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

Tuesday, October 23

The Conners - "Tangled Up in Blue'" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Darlene is in for one surprise after another when David introduces his girlfriend, Blue (Juliette Lewis), at a parent-teacher conference and mentions that Mark and Harris will be spending the weekend with them. Dan hires Becky to help out at work, but they both come to learn that she might need more help than she can offer.

The Kids Are Alright - "Timmy's Poem" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To Peggy’s dismay, Timmy decides to enter a poetry contest to win the money he needs to repair his ventriloquist dummy. Stumped, he decides to plagiarize a poem and soon realizes he’s not the only one who passed it off as his own. Meanwhile, Mike and Lawrence continue to butt heads when Lawrence complains that there are no fresh vegetables in the family’s diet.

black-ish - "Don't You Be My Neighbor" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The neighbors decide to rent their house out for homestays and it’s causing problems for the Johnsons. Dre develops a newfound joy of calling the cops over petty neighborhood issues but begins to question the example he is setting for Jack. Meanwhile, Diane develops her first crush and Bow wants to help but lets Zoey take the lead.

Splitting Up Together - "Asking for a Friend" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Afraid that the answer could ruin his chances with Lena, Martin finds every way he can to avoid asking Lisa Apple if she is pregnant, while the potential pregnancy makes Lena more and more distant. At the same time, Lena worries Mason is changing himself to please his new girlfriend and finds parallels to her own relationship with Martin. Elsewhere, Maya tells Frank a pretend story about her “friend” who is dating someone new and pregnant to gauge what his honest reaction will be.

The Guest Book - "Finding Reality" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Vivian and Eddie leave Mt. Trace to make a fresh start in a small beachside town, where they meet Nikki and Tommy, the engaged couple running Emmy Lou's Grill and vacation home Barefeet Retreat, and Bodhi, the local handyman.

The Guest Book - "Under Cover" (TBS, 10:27PM ET/PT)
Rob and Shelley rent Barefeet Retreat to lure in their next mark, a woman named Angel who is abusing every substance that can be abused; Vivian develops a crush on Bodhi; Nikki goes into labor.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 22)

Tuesday, October 23

  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement/My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star) - Catch Oliver on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • David Cross (Arrested Development/Running Wilde) - David stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Tyler Alvarez (Every Witch Way) - Tyler appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Scott Bakula (Murphy Brown/Eisenhower and Lutz/Gung Ho) - Scott will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Juliette Lewis (Camping/A Family for Joe/I Married Dora) - Juliette is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She also talks about Camping on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Brenda Song (Dads/The Suite Life on Deck/The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd) - Brenda guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons/Checking In/227) - Marla appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Mike Epps (Uncle Buck/Survivor's Remorse) - Mike is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric will be on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric talks about Speechless on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Nik Dodani (Murphy Brown/Atypical) - Nik talks about Murphy Brown on the BUILD Series at 4pm.
  • Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor/Search Party) - Brandon talks about God Friended Me on the BUILD Series at 5pm.
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Here and Now/Malcolm and Eddie/Listen Up!/Reed Between the Lines) - Malcolm-Jamal talks about The Resident on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright/Welcome to the Family) - Mary talks about The Kids Are Alright on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest