To be taken seriously one must wear a wig. When Deborah finds out the truth about Dan and his time-traveling duffle bag, she can’t wait to get out.
At first the show’s breakneck pace and parade of stupid jokes carry things. But by the second episode “Making History” is hilariously dissecting America’s love affair with guns, and Deborah ends up bringing a feminist slant wherever she goes. It’s all very silly, but there’s bite beneath some of the yuks.
Which is to be expected since “Making History” is produced by “The Last Man on Earth” team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and was created by “The Grinder” writer Julius Sharpe. It’s premise may wear thin in time, but in the here and now it’s a fine, goofy distraction.
Tom Long is a longtime culture critic.
8:30 p.m. Sunday