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

Saturday, May 25

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

All About "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After the star-studded live sitcom special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” “Nightline” will take a special look at the cultural and historical significance of the two iconic series. Participants in the live sitcom special along with modern-day comedians, television stars and journalists reminisce about each show’s groundbreaking impact and legacy.“Nightline” Presents “All About ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” airs WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (9:31–10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

The prime-time special features interviews with “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator Norman Lear; host and executive producer Jimmy Kimmel and stars Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Jackée Harry, Ellie Kemper and Kerry Washington; comedians and actors Raven-Symoné, David Alan Grier, Lil’ Rel and John Amos; original “The Jeffersons” cast member Marla Gibbs; and journalists Deborah Roberts, Chris Connelly, Marc Lamont Hill and Joe Levy.

Game Shakers - "Bug Tussle" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Dub goes to Vegas and leaves Trip behind, the Game Shakers take Trip to Dub's awesome apartment to show him a good time.

Game Shakers - "Why Tonya" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Game Shakers are approached by a fan who demands that they make changes to one of their games.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

Friday, May 24

  • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Watch Dana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • The Cast of The Big Bang Theory - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kathryn Newton (Gary Unmarried) - Kathryn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Adam Scott - Adam appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - John and his daughter Ella Bleu are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Logan Browning (Dear White People/Meet the Browns) - Logan stops by The Real, so check your local listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 5:30pm
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about Broadway's Network on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jackée Harry (Tyler Perry's The Paynes/The First Family/Sister, Sister/227) - Jackée talks about Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm and on People Now at 12pm.
  • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Justin talks about Life is Short with Justin Long on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Beanie Feldstein (What We Do in the Shadows) and Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Beanie and Kaitlyn talk about Booksmart on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell) - Tiffani is in the kitchen on Pickler & Ben, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

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)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons
05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Tops Ratings for the Season; FXX Announces Archer After Hours
05/24 - Fri-Yay: Live in Front of a Studio Audience Recap; Mario Lopez Produced Sitcom Coming to Netflix
05/23 - Orange Is the New Black Returns for Final Season in July; Lifetime Gets More Book to Screen Movies This Summer
05/22 - Los Espookys Premieres June 14 on HBO; NBC's 5th Annual Red Nose Day Special Brings Out the Stars
05/21 - Nightline Primetime Special Profiles All in the Family & The Jeffersons; Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Premieres June 10 on Nick
05/20 - Comedy Central Heads to the South Side This July; Catch the Big Bang Finale Again Tonight
05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2019)
05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Network Fall Lineup at a Glance; Rick & Morty Returns in November
05/17 - Fri-Yay: Big Bang Ends With No Hype?; ABC to Air Farrah Fawcett Documentary
05/16 - The CW Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Notes from TBS and TNT Upfront
05/15 - CBS Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Remembering Doris Day and Tim Conway
05/14 - ABC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Disney Channel Sets Premiere Dates for Raven's Home and Bunk'd
05/13 - Fox Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Antenna TV's Father Knows Best Father's Day Marathon
05/12 - NBC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 13, 2019)
05/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Sitcom Cancellations Ahead of Upfronts; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Returning for Interactive Special
05/10 - Fri-Yay: Upfronts 2019: Questions for Sitcoms; getTV Celebrates All in the Family Ahead of ABC Live Special
05/09 - More Pre-Upfront Pick Ups from NBC, ABC and The CW; Fox Schedules BH90210
05/08 - NBC Picks Up 2 Series Before Upfront; FX Gets 2nd Season of What We Do in the Shadows
05/07 - AXS TV's The Very VERY Best of the 70s; Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NBC with More Celebs
05/06 - Kevin Hart Bounce Series Debuts Tonight; Set Sail with Kimmy Schmidt
05/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 6, 2019)
05/04 - Pluto TV Adds Special Versions of Popular Viacom Channels; Perfect Strangers to Finish on DVD
05/03 - Fri-Yay: Ramy Gets 2nd Season on Hulu; ABC Orders black-ish and Spinoff mixed-ish for 2019-20
05/02 - Hulu 2019 Upfront; Suits and Spinoff to Air Back-to-Back
05/01 - Fox Gets Unique Fred Savage Series; BH90210 Gets Shannen Doherty for Revival
04/30 - CBS Announces Big Bang Special on Finale Night; Showtime Gets 2nd Season of Black Monday with Don Cheadle
04/29 - Disney Channel's Just Roll With It Premieres in June; Alyssa Milano Launches Podcast
04/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 29, 2019)
04/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Santa Clarita Diet and Wrecked Both Cancelled; Remembering Dallas Actor Ken Kercheval
04/26 - Fri-Yay: Status of Sitcoms on Disney+; Gabriel Iglesias Sitcom Launches June 21 on Netflix
04/25 - Lifetime's Book to Screen Titles in June; The CW Renews Four More for 2019-20