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

Thursday, July 19

The Big Bang Theory - "The Solo Oscillation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon kicks Amy out to work solo, she and Leonard bond during a series of science experiments. Also, Bert the geologist replaces Wolowitz in the band Footprints on the Moon, and Sheldon finds Penny a surprising source of scientific inspiration. Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother, Mary.

Young Sheldon - "Demons, Sunday School, and Prime Numbers" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A worried Mary sends Sheldon to Sunday school after she finds him playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends Tam and Billy. Billy Gardell guest stars as Billy Sparks’ father, Herschel.

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - "The Suitcase" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Josh Segal and Associates get their first case, defending Lavinia Peck-Foster, the eccentric First Lady of East Peck, who was found with her husband Edgar's corpse in a suitcase in her trunk. Lavinia is surly, entitled, larger than life and, instead of hugs, her currency of connection is a face slap. On the other hand, she is wealthy so she can pay him. Winning this case could be Josh's ticket for his true goal, to be considered a "Pecker." Unfortunately, complications and bodies keep piling up and there are more questions than answers.

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - "The Timeline" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Judge Kamiltow rules that Lavinia must stand trial for the murder of her husband, Josh and the team try to poke holes in the timeline of the case Carol Anne will present. But when a clock is determined to be the murder weapon, they are forced to seek help from two unlikely sources - the convicted murderer of Lavinia's brother and the host of a popular murder podcast called M-Town.

American Woman - "The Heat Wave" (Paramount Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie invites her co-worker Louise to join her and her friends at her pool; Diana asks for a promotion at work, as she struggles to get along with her overbearing mother.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 16)

Thursday, July 19

  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Catch Jim on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo, Access Live (check your local listings) and on People Now on PeopleTV at 12pm.
  • Amanda Peet (Brockmire/Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Daveed Diggs (black-ish) - Daveed visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) and Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House) - Olivia, Keegan-Michael and the cast of The Predator are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. He will also be on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • David Alan Grier (The Cool Kids/The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Constance Zimmer (Entourage/Good Morning, Miami) - Constance drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Esther Povitsky (Alone Together) - Esther appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy talks about Claws on People Now on PeopleTV at 12pm.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Sherri/Less Than Perfect - Sherri talks about Trial & Error: Lady, Killer on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura cooks with Clinton Kelly on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Kristin) - Kristin talks about Trial & Error: Lady, Killer on the BUILD Series at 2pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July)

New Girl - The Complete Seventh Season Alice - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season The Good Place - The Complete Second Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
07/03 - New Girl - The Final (Seventh) Season
07/10 - Alice - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - The Bill Engvall Show - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season
07/10 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season
07/17 - Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Good Place - The Complete Second Season
07/17 - Son of Zorn - The Complete Series
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