Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall TV Round Up 2 - Comedy Tonight!!

ABC has unveiled a string of new comedies this season because they were feeling the lack.  And last year, NBC dominated with shows like THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK.  This year, over all, NBC is in trouble and ABC has done good.  Fox dominates Sunday with its animation block.  Read More...

COMMUNITY (NBC) and MODERN FAMILY (ABC) are actually pretty funny, though they are both inconsistent too much of the time to be great.  Considering all comedies are going to be judged against the brilliance that was Arrested Development, that means they're both doing pretty well!  Community has been airing episodes out of order, which is painfully obvious in the Britta/Jeff relationship.  It's going around in circles with them deciding to be friends but backsliding in the next episode to where they were.  And honestly, the B/J relationship is probably the least amusing part of the whole show.  I much prefer the ridiculous friendship brewing between Abed and Troy (whom some of you may recognize from Derrick Comedy).  They're hilarious together, though sometimes their ridiculousness falls a little bit flat.

Modern Family sometimes misses the mark in blending its cast of characters and balancing them out.  There are times when one group of  characters overshadows the other, or all of the families are acting too out there.  I find Sofia Vergara (the latina trophy wife of Ed O'Neill) the weakest part of this cast.  She's too stereotypical, and I don't think it's just because the writers write her that way.  Though Rico Rodriguez (Manny) more than makes up for his 'mom.'  That kid is hilarious, and I hope he has a long career in front of him!

But all that aside, when the writers get this show right, they get it very right.  I particularly liked the introduction of the family's crazy matriarch (the real one), played by Shelley Long.  She's a very talented actress and blended with the cast well.  She didn't overshadow the show the way some high-profile guest stars can, taking away the very dynamic that makes a show work.  She plays up to the casts strengths and is just right.  This show also has some awesome on going visual gags that bring all together--like Phil constantly finding a way to end up on top of Gloria (Sofia Vergara) when they're wrestling.  His crush on her is a fun thing to play off of every episode, and there are several such carry-overs that keep cropping up.

Also, I think Jesse Tyler Ferguson is adorable (with the beard).  Seriously, he may be edging out Anton Yelchin for my top ridiculous attraction to unavailable celebrities list...

FAMILY GUY (Fox) is still going strong.  Strong enough that it spun off THE CLEVELAND SHOW (Fox), an animated show about black people written by white people.  It feels that way a lot too, though I'd be interested to hear a black person's opinion on the show.

I love THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS) simply because of Sheldon. The nerdy stuff doesn't really do it for me since I am a nerd--and about somethings, more of a nerd than the guys on the show who are supposed to be the epitome of nerdom--but I think Jim Parsons is a brilliant actor.  He makes me giggle.  But I often get the feeling that Kaley Cuoco, the hot-but-dumb chick, doesn't have to stretch for her role.  Or act.  She's the weakest part of the show, and disappointingly stereotypical, though she has her moments (like when Leonard mentions a promise he made to Horowitz during their post-coital snuggle and Penny immediately jumps to worst case scenario.  Well played, Cuoco).  I didn't like Kaley on Charmed and she hasn't proven any more likable on Big Bang.  But Jim Parsons cures world hunger.

THE OFFICE (NBC) hasn't had the spark that makes a show great since about the 3rd or 4th season, but it does alright for a show that the American television system is going to keep on the air until it's stale and dead on its feet.  Or until Steve Carrell finally throws in the towel.

PARKS AND RECREATIONS (NBC)...may be growing on me?  I think overall it's eh and a complete rip off from THE OFFICE.  There's nothing NEW there, nothing that makes me tune in.  But sometimes they have wonderfully brilliant story lines--like the one where Leslie unwittingly married the gay penguins and unwittingly became an activist for gay rights--and other times it's beyond boring.  But I have to appreciate that the character Tom is from Beaufort, South Carolina.  And Azize Ansi is my favorite person on that show.  He's hysterical.  I hope to see more of him.

30 ROCK (NBC) still makes me deliriously happy.  Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin are a match made in comedic brilliance.  I hope there are more moments like Jack's Therapy Session in this coming season.

I need ear plugs to get through COUGAR TOWN (ABC).  If Courtney Cox gets any more shrill glass is going to shatter.  Courtney Cox hams it up too much and some of the better parts of the show--like the men who get together and drink Cosmos under a pact of secrecy--are lost in her character's constant neuroticism.  For a 'cougar,' she's extremely insecure.  Her character is an absolute train wreck; I thought part of the cougar appeal was the established, worldly woman aspect.  I guess not.  And I don't feel like suffering through her scenes to get to the genuinely funny parts of this show.

HANK and THE MIDDLE (ABC) don't really bear much talking about.  Hank has crashed and burn; ABC is still waffling on whether or not to pick them up for a back 9.  Which means they're weighing the cost of keeping and albatross afloat to finish out the season versus launching a new comedy.  In this economic climate, it may be the smarter choice to go with what you've got instead of launching a really expensive advertising campaign for a new show.  I'm pretty sure that's why EASTWICK got picked up for a 13-order and not axed.  I doubt they'll be back next year.  But The Middle is, as advertised, middling.  I think the young son on it is hilarious and adorable, but other than that it's nothing special.  I wasn't even interested enough to set my DVR to record it in absentia...   However, it seems to be doing well enough for ABC to give it a season order.

Not included: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER because I'm still catching up with it.  I'm on season 4!

And might as well get this out of the way--

Shows That Have Passed Their Prime But Are Still Here:

Brothers & Sisters
Desperate Horseflies
Grey's Anatomy
The Office

...all reality TV

1 comment:

Winston said...

While I agree that The Office hasn't had that spark for awhile, I really think it is back in a big way this season! It's awkward, funny, and a little mean - what it should be.