Friday, June 01, 2018

Fri-Yay: How the Rise and Fall of Roseanne Shows the Downside of Revivals; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Wraps Up January 25, 2019

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!

Roseanne

by Vincent

A month ago, Roseanne was on top of the world. Her show was in the midst of a tenth season revival that was setting ratings records and would easily finish the season as the highest-rated show of the year. The popularity and buzz around the new season sparked an interest in Roseanne reruns, and they became available and heavily promoted on various cable networks. Despite being a polarizing media presence, Roseanne Barr herself was once again becoming the most talked about woman on television, over 20 years after the end of the original run of her incredibly popular and acclaimed sitcom. Fast forward to a month later, and things look very different. Roseanne's sitcom has been cancelled, setting a new kind of TV record: the only time in television history that the #1 show on television has been cancelled (TV historians might point out that Seinfeld was #1 during its final season, but that show ended on its own terms with a planned finale and was not 'cancelled' the way that Roseanne was). Roseanne's show was not cancelled due to ratings (while viewership steadily declined over the 9-episode season, the show still ended with ratings that put it ahead of nearly every other show on television) but rather because of a racist tweet that Barr tweeted from her Twitter feed. The tweet was bad enough that several of the show's producers quit the show, and ABC ultimately felt it had no choice but to pull the plug on the series due to the unfathomably bad press that Roseanne was receiving.

Considering how huge Roseanne was and how it's pretty much impossible for ABC to fill the gap in its schedule with anything that will be nearly as big, it stands to reason that Roseanne's tweet must have seriously offended ABC executives, and made them worry that the bad press would ultimately sink the network, even if Roseanne continued to draw in big ratings (certainly questionable given the level of bad press the tweet received as well as the slow but steady audience decline over the course of the show's first season). So now, after a huge revival season that reinvigorated interest in the show, Roseanne is now in a worse place than where it left off before it was revived. Reruns have been pulled from all cable networks and streaming services, and a sitcom that was once praised as a thought-provoking, all-time great sitcom has been blacklisted in just the course of a few months.

It will be interesting, then, to see how the networks respond (other than possibly encouraging controversial stars such as Roseanne Barr to stay off of Twitter.) Remake fervor has hit the TV industry hard, and it came to a crescendo with the giant success of the Roseanne remake. But the quick demise of that remake shows the flip-side of what happens when you resurrect old series, and proves that sometimes, things are better left in the past. I think we all would've preferred to look back on Roseanne as a show that was great during the '90s and felt ahead of its time, rather than seeing it marred by the political division and unfortunate end of the revived 10th season. As fun as it can be to catch up with old characters, I'm really hoping this fiasco contributes to TV realizing that the answer to all of its problems isn't by constantly reaching into the past, but rather developing new, fresh series that can carry us into the future.


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Netflix will launch the remaining six episodes of the fourth season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on January 25, 2019. The first six episodes of the fourth season launched Wednesday, May 30. Show creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock are executive producers alongside Sam Means, Jeff Richmond and David Miner. Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane star. To date, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has earned 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including a best series nom for each of its first three seasons.

In Season 4, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), Titus (Tituss Burgess), Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) and Lillian (Carol Kane) are finding new direction in life and career. Kimmy jumps head first into her new job at Giztoob. She's ready to take on anything, except high heels, which she's pretty sure were designed by a man, or a very confused lady. By creating a fake TV show, Titus takes his acting career into his own hands. Which, as always, are covered in maple syrup. As a talent agent working her way up, Jacqueline must deal with clients who are divas, troublemakers, and have no valid social security number. All of these clients are Titus. Lillian continues to "disrupt" and "burst the paradigm," or as it was called in the '70's "general dirtbaggery."


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, February 21

The Big Bang Theory - "The D&D Vortex" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the gang finds out Wil Wheaton hosts a celebrity Dungeons and Dragons game involving William Shatner, Joe Manganiello, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Smith, deception and betrayal are the path to make it to the one open seat.

Young Sheldon - "A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Things spiral out of control when Sheldon boycotts his favorite bread company. Also, Georgie offers Veronica a shoulder to cry on when she’s dumped by her boyfriend.

Mom - "Skippy and the Knowledge Hole" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy finds it challenging to quit smoking, while Bonnie helps Tammy prepare to take the GED test.

Fam - "Drunk in Love" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
During their engagement party, Clem and Nick are both shocked to learn that the other has been keeping an embarrassing secret about how they met.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Honeypot" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jake and Holt clash over the merits of a new hire in the 99th precinct. Terry, Amy, Rosa and Charles try to do something about the cluttered bullpen.

Will & Grace - "The Pursuit of Happiness" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Grace (Debra Messing) is enlisted by Malcolm (guest star Alec Baldwin) to help him win back Karen's (Megan Mullally) affections. Will's (Eric McCormack) flirtation with his co-worker, Paul (guest star Barrett Foa), takes a turn when details about Paul's home life put Will in an ethical dilemma. And Jack's (Sean Hayes) run-in with Zusanna (guest star Andrea Martin), the sister of his former acting teacher, reignites Jack's passion for performing.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Thursday, February 21

  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Catch Ken on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • James Spader (The Office) - James stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kal Penn (Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Chris O'Dowd (Family Tree) - Chris is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mark Duplass (Togetherness/The Mindy Project/The League) - Mark appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Reba drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill appears on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place) - D'Arcy will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


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