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, 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