Friday, June 30, 2017

Fri-Yay: Get Your GLOW On; FX and FXX Set Comedy Returns in September

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

GLOW

by Vincent

Summer has always been a slow time for TV, but that's changed a bit in recent years with streaming services and premium cable, who generally try to keep their operations running all year. Even still, there is significantly less TV to be found in the summer months, and especially less good TV. So it's a nice surprise when we have a show like Netflix's GLOW, a refreshing new half-hour comedy from Orange is the New Black producer Jenji Kohan.

GLOW has a bit of an unconventional premise. It's based on the real female wrestling television series "GLOW," which aired from 1986-1990 in syndicated TV. GLOW was a breakthrough female wrestling show that fought many odds to become a long-running, successful program, and GLOW follows the show's conception and journey to the pilot. (The first season, at least, focuses on the show's preparation for the pilot: assumingly, future seasons would follow the rest of the show.) While Netflix's GLOW is only "based" on the true story, and takes many liberties with its characters and plot (much like Kohan's other Netflix series Orange is the New Black) it retains the same scrappy underdog energy. You get the sense that the odds are low for the show's success, and the only way it can survive is if the show's cast fights hard and really believes in themselves.

In that way, GLOW sort of feels like your classic "underdog" story, and follows many of the similar beats of one. It's sort of a "Friday Night Lights, but with female wrestlers" type of show (or, I've been describing it as "Glee, except with female wrestlers, and also unlike Glee, it's good.") There hasn't really been a good "underdog" story on TV in quite a while (since maybe the first season of the aforementioned Glee?), and it's fun to settle back into those rhythms of watching characters that start off hating each other work towards a common goal that seems impossible at the start of the series but gradually seems more and more and reach. GLOW also adds enough interesting spins on the "underdog" dynamic that it doesn't feel completely "done" before, particularly in its lead character Ruth (portrayed brilliantly by Alison Brie), who is more complex, flawed, and nuanced than you might expect from a "hero" of a show like this. In fact, the entire cast is doing a great job of taking what could be stock characters and turning them into genuinely interesting people. Betty Gilpin's Debbie could be the typical "diva" lead, but instead she's someone who feels trapped in her failing marriage and uses GLOW as an escape. Marc Maron's Sam could be a typical sleazeball director, and he kind of his, but the way Maron plays him gives insight into why he's that way. And Chris Lowell does such an excellent job with his character (the show's producer, Bash) that he somehow transforms the spoiled, coked up rich boy into one of the most lovable characters on the show.

There isn't much to watch on TV right now. So there's really no reason not to check out Netflix's GLOW, which is not only "great for a summer show" - it's just great TV.


You're the Worst

FX Networks has set the premiere dates for the acclaimed comedy series You're the Worst, which returns to FXX on Wednesday, September 6, and Better Things, which comes back to FX on Thursday, September 14. From Creator/Executive Producer Stephen Falk, You're the Worst returns to FXX for its fourth season with a special one-hour premiere on Wednesday, September 6 at 10 PM ET/PT. You're the Worst is a modern look at love and happiness told through the eyes of two people who haven't been very successful with either. It's the story of Gretchen and Jimmy, fear, heartbreak, romance, sex, food, Los Angeles, Sunday Funday, friendship, and the fact that sometimes the worst people make the best partners.

Better Things

Peabody(R) Award Winner Better Things is back for its second season on FX beginning Thursday, September 14 at 10 PM ET/PT. Better Things centers on Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon), a single, working actor with no filter raising her three daughters, Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood) and Duke (Olivia Edward) in Los Angeles. She's mom, dad, referee and the cops. Sam also watches out for her mother, Phil (Celia Imrie), an English expatriate, who lives across the street. Sam is flawed and fierce with her love for her daughters, and her own mother, as well. Sometimes, heaping the love on when she feels guilty. Sam's just trying to earn a living, navigate her daughters' lives, have fun with a friend or two and also - just maybe - squeeze in some private time once in a while.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, November 23

The Big Bang Theory - "The Holiday Summation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Amy visit Leonard and Penny for the first time since the holidays and share details about their terrible trip to Texas. Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother, Mary.

Young Sheldon - "A Solar Calculator, A Game Ball, and A Cheerleader's Bosom" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sheldon struggles with newfound popularity after utilizing statistics to help the football team.

Mom - "Fancy Crackers and Giant Women" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie suffers withdrawal after giving up cable TV to help Christy pay for her law school applications, and the women rally around Jill after she has a breakdown in her favorite department store.

Life in Pieces - "Testosterone Martyr Baked Knife" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Heather, Clementine and Jen offer to save Joan from the stress of preparing the Thanksgiving meal, the free time leaves Joan even more frazzled. Also, Greg has a boost of self-confidence after learning he has high levels of testosterone; Samantha keeps a secret from her family during Thanksgiving dinner; and John is determined to continue the tradition of using his old, unsafe knife to carve the turkey.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 20)

Thursday, November 23

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Watch Tracy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul is a musical guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kaitlin Olson (The Mick/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Kaitlin chats on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jussie Smollet (On Our Own) - Jussie appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/One Day at a Time) - Valerie reveals her favorite, good-for-you dessert she swears by on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.