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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, July 20

The Big Bang Theory - "The Brain Bowl Incubation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a successful experiment combining their genes, Sheldon will stop at nothing to convince Amy they should procreate. Also, Koothrappali is embarrassed to tell the gang what the new woman he’s dating does for a living.

Life in Pieces - "Awkward Bra Automated Ordained" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dinner gets awkward for Jen and Matt when they find themselves alone without Greg and Colleen. Also, Lark accidentally locks out Greg and Jen from the house, prompting Greg to install a complicated home automation system; Heather and Tim try to sneak wine into an ice skating show to get out of paying at the venue; and John and Joan agree to an impromptu wedding after Colleen mentions that she’s an ordained minister.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 17)

Thursday, July 20

  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - Catch T.J on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa stops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Regina Hall (Grandfathered) - Regina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura talks about Netflix's The Big C on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Steve Guttenberg (Ballers) - Steve talks about HBO's Ballers on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Madison Iseman (Still the King) - Madison talks about CMT's Still the King on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.