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

Friday, February 15

Fresh Off the Boat - "Cupid's Crossbow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
On Valentine’s Day, the mood is anything but romantic as Jessica competes with Louis to see who can give Evan the best advice on how to celebrate with new girlfriend, Sicily. Meanwhile, Eddie asks Honey for help to find out who his secret admirer is after he’s passed a love note on a Cattleman’s delivery run.

Speechless - "J-I-- JIMMY V-A-L-VALENTINE" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
JJ’s love-match with Izzy becomes a cage match with Kenneth. Maya and Jimmy dismiss Valentine’s Day as a holiday for suckers until they find a way to profit from it. Unable to find a date to a prepaid romantic night out, Ray brings Dylan.

Last Man Standing - "The Best Man" / "Sibling Quibbling" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Chuck and Carol decide to renew their vows; Mike plans to take his officiating to the next level.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 11)

Friday, February 15

  • Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G./30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Watch Tracy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rosie O'Donnell (Gimme a Break!) - Rosie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He talks about Fox's The Masked Singer and Netflix's You Complete Me, Ho on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) - Brian appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Enemy Within on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Cavemen/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings. Jerry and his wife Rebecca Romijn talk about the 2019 American Rescue Dog Show on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Henry Winkler (Barry/Out of Practice/Happy Days) - Henry stops by The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about When Calls the Heart on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Dan Cortese (What I Like About You/Veronica's Closet) - Dan is part of the panel on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Daniel Radcliffe (Miracle Workers) - Daniel is a guest on Couch Surfing at 8am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest