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

Sunday, April 22

Bob's Burgers - "Cheer Up Sleepy Gene" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gene gets invited to his first sleepover, and things don't go as planned; Bob and Linda record themselves while sleeping to prove who snores more.

Bob's Burgers - "Go Tina on the Mountain" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
The Belcher kids go to Outdoor Education only to have it rain; Tina meets a hermit living in the woods; Bob and Linda experience what it's like to be empty nesters.

The Simpsons - "Lisa Gets the Blues" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the Simpsons' flight is rerouted to New Orleans, Lisa rediscovers her passion for jazz; Bart is intrigued by voodoo; Homer is intrigued by drinking.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Gray Star Mutual" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When a fire destroys Charles' food truck, Pimento unexpectedly shows up to the scene as the insurance agent; Rosa helps Amy to see that it's okay to get excited about picking her wedding dress; Gina and Terry coach Holt in the art of social media.

Family Guy - "'Family Guy' Through the Years" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
A reimagining of the show as a series that's been on the air for 60 years; a look back at the cultural events and issues tackled on the show through the decades.

The Last Man on Earth - "The Blob" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A thermal heat detector reveals a potential sign of life, but Tandy doesn't want the group to split up to investigate; Todd and Erica have trouble seeing eye to eye.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 16)

Sunday, April 22

  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Catch Wendi on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season

02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
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