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, November 16

Fresh Off the Boat - "Sub Standard" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica and Louis are thrilled beyond belief when they discover that a Chinese family – Elaine (Ming-Na Wen), Julius (Reggie Lee) and son, Horace (Jimmy O. Yang) – have moved into the neighborhood. Jessica immediately bonds with Elaine, who helps her solve an issue with the HOA, and Louis decides to introduce Julius to Marvin and hang out together. Meanwhile, when Evan goes door-to-door collecting information for the census bureau, Eddie and Emery come up with a plan to impersonate being census takers in order to find out when the owners of a pool are out of the house so they can sneak over and use it.

Speechless - "C-E-- CELEBRITY S-U-- SUITE" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When the DiMeos land in the hospital on Thanksgiving, Maya’s determination to save the holiday leads to an uneasy truce with her rival, Melanie Hertzal (Sarah Chalke); and Jimmy gets jealous when Kenneth bonds with his brother, Billy (Rob Corddry). Meanwhile, wounds from an old breakup are re-opened, but Ray finds brand-new love in an unlikely place.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy struggles with rejection as a fashion designer; Vanessa feels regret about her career path.

The Cool Kids - "Thanksgiving at Murray's" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Margaret gets an invite to an exclusive potluck for Thanksgiving, she takes Sid with her.

Andi Mack - "Cookie Monster" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi, Bowie and Bex are surprised by an impromptu visit by Bowie's mother; while hanging out with T.J.'s friends, Cyrus faces a dangerous situation; Buffy and Jonah learn a secret about their school principal.

Coop & Cami Ask the World - "Would You Wrather Get Lost?" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jenna warns Coop and Cami they have to start taking better care of their little brother, Ollie, or he won't be able to be their test pilot on the show anymore; the duo tries to step up, but winds up losing Ollie at the mall.

Raven's Home - "Winners and Losers" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Booker and Nia are excited to be named student ambassadors of their school, until they learn that their first job is to welcome Mitch as a new student.

The Paynes - "Social Media'd" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Nyla and Kendrick reconnect.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Friday, November 16

  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Watch Melissa on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne) - Johnny appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Reid Scott (Veep/My Boys/It's All Relative) - Reid is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Dylan McDermott (LA to Vegas) - Dylan stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Lisa Edelstein (The Kominsky Method/Leap of Faith/Almost Perfect) - Lisa visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Joe Morton (Grady) - Joe is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Dan Fogler (Man Up!) - Dan appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings. He will also be on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron opens up about surviving Hollywood as a child actor on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Erin Cahill (Free Ride) - Erin talks about the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Last Vermont Christmas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest