Friday, June 15, 2018

Fri-Yay: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Finally Finds Its Best Self; All About the Washingtons with Rev Run Coming to Netflix

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!

Ellie Kemper - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

by Vincent

Despite being one of the funniest shows on television, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has spent a lot of its four-season run defending itself. Although its joke writing and characters are top-notch comedy gems much like on Fey and Carlock's previous show 30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt has never quite reached the level of widespread acclaim that 30 Rock did due to the show's questionable handling of sensitive topics and especially its tendency to appear tone-deaf when dealing with hot button issues. The show's portrayal of Jacqueline (portrayed by the very white Jane Krakowski) as a Native American was the first aspect of the show to really make headlines, but it was followed in the second season by an episode that seemed to brush off the legitimate criticism of the plotline, followed by several episodes in the third season that had some fairly trite takes on political correctness and "call out culture." The things that Kimmy Schmidt is good at - creating a unique world of characters, amazing jokes, and messages of female empowerment - were often overshadowed by the uproar over the show's tendency to drop the ball when covering these touchy topics. Additionally, like many streaming sitcoms, Kimmy Schmidt sometimes has the tendency to go long (many episodes run 30 minutes or more) without the restraints of the traditional sitcom model, which can result in episodes that feel overstuffed.

However, in the first half of its fourth season (which dropped last week - the second half will premiere in January), Kimmy Schmidt has seemingly eliminated almost everything that didn't work in the first three seasons and applied a laser focus to the show's strengths. The jokes comes faster and harder than ever, and are funnier than ever (every episode left me with at least a few big belly laughs), and the show's social commentary sticks to the show's strengths, tearing down targets like "Mens Rights Activities" and the militarization of young men via the internet, which is firmly in the show's wheelhouse of female empowerment and tackling the concept of the patriarchy. Perhaps this is because we've only seen six episodes of the season, but these six episodes do an excellent job of capturing everything that works about Kimmy Schmidt and leaving out much of what doesn't. There is an increased focus on the stories of Kimmy and Titus, treating funny supporting characters as the funny supporting characters they are rather than attempting to juggle too much by giving everyone A plots. That keeps the episodes tight and focused rather than stuffed and overlong, and allows characters like Lillian and Jacqueline to function as amazing joke machines rather than saddling them with storylines that never quite click. After the uneven third season, I was somewhat relieved to hear that Kimmy Schmidt would be ending after its fourth season. Now, I'm sad we only have six episodes left, and I hope that the rumored series-ending movie winds up panning out, as I'm not ready to say goodbye to this show as it's functioning at the top of its game.


All About the Washingtons

Netflix announced that it's newest scripted multi-camera comedy series starring Rev Run and his wife Justine Simmons, All About the Washingtons will debut August 10, 2018 at 12:01 AM PT with 10 episodes. The series was originally developed for ABC in 2017 but ABC passed on the project. All About the Washingtons is an autobiographical scripted family sitcom that follows Joey Washington (Rev Run aka Joseph Simmons) and his wife Justine Washington (Justine Simmons), playing fictionalized versions of themselves raising a family of family kids. After Joey decides to retire from a long career as legendary hip-hop royalty, his wife Justine, takes advantage of the opportunity to pursue a career of her own now that Joey is available to focus on raising the kids and keeping the house in order. Their kids are portrayed by rising stars Kiana Ledé, Nathan Anderson, Leah Rose Randall and Maceo Smedley.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 18

Fresh Off the Boat - "Driver's Eddie 2: Orlando Drift" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Eddie finally gets his driver’s license; but instead of freedom, he finds an endless list of errands to run for his mom. Will he be done in time to take his friends to the Insane Clown Posse concert? Louis is excited for a boy’s weekend at Chili Con with Marvin, until Honey tags along; and Jessica faces off with her nemesis, Jamie, at the school fundraiser.

Speechless - "H-- HEY, YOU" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Maya is less than thrilled when Kenneth interferes with her business plans with Melanie. Ray begs JJ to cast him opposite his new crush, Izzy, in his next movie, which has unexpected consequences. Meanwhile, Dylan is impressed with Jimmy’s band.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy comes close to forgetting her fashion designer dreams when she is confronted with rejection and sends herself in a spiral; Vanessa feels regret as she reflects on her own career path; Mike helps the women in his family achieve their dreams.

The Cool Kids - "Thanksgiving at Murray's" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mike and Ryan are forced to get along together when Boyd proposes a compromise to their plans to take him on separate trips by all three going on a trip together; Mandy and Kyle attempt to solve a mystery like a pair of detectives.

Andi Mack - "I Got Your Number" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Andi gets in over her head when she attends a high school party with Amber, causing Bowie's plans for a romantic outing with Bex to go awry; Cyrus tries to mend a longtime rift between Jonah and T.J.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Friday, January 18

  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Watch Maura on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs) - Elizabeth visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She talks about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on People Now at 12pm.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don talks about Black Monday on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Adam Pally (Champaign ILL/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) and Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Adam and Sam talk about Champaign ILL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest