Friday, October 13, 2017

Fri-Yay: The Middle on The Top; Hulu Snags Futurama

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!

The Middle

by Vincent

This week I'll be talking about a show that just started its final season but remains worthy of your attention: The Middle. The Middle is the quiet bedrock of ABC's comedy line-up, an unassuming little show about how hard it can be to be a lower middle class family in contemporary American society. The Middle premiered during the same fall as Modern Family, so it's always unfortunately been a little "in the shadow" of that series. But over its nine seasons, The Middle has distinguished itself as an often hilarious, always painfully real, and consistently great family sitcom that has helped shape ABC's solid family comedy line-up.

The Middle centers around the Heck family, a working class family in the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. It's anchored by an excellent performance from parents Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton, but like many other ABC sitcoms, it also stars a surprisingly excellent cast of child actors - though at this point they aren't really "children" anymore. While many sitcoms begin running out of ideas as their younger cast members begin to grow older, The Middle has consistently found new ways to tell stories about its young adult cast members that still tie into the series' "down on their luck yet still optimistic" overall vibe. The Middle will be ending its run on ABC this year, and in a way, it's a shame, because it's the type of show I could see running for years and never growing old. It's not afraid to grow and change with its characters, and it's gotten to a point where I look forward to just hanging out with the Heck family. Plus, the series continues to experiment and toy with its formula - last year the show did an extended serialized arc centered around oldest son Axl's feud with his mom, and mostly nailed it.

It's too bad that The Middle hasn't always gotten the recognition it deserves, but luckily the show has one more full season for you to catch up if you've slept on the show, and will undoubtedly live on in syndication for years, so if you haven't checked it out yet, you have plenty of time. But you should do it soon!


On Monday, October 16, 2017, the entire Futurama library - including all four films - will make their long-awaited streaming return, only on Hulu. Matt Groening, the multiple Emmy(R) Award-winning creator and executive producer of The Simpsons, has hatched another outrageous look at the world, Futurama. But we're not in Springfield anymore - we're in New York, a thousand years from now, and it's like no future you ever imagined! FRY (voiced by Billy West), a young Everyman, finds himself accidentally transported 1,000 years in the future. Just like right now, life in the future is a complex mix of the wonderful and horrible, where things are still laughable no matter how wild and crazy they get. And against a backdrop of pesky aliens, exasperating robots and malfunctioning gadgets, people still struggle with the same daily anxieties of life and love... and, of course, traffic is still a nightmare!

Having literally escaped his unfulfilled past, Fry uses his newfound sense of freedom to help his friends in the future escape their regimented lives. His companions include LEELA (voiced by Katey Sagal), a beautiful female alien who can kick some serious butt, and BENDER (voiced by John DiMaggio), a hopelessly neurotic assembly line robot. Working together, Fry and his colleagues buck the system in pursuit of happiness. And with each passing day, the future becomes Fry's home. With his unique satirical humor and distinctive style, Matt Groening has created another unconventional but lovable family. Futurama explores all the joys and disappointments of human existence, as well as some problems we don't have to worry about yet, such as what to do when the cell phone implanted in your thumb dials the wrong number. And while the show has a lot to say about today, more than anything Futurama is a celebration of the future at its wildest.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, March 22

Superstore - "Target" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Jeff (Michael Bunin) leaves Cloud 9 to work at Target, Garrett (Colton Dunn) leads Glenn (Mark McKinney) to believe that he's poaching other employees to go with him. In return Glenn tries to poach employees from Target. Amy (America Ferrera) goes on a double date with Dina (Lauren Ash), and Kelly (Kelly Stables) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) discuss moving in together.

A.P. Bio - "Selling Out" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack (Glenn Howerton) receives an offer from Miles' (Tom Bennett) publisher to write a book of feel-good philosophy that could be his ticket out of Toledo. Durbin accidentally sets off an emotional firestorm when he reveals that while Stef (Lyric Lewis) chose Mary (Mary Sohn) as her emergency contact, Mary chose Michelle (Jean Villepique).

Atlanta - "Money Bag Shawty" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
People act differently outside the city.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Thursday, March 22

  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) and John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - Catch Roseanne and John on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Rob Riggle (Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Eddie Kaye Thomas ('Til Death/How to Make It in America) - Eddie drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Natasha Leggero (Dice/Another Period/Free Agents) - Natasha is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie stops by Desus & Mero at 11pm on Viceland.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan and The Real, so check your listings. He opens up about Station 19 on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Lamorne Morris (New Girl) - Lamorne is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher (Take My Wife) - Cameron and Rhea are guests on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
  • Keith Carradine (Complete Savages) - Keith is at the kitchen table on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John joins Clinton Kelly in the kitchen on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. He talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani talks about Netflix's Alexa & Katie on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella talks about Midnight Sun on the BUILD Series at 1:30pm.
  • Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Jim talks about Comedy Central's The Jim Jefferies Show on the BUILD Series at 2:30pm.