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

Thursday, June 21

The Big Bang Theory - "The Tesla Recoil" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Leonard and Wolowitz are furious after they learn Sheldon went to work with the military behind their backs. Also, while Bernadette is on bed rest, she asks Raj to do some digging when she suspects Ruchi is trying to steal her job.

Young Sheldon - "Killer Asteroids, Oklahoma, and a Frizzy Hair Machine" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A disappointing loss at the science fair sends Sheldon’s life in a new direction. Jason Alexander guest stars as Sheldon’s drama teacher, Mr. Lundy.

Mom - "Esta Loca and a Little Klingon" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy and Bonnie help Jill get sober again, and Christy’s boyfriend, Patrick (Steven Weber), is less than understanding when it ruins his birthday weekend.

Life in Pieces - "Meal Potty Cart Middle" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tim and Heather go to an expensive dinner to celebrate their anniversary, they are determined to finish every bite of their pricey 20-course meal. Also, Jen and Greg try to quickly potty-train Lark before her first day of preschool; Tyler gets jealous of the attention Clementine is getting at work; and Matt and Samantha team up for a “Middle Child Day” and go to a trapeze school. Emmy Award-winning food expert Padma Lakshmi guest stars as Stephanie, Heather and Tim’s server at an upscale restaurant.

Marlon - "Sisters" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Marlon’s (Marlon Wayans) sisters come to town, he convinces Ashley (Essence Atkins) to pretend they are still married to keep them from being disappointed. As the weekend goes on, the charade gets harder to keep up and Marlon finally confronts them in an epic confession. After receiving a psychic reading from Lenora (guest star Sherri Shepherd), Stevie (Diallo Riddle) tries to woo Yvette (Bresha Webb) as he thinks they are destined to be together.

Marlon - "Divorce Counseling" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Marlon (Marlon Wayans) and Ashley (Essence Atkins) go to see Kamala Shabazz (Kim Wayans), a strong-willed relationship therapist, to help stabilize their rocky divorce. When Marlon exposes Kamala as a fraud, he experiences a breakthrough and realizes he should change his ways. Stevie (Diallo Riddle) gives Yvette (Bresha Webb) an intense massage.

American Woman - "The Party" (Paramount Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Desperate to connect with her role model, Lori, Kathleen drags Bonnie and Diana to a party in the hills; when Diana tries to cut loose, things get out of hand; Bonnie finds herself in an exciting new position.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 18)

Thursday, June 21

  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Catch Drew on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife) - Cameron visits The Opposition with Jordan Klepper at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Community) - Alison stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) - Cynthia chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Craig T. Nelson (Coach) - Craig drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Billy Bob Thornton (Hearts Afire) - Billy Bob appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace/Ned & Stacey) - Debra talks about the launch of The Maxx You Project on People Now at 12pm.
  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced/Living with Fran) - Fran talks about Hotel Transylvania 3 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris talks about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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
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