Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Fall Television Season (Comedies)

by richmin3000

in anticipation of my top ten tv shows of 2011 list later this week, the following are my short reviews of the comedies that i watched this fall:

new girl (fox tuesdays)
you can read my earlier review of new girl, here. it's pretty clear that the show will live or die, at least for now, with your ability to tolerate the repeated attempts at being cute and adorable by zooey deschanel. luckily for them (or me perhaps), i'm not yet completely over her cuteness. however, this show clearly has no idea how to be original or create consistently funny characters. besides schmidt or jess (deschanel) the show has yet to find a steady voice for the other two roommates and the writers keep trying different things, in order to see what sticks. mostly it fails.

no hyperbole allowed: c+

suburgatory (abc wednesdays)
probably the most solid new sitcom i've seen this fall, the premise (city girl moves to the burbs) is pretty predictable in its jokes, but the execution is solid. suburgatory, unlike new girl, has shown an ability to progress their characters and their jokes. cheryl hines (curb your enthusiasm) is pretty hysterical as the poster child for the suburban housewife.

no hyperbole allowed: b

modern family (abc wednesdays)
modern family has not been the same since their fantastic first season. after struggling through an up and down second season, things have not improved much to start season 3. the big cast and flexible structure of the show allows them tons of options for laugh, but it seems like the writers continue to take the easy road with formulaic sitcom writing. the show is still incredibly funny at times and the ensemble is one of the best on tv, but it's really disappointing to see a show fail to live up to its potential.

no hyperbole allowed: b+

up all night (nbc wednesdays)
yes, i will watch a sitcom with will arnett (arrested development), christina applegate (married with children/anchorman) and maya rudolph (snl/bridesmaids). watching tv is as much about trusting those involved (showrunners, actors, studio) as it is about enjoying the show itself. you can get a good sense early on whether or not there is a future (it is like a relationship). up all night hasn't yet been consistently great, but it's slowly building into a solid comedy.

no hyperbole allowed: b

community (nbc thursdays)
o community, where art thou? who knows if we'll ever see this great comedy again, though nbc promises it'll be back. they are being temporarily sidelined as 30 rock makes it return in january. thursday nights on nbs is the mecca for comedies, with heavyweights, the office, emmy darlings, 30 rock, and current critical darlings, parks n recreations. but no show, at its peak, is as smart or funny as community. it's a risk-taking show that, when it hits, transcends the genre of situational comedies.

no hyperbole allowed: a-

parks and recreation (nbc thursdays)
the best sitcom this year. the best sitcom since the first season of modern family, the height of the office or even, dare i say, arrested development. is there a funnier collection of characters? leslie knope, ron swanson, andy, april, tom haverford, et al... they are so well defined by writer, michael shur (read his profile here).

no hyperbole allowed: a

the office (nbc thursdays)
this is what happens when you overstay your welcome. andy, the new boss, was never one of my favorite characters (in truth, my least favorite character) so suffice it to say i'm not happy he was chosen to replace michael scott (carrell). i wish he never came back from anger management many years ago. james spader has been pretty funny, but overall the show has lost its heart and its edge. this is sad for me to admit because i've never enjoyed a sitcom more than the office at its peak (all downhill since jim and pam's wedding... why does marriage ruin everything??!!!).

no hyperbole allowed: b-

beavis and butthead (mtv thursdays)
apparently there are still music videos and apparently mocking them is a timeless art. beavis and butthead return after a 14-year hiatus and besides music vidoes, they are able to mock the bevy of ridiculous reality tv mtv has in their vaults... target #1: jersey shore. the jokes, as usual, are never laugh-out-loud, but i can't stop chuckling and that's good enough for me. the nostalgia is strong in this one.

no hyperbole allowed: b

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