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

Tuesday, September 25

Wrecked - "The Dark Prince Returns" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
With Karen gravely injured, Owen and Danny must journey to the center of the island to defeat Chettywompwomp; Florence learns more about Karen's back story; Pack, Todd and Jess face a futile task.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 24)

Tuesday, September 25

  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Catch Sofia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • David Alan Grier (The Cool Kids/The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Ted is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC. She will also be on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Natascha McElhone (Californication) - Natascha is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Norm Macdonald (The Show Norm/A Minute with Stan Hooper) - Norm drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/The Jackie Thomas Show/Tom/The Tom Show) - Tom appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • The Cast of Modern Family - Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • The Cast of Rel - Lil Rel Howery, Sinbad, Jessica "Jess Hilarious" Moore and Jordan L. Jones are guests on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa dishes on her new Netflix movie Nappily Ever After on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Leighton Meester (Single Parents/Making History) - Leighton talks about Single Parents on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am, on GMA Day at 1pm and on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Ron Livingston (Loudermilk) - Ron talks about A Million Little Things on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

08/07 - Happy Endings - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
08/15 - A.P. Bio - Season One
08/28 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five
08/28 - Man Seeking Woman - The Complete Third Season
09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest