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

Monday, March 18

The Big Bang Theory - "The Planetarium Collision" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy doesn’t have time to work on super-asymmetry, Sheldon goes to great lengths to ensure she’s available to work with him even it if means accidentally sabotaging her career in the process. Also, Koothrappali doesn’t want Wolowitz to join him in hosting a show at the planetarium. Emmy Award winner Bob Newhart returns as Arthur Jeffries.

Man with a Plan - "Hotel Hanky Panky" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Adam and Andi are eager to book a night away in a hotel after Teddy keeps sleeping in their bed. Also, Kate is allowed to stay home alone but doesn’t follow Adam and Andi’s strict rules.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Imitation Perturbation" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Wolowitz dresses up as Sheldon for Halloween, Sheldon seeks retaliation at Leonard and Penny’s Halloween party. Also, Leonard is shocked that Penny doesn’t remember their first kiss.

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Grover's Birthday" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Dave and Gemma’s elaborate plans for Grover’s 7th birthday party go awry, Malcolm and Marty come to the rescue. Also, Calvin’s choice of gift winds up sending one person to the hospital.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 18)

Monday, March 18

  • Adam Scott (Ghosted/Parks and Recreation/Party Down) - Watch Adam on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (High Maintenance) - Ben and Katja are guests on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/The Suite Life on Deck) - Cole stops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Chris Meloni (Surviving Jack/Misery Loves Company/The Fanelli Boys) - Chris appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Robin Givens (Head of the Class) - Robin drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn/The Last Man on Earth/The Cleveland Show) - Jason visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor/Search Party) - Brandon is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth 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
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
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