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

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)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest