Friday, September 24, 2010

Rapid Fire Review: Sitcom Showdown

I ended up getting a little bit more backed up than I expected to be which is why there hasn’t been too many new posts around here so that’s why I decided to create a new section here. Every once and a while I’ll do a group of short reviews of things that share a similar theme; for the first set I decided to go with a little something called the ‘sitcom showdown.’ So without further babbling I bring you the ‘Sitcom Showdown.’

Mike & Molly 1x01 “Pilot” –

The show had three strikes going into it, so I wasn’t expecting much. Strike one… I loved Accidentally on Purpose, so I don’t like that a new show is on that night when we could have gotten a second season of AoP. Secondly the big night/time shift for The Big Bang Theory. I had a delicate Thursday night line up with the DVR as it was and moving tBBT to another night messed it up hardcore. Strike three… this show is clearly a mash up of CBS’s The King of Queens and Still Standing. I know on the surface the shows have very limited similarities but I loved both of them and they’re gone, I still haven’t forgiven CBS for cancelling The Class, and now with the loss of Accidentally on Purpose all I can do is shake my head and say ‘oh.’
The premise is alright I suppose, two lonely people overweight people meet at a meeting and it takes a series of events to get them to eventually ask each other out. The best thing the show has going for it is Swoosie Kurtz, but I don’t see the character of Joyce (Molly and Victoria’s mother) becoming that much of a focal point unless the main characters actually get married; then she’d become the female version of Arthur (Carrie’s dad on King of Queens.) Samuel – the waiter is a one note character at best and there’s only so many times he can make the ‘you eat so much food but people in my village starve’ joke and it be funny. Victoria is odd, I mean I can sense that they’ll put her with Carl (the other cop) and they could be fun to watch but I doubt they’ll pair off more than half the cast with each other. At the end of the day there are simply too many things on Monday nights to get invested in this show. It’s already tough enough with Chuck, The Event, How I Met Your Mother, Hawaii Five-O and Castle. If Mike & Molly aired on a different day then it could almost be worth considering giving a second try or taking a wait and see approach.


30Rock 05x01 “The Fabian Strategy” –

30Rock is the type of show that you either love to hate it or you love it’s absurdly stupid moments that you can’t help to laugh at because the more absurd they get the smarter it gets. It’s starting it’s fifth season now so it’s hard to jump into the show if you haven’t seen it before but this is the season where the show will most likely go through it’s growing pains. After this season it will have been around long enough to go into syndication so it’s only a matter of the show retaining it’s quality and not going downhill if they go for a sixth season.
Jenna’s fifth season contract stipulations are funny. But I wish we could have seen more of them and have them become even more outlandish just so we can see her be crazy and even stranger than she is most of the time. Tracy going crazy and seeing Kenneth is good, but you kind of have to expect crazy things when it comes to Tracy. I could have lived without ever having to hear Alec Baldwin say ‘I’m a daddy bear,’ it just came out way too creepy for me, but that was kind of the point. I did like that the episode ended with a nice little book end where Kenneth started seeing Tracy everywhere he went – I kind of wish the keep him working at CBS because he’s never been my favorite character and this would allow for less screen time for him.


The Big Bang Theory 04x01 “The Robotic Manipulation” –

I’ve already talked about why I hate the move to Thursdays so I won’t get into that with again. I’ve always been a fan of tBBT so it’s a show I’ll follow everywhere. I am a bit concerned since Kaley Cuoco was injured and will be missing an undetermined amount of episodes, but the fact that Eliza Dushku will be in at least one episode will help fill the gap, it just won’t be the same with a lack of Penny though. I’m not too worried about it being a make it or break it deal because it’s always done well in the ratings and even though it’s just now starting season four it’s already been renewed up through season five/six and the cast’s contracts actually cover a seventh season as well. It also doesn’t hurt that the ratings shot up 37% from last season.
The whole ‘Sheldon has a girlfriend’ thing is funny – I loved Penny’s reaction to the whole thing especially the whole spit-take and robot hand napkin thing when she heard him say that he and Amy were considering having a child. The sex discussion between Sheldon and Penny was fantastic, especially how he doesn’t even refer to himself as ‘human’ I love the interaction between the two of them, I wish the writers would drop the whole Penny/Leonard thing, Sheldon and Penny have much better chemistry and are far more entertaining to watch. It really shows a lot of character growth because of Penny’s continued friendship with everyone after her break up with Leonard and Sheldon actually acts the most human around her. Howard and the robot hand thing ended up being a little too disturbing, but funny up until he figured out ‘it felt like a real hand.’ I know the running plot is Raj can’t talk to girls sober, but you’d think after three years he’d be able to at least talk in front of Penny when they’re all eating dinner together, especially with how frequently they do it.


Better with You 01x01 “Pilot” –

Before this show even started I wanted to like it but I was afraid to because Josh Cooke and Jennifer Finnigan aren’t really known for long running TV shows. Joanna Garcia has even worse luck when it comes to TV, outside of Reba no new show that she’s launched has even made it past 18 episodes. If this show makes it I will have bittersweet feelings when it comes to it, I actually loved Joanna’s character on How I Met Your Mother and I’d love to have her back and that won’t happen if this show lasts. And then there’s Kurt Fuller – I loved him on Supernatural but there really isn’t a way to bring his character back, and honestly there are other characters I’d want back before him, so again with the iffy. Kurt and Debra Jo Rupp played the married couple, Jennifer and Josh play the committed couple who have been together for nine years yet haven’t jumped the broom and Joanna and newcomer Jake Lacy play a couple who have only known each other for a few months and are now engaged.
The premise is simple – three couples all at different stages in their lives and relationships, it could be funny if played right. I don’t know if the writers were just trying to cram as much as possible in the first episode as possible or it was Joanna’s naturally sped up talking and the fact that Jennifer tried to keep up with it but it made it seem like I had been watching the show for almost a half hour when in reality I was only a few minutes in. The show could be better if they didn’t use the laugh track so heavily; the parts of the show that were funny were actually funny enough that you didn’t need to be told it was funny. I don’t know if it was how Jake played Casey but that on top of the whole needing to get married because of an unplanned pregnancy thing it feels a bit like watching Van and Cheyenne 2.0. The best thing going for this show is the fact that there isn’t really anything on Wednesday nights for it to go against. Sure there’s Survivor but it’s a different type of show, I mean it’s not like they’re going up against The Big Bang Theory or anything like that. Plus ABC is getting better at giving shows time to grow, I didn’t think any of the sitcoms from last year would make it and The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town are all still going strong, so there’s got to be hope right?


Cougar Town 02x01 “All Mixed Up” –

I’m going to be completely honest here; I never thought I’d ever watch this show. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know why it happened but I watched it last year and I was surprised that I liked it, but in the back of my head I kept saying ‘it won’t last a season, it won’t last a season, it won’t last a season’ … and then it did. This is one of the few shows where the entire cast is likable and that really shocked me considering individually I didn’t really care for quite a few things the actors have done in the past. I liked Courteney in Dirt, but not on Friends (even though she had the most likable character on Friends); Busy Philipps is where TV shows go to die, Dan Byrd is like the male version of her, TV shows don’t survive him, and if they do they’re gone within a year after he gets involved with them. The bright spot always has been and always will be Carolyn Hennesy as Barb, she needs a bigger role on the show, but it wold be hard to have her interact with the cast on a regular basis.
I’m actually going to consider this episode a wash because of how much they pimped out the Jennifer Aniston/Courteney Cox reunion. Granted it helped the ratings, but they didn’t need help to begin with. But the whole Jules/Grayson thing seems way too forced this episode – like it wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t try so hard to write in a character for Jennifer. The only plot that felt natural ended up being the Travis and Laurie ‘who can stay awake the longest’ plot. Jules and Ellie stalking Glenn was creepy. I don’t think I want her back on the show at all.


$..! My Dad Says 01x01 “Pilot” –

Before I even watched this episode I hated the fact that it’s on CBS, I’d much rather it be on SHOWTIME or HBO when they could actually say the name of the show. I cringe every single time I hear someone call this show ‘Bleep My Dad Says.’ The cast is pretty solid, I always liked William Shatner on Boston Legal and I loved Nicole Sullivan on King of Queens, MADtv and Rita Rocks (yes I watched that show for her,) Will Sasso provides a mini MADtv reunion with Nicole which is a nice nod. I don’t know what to think of Jonathan Sadowski as ‘Henry.’ I would have rather they stayed with the original actor they cast but for some reason they replaced Ryan Devlin with Jonathan and I don’t really think it works – but that could be because I’m not familiar with Sadowski.
One thing I’m not happy about at all is the laugh track. Everything Nicole touches turns into comedy gold, Will Sasso is funny in his own right but kind of one note. Shatner is essentially playing Denny Crane again which works but having a laugh track with any of those actors, let alone all three of them in the same show is kind of a disservice. The show would be much funnier if it didn’t have the laugh track. I want to like this show, I really do but the laugh track kills it and Jonathan kind of brings it down. It seems like a show that will grow on you with time, it's just a matter of if it will get the time it needs.


No comments:

Post a Comment