Friday, September 15, 2017

Fri-Yay: BoJack Horseman - The Best Show on TV?; Not Kidding, Jim Carrey Joins Showtime Comedy

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!

BoJack Horseman

by Vincent

Is BoJack Horseman currently the best show on TV? Netflix released the fourth season of BoJack Horseman on Friday. BoJack was my favorite show of 2016 - its third season was a tour-de-force of original, offbeat comedy mixed with genuine exploration of dark human emotions such as depression, failure, and regret. Oh, and by the way, it's an animated Hollywood satire that takes place in a society where animals are sentient beings that look and act just like humans.

If you think all of that sounds unlikely to add up to a great television show, I understand. Frankly, much of BoJack's run has been an obvious attempt to balance these two extremely different television shows in one - the strange, Adult Swim-esque Hollywood satire starring animals mixed with an almost Mad Men or Sopranos-esque exploration of deep human darkness. And early on, the show didn't always strike the right balance - the first half of the first season oscillates sometimes uncomfortably between the two extremes, often relying too heavily on gross-out, Family Guy­­-esque gags to toe the line. But around the halfway point of the first season, the show began digging into its dark side more comfortably, exploring the regret and shame behind the life of its washed-up sitcom star BoJack and the "island of misfit toys" type figures that surround him in his personal life. In the excellent second half of the first season, the show transformed into one of the deepest, most meaningful series on TV, and that only continued throughout the astonishing second and third seasons. The fourth season continues to astound me at just how deep it's willing to go - without spoiling anything, I'll just say that this season dives into BoJack's past to explore themes such as loss, regret and the idea of how we inherit the trauma and pain of our parents and grandparents without even realizing it. It's heavy stuff that I rarely see any show on TV digging into, never mind an animated comedy starring a talking horse.

Even as it's gotten darker and darker, though, BoJack still remains a top-notch comedy, as well. Anyone who considers themselves a sitcom fan would dig the way the show pays tribute to sitcoms and television of years past and is in many ways informed by them. BoJack did get his start starring in a TGIF-esque '90s sitcom, after all, and the series often takes cues from those kinds of shows, only to spin them around on their head. (There's even a Christmas special made in between the show's first and second seasons that actually shows us a full episode of Horsin' Around, the family sitcom that BoJack got his start in.) That's what makes BoJack the best show currently airing on television - it has the very best that drama has to offer mixed with the very best that comedy has to offer, without any kind of sacrifice on either end of the spectrum. "Hilarious comedy about depression starring talking animals" may sound too ridiculous to be true, but it's not. It's just BoJack Horseman.


Jim Carrey

Showtime announced the pick-up of new half-hour comedy series Kidding, starring Golden Globe(R) winner Jim Carrey (The Truman Show) in his first series regular role in more than two decades and reuniting him with Oscar winner Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), who will direct the project with a 10-episode first-season order for Kidding, Carrey - one of the most beguiling, popular screen stars of his time - will executive produce with Gondry, Emmy(R) nominee Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jim Garavente (Bad Words), Raffi Adlan (The Green Hornet) and Michael Aguilar (I'm Dying Up Here). Kidding was created by Dave Holstein (Weeds, Raising Hope), who wrote the pilot and will serve as showrunner.

In the comedy series, Carrey plays Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, an icon of children's television, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America's impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him - who also anchors a multimillion dollar branding empire. But when this beloved personality's family - wife, two sons, sister and father - begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale or fable or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: a kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, June 19

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

The Middle - "Thank You for Not Kissing" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Dr. Fulton (Dave Foley) calls Frankie and Mike into his office to inform them that Brick and Cindy have been making out all over school, Frankie tasks Mike into having a talk with his son to discuss dating etiquette. Meanwhile, Sue attempts to work up the gumption to give Sean the snow globe and confess how much she likes him; and after discovering a box full of unfinished thank you notes for gifts received over the years, Frankie orders Axl to finish and mail them all out.

black-ish - "Juneteenth" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Johnsons go to Jack and Diane’s school play about Columbus Day, and Dre is dismayed by the historically inaccurate way that the holiday is portrayed. He feels like there aren’t enough black holidays, so he enlists Aloe Blacc at work to help him create a catchy song to raise awareness for a holiday worth celebrating, Juneteenth.

black-ish - "Dog Eat Dog World" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The family is divided over the idea of getting a dog after Dre and Bow promise Jack they can get one after he gets Straight A’s – and he does! Meanwhile, Bow’s brother Johan is in town and he doesn’t get the warm welcome he expects from Ruby.

Younger - "The End of the Tour" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Liza faces complications on the Marriage Vacation book tour. Kelsey and Zane head to D.C. to court a speechwriter’s prospective memoir.

Teachers - "Of Lice and Men" (TV Land, 10:34PM ET/PT)
Ms. Bennigan wrestles with how far she’s willing to go sexually with Hot Dad, while Ms. Cannon learns how to drive in the midst of an apocalyptic lice outbreak at Fillmore.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 18)

Tuesday, June 19

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Ian Black (The Jim Gaffigan Show/Ed) - Michael stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G./30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Michael visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - The Ellen DeGeneres Show has the best moments from the biggest stars in Season 15, so check your local listings.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey) - Debra is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon drops by Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) - Brian is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • BD Wong (All-American Girl) - BD talks about the off-Broadway production of The Great Leap on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June)

Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season Step by Step - The Complete First Season Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest