Friday, February 09, 2018

Fri-Yay: High Concept Sitcoms; Bravo's Imposters Returns in April

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!

Life in Pieces

by Vincent

Sitcoms tend to go in phases, and one of the many phases of the sitcom is "high concept vs. low concept." This trend can be dated way back to the earliest decades of television - I'd argue the '50s were a "low concept" decade as most shows from that era were fairly simple in premise, shows such as I Love Lucy or Leave it to Beaver, which had straightforward and realistic premises (newlyweds in the city, families in the suburbs) and relied on character antics for their laughs and plot. However, following the '50s came the '60s, which had huge concepts - just look at shows like I Dream of Jeannie or Bewitched, shows about magical creatures which had complex rules and universes of their own. This became the norm in the '60s - shows about talking horses, flying nuns, witches, and genies were the norm, perhaps as a form of a escapism from the turbulent political climate. While we saw some high-concept shows after the '60s, for the most part, shows began to get gradually lower in their concept until Seinfeld became the quintessential low concept series - it was a sitcom that was proud to be a "show about nothing."

However, for the first time in many years, we're beginning to see a rise in high concept sitcoms again. The biggest example of this is likely The Good Place, which is one of the most high-concept hit sitcoms in quite some time, revolving around a woman and her friends in the afterlife. But you can see it around other shows and networks, too - think of a show like The Last Man on Earth, revolving around the apocalypse, or Search Party, a plot-heavy film noir comedy. Even something like CBS's Life in Pieces, which shows several different families lives and how they intersect, and is told in short "pieces", could qualify. Like the '60s, perhaps this could be a form of escapism for people in today's similarly tumultuous political climate? Either way, it's certainly a good time for creative, original and high-concept sitcoms.


Imposters

Bravo Media and Universal Cable Productions' original scripted series Imposters, starring Inbar Lavi, Rob Heaps, Parker Young, Marianne Rendón, Brian Benben and Stephen Bishop, returns for a second season on Thursday, April 5 at 10pm ET/PT. From executive producers Adam Brooks and Paul Adelstein, Imposters follows Maddie (Lavi), a persona-shifting con artist and the "Bumblers," a trio of her recent, heart-broken victims, Ezra (Heaps), Richard (Young) and Jules (Rendón). To catch up on Imposters season one, tune in to Bravo on Monday, February 19 from 8am-6pm ET for an all-day marathon. Additionally, season one is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, XBOX, Playstation, FandangoNow and Vudu, and is available starting today on Netflix.

Golden Globe winning actress Uma Thurman reprises her guest role as lethal fixer, Lenny Cohen. Additionally, executive producer Paul Adelstein will guest star with a story arc spanning multiple episodes, playing Shelly Cohen, a mysterious fixer who happens to be Lenny's former husband. In the season two premiere, Maddie decides to lay low at a lake house in Michigan as she tries to escape her former existence. However, she finds her past much harder to shake than anticipated, leaving her in a state of paranoia. The Bumblers head to Richard's hometown hoping to sell the rare, very expensive ring Ezra stole from Patrick. Their hope for a clean getaway backfires when the tables turn and they find themselves on the run... again.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, October 17

The Goldbergs - "Hersheypark" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Adam discovers Beverly has been manipulating him with guilt letters when he tells his mother he doesn’t want her to chaperone the school trip to Hersheypark. Meanwhile, after attending Career Night, Geoff realizes he doesn’t want to be an eye doctor like his father.

American Housewife - "Enemies: An Otto Story" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Anna-Kat runs for the Green Chair position in the school election against Chloe Brown Mueller’s daughter, which results in Katie and Chloe turning their kids’ election into a feud of their own. Meanwhile, Greg becomes concerned that Taylor’s new friend Pierce (Milo Manheim) is trying to steal her away from Trip, causing Greg to intervene and scheme to prevent it.

Modern Family - "Torn Between Two Lovers" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Haley can’t seem to choose between her past and present relationships and is forced to make a decision. Meanwhile, Manny returns to college and dorm life while his girlfriend, Sherry, continues to stay at Jay and Gloria’s, and might be overstaying her welcome.

Single Parents - "Beyoncé Circa Lemonade" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After scolding Miggy for not being able to sleep-train baby Jack, Angie and Douglas engage in a competition to see who can sleep-train the baby in one night. While Angie and Douglas have the baby, Miggy takes over babysitting Graham, Rory, Sophie, Emma and Amy, which results in an impromptu kids’ party. Meanwhile, Poppy teaches Will how to take out his anger on the volleyball court.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "The Gang Does a Clip Show" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
With nothing to do while their phones update to the latest software, the gang decides to reminisce on old times; as everyone misremembers events from their past, the gang's current reality becomes altered.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 15)

Wednesday, October 17

  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Watch Busy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Molly Shannon (Divorce/Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) - Molly is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) - Constance appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love/Operation Petticoat) - Jamie Lee visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson (The Conners/Roseanne) - Michael and Lecy chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Michael, Lecy and Maya Lynne Robinson will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • John Goodman (The Conners/Roseanne/The Trouble in Normal, Ohio) - John stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Romeo Miller (Romeo!) - Romeo appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Geoffrey Owens (The Cosby Show) - Geoffrey drops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Cedric and Tichina are guests on Access Live, so check your local listings.


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