Friday, July 13, 2018

Fri-Yay: What Was the Best Decade for Sitcoms?; The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

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!

Parks and Recreation

by Vincent

Since it's the doldrums of summer and there's not many sitcoms on the air (although if you haven't caught up with the latest seasons of excellent shows from this past year like The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and GLOW I'd suggest rectifying that now), I thought I'd spend the next few weeks taking a look at where sitcoms have been and where they're going. First, I'll be taking a nostalgic look back, wondering: when were sitcoms at their best?

There are a couple of possible time periods I have in mind when thinking of this question. Immediately, the 1970s come to mind - with shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show leading the way, the '70s were a non-stop barrage of groundbreaking and classic sitcoms, from those two shows to The Jeffersons to Good Times to Taxi to Barney Miller to One Day at a Time, and even to slightly lower-bar but still enjoyable material like Happy Days and Three's Company. The '70s were a time when the sitcom was truly discovering itself, and feeling out the limits of what it could be. All in the Family proved that sitcoms could handle serious and real-life issues after they spent most of the '50s and '60s being comfort food, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was an incredible step forward for women-centered sitcoms, shows like The Jeffersons and Good Times broke down so many barriers for Black Americans in sitcoms, and even a show like Three's Company dealt with taboo topics such as sex and sexuality that would've been taboo to discuss ten years prior. I wasn't alive in the '70s, but I can only imagine what an exciting time it was for sitcoms.

I also think about the '90s, a time when sitcoms broke down their structure and analyzed their place in viewers' lives. Shows like The Simpsons and Seinfeld constantly questioned the sitcom structure and how artificial it all is, all while telling jokes that were some of the funniest in TV history. The '90s were a time of deconstruction and analysis, from the aforementioned shows to even shows like Married...with Children and Roseanne that presented working-class families and their everyday realities, rather than the picture-perfect family structures that had existed on TV previously.

However, my own personal favorite time for sitcoms may come more recent, as surprising as it might sound. Most of my favorite sitcoms in TV history come from the later '00s into the early years of this decade, shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Community, and New Girl. These were shows that, to me, went deeper and into more surprising territory than most sitcoms had previously, and they did so by understanding and respecting the shows that came before them. In many ways, 30 Rock was like if someone combined Mary Tyler Moore and The Simpsons, with MTM's social commentary and themes of empowerment with The Simpsons' dry wit and cutting satirical bite. Community was, in many ways, a more high-concept version of Cheers - it may have gotten attention for its creative conceptual episodes, but it was really a show about a bunch of sad, broken people who hang out together at a specified location. New Girl offered much of the same dynamics of Friends with a modern and sharp twist. I loved seeing the creative heights these shows reached, and as a young writer falling in love with comedy, it was exciting to see shows that loved comedy as much as I did. That may be for largely personal reasons, but I think we can all agree - any of these time periods are excellent sources for top-notch sitcoms, and we're still feeling the effects of all of these landmark shows in today's sitcom landscape.


The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Nominations were announced. Here are the nominees for the main categories:

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Atlanta (FX)
Barry (HBO)
black-ish (ABC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
GLOW (Netflix)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

OUTSTANDING LEAD COMEDY ACTOR
Donald Glover, Atlanta (FX)
Bill Hader, Barry (HBO)
Anthony Anderson, black-ish (ABC)
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime)
Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC)

OUTSTANDING LEAD COMEDY ACTRESS
Pamela Adlon, Better Things (FX)
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish (ABC)
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Issa Rae, Insecure (HBO)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta (FX)
Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)
Louie Anderson, Baskets (HBO)
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
Zazie Beetz, Atlanta (FX)
Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne (ABC)
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace (NBC)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
The Americans (FX)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
This Is Us (NBC)
Westworld (HBO)

OUTSTANDING LEAD DRAMA ACTOR
Jason Bateman, Ozark (Netflix)
Matthew Rhys, The Americans (FX)
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us (NBC)
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
Ed Harris, Westworld (HBO)
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld (HBO)

OUTSTANDING LEAD DRAMA ACTRESS
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Keri Russell, The Americans (FX)
Claire Foy, The Crown (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld (HBO)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime)
David Harbour, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Matt Smith, The Crown (Netflix)
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HB)
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown (Netflix)
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
Genius: Picasso (National Geographic)
Godless (Netflix)
Patrick Melrose (Showtime)
The Alienist (TNT)
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

OUTSTANDING LEAD LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTOR
Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso (National Geographic)
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose (Showtime)
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror (Netflix)

OUTSTANDING LEAD LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTRESS
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
Michelle Dockery, Godless (Netflix)
Edie Falco, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC)
Regina King, Seven Seconds (Netflix)
Jessica Biel, The Sinner (USA Network)
Laura Dern, The Tale (HBO)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE ACTOR
Jeff Daniels, Godless (HBO)
Brandon Victor, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Édgar Ramírez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Fitt Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
John Leguizamo, Waco (Paramount Network)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS
Adina Porter, American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
Letitia Wright, Black Mirror (Netflix)
Merritt Wever, Godless (Netflix)
Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
Penélope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards airs LIVE Monday, September 17 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on NBC.


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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