Friday, August 10, 2018

Fri-Yay: Orange Is the New Black Season 6: A Tightrope Between Comedy and Drama; King of the Hill Labor Day Marathon on Comedy Central

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!

Orange Is the New Black

by Vincent

Classifying Orange Is the New Black as a "sitcom" may be stretching it a bit. It's an hour long, and often feels more dramatic than comedic. But in the dog days of summer, it's a little difficult to spot any genuine sitcoms worth discussing. Plus, Orange's balance between comedy and drama is increasingly indicative of the way TV comedy is headed, blending the difference between comedy and drama - after all, shows structured like more traditional sitcoms like One Day at a Time or animated comedies like Bojack Horseman often feel even more dramatic than Orange at times. Genre is becoming increasingly blended, and part of that reality has added to Orange's struggle to keep up its initial quality and interest in its most recent seasons.

Orange was initially presented as a somewhat light-hearted look at life in a women's prison that nevertheless took its characters and the situation they were in seriously. The world that it introduced us to was fairly grim, but the characters were lively, fun, and lovable. We liked hanging out at Litchfield, even if we acknowledged that our characters didn't. Still, because we cared about the characters so deeply, the show was able to cover serious topics well - we wanted these characters to do well, and we got frustrated when the prison system treated them with injustice. It was a delicate, difficult balance that the show managed to navigate incredibly well in its first three seasons.

However, the show took a turn somewhere in season four, a season that was markedly darker than anything the show had attempted before. The season was incredibly grim, shedding a light on issues like the prison industrial complex and showcasing the level of abuse that prisoners may go through. Without spoiling a major plot point, the season ended on an absolutely heartbreaking note - one that wound up being a bit controversial. Whether or not you felt that the season's climax was earned or not, it was clearly a turning point for the series. Since that moment, the show's previous balance has felt off. This is no longer a world we want to spend any time in, and it's gotten to the point where each episode almost feels like we're simply watching characters we love be tortured, as their circumstances somehow get worse and worse. And yet, because the show is presented as a "dramadey", there are still moments of comedy inserted in, which makes the tone feel jumbled. Things are very serious, and yet...the show is still making ill-timed jokes. It's an example of how the blending of tone that shows like to do can be an incredibly difficult balance to make. Frankly, I'm really hoping that the already-ordered seventh season of Orange will be its last. The show's sixth season (released a few weeks ago) had some great moments and was a marked improvement over the incredibly messy fifth season, but it still feels as if the show has lost its sense of what it wants to be, trapped in big, dramatic storylines with seemingly no easy out. Orange was a landmark series for television, but it may be time to for it to gracefully bow out, preserving its legacy before its tone gets even more muddy.


King of the Hill

A King of the Hill Labor Day Marathon has been added to Comedy Central's line-up on Monday, September 3, 2018 from 7am-4am. The episodes in the marathon will go in order beginning with the Pilot episode. All 12 first season episodes will air, followed by the entire second season (23 episodes) and the first ten episodes of season three. King of the Hill regularly airs in the late nights on Comedy Central, with times varying, sometimes from 12-1:30am. The series started on the network on July 23, as we mentioned. Comedy Central also airs other off-network series such as Scrubs, The Office, That '70s Show, and Futurama. In King of the Hill, which originally aired on Fox from 1997 to 2010, depicts the life and times of Hank Hill, his family and their neighbors in the fictional suburb of Arlen, Texas, the heartland of America. A hard-working, loyal family man and proud Texan, Hank is assistant manager of Strickland Propane. He's an average Joe who sees himself as the voice of common sense and reason in a world of incompetent sales clerks, meddling bureaucrats and do-good liberals. Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, King of the Hill is executive produced by Judge, Daniels, Howard Klein, Michael Rotenberg, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, May 15

Side Hustle - "Bot Club" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lex, Presley and Munchy discover that Fisher is a big-time player in the underground robot fight club scene in Altoonisburg; having not lost a robot fight yet, the kids decide to bet their KidDING money on a Fisher win.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 10)

Friday, May 14

  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Big Mouth) - Watch Fred on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) and Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Billy and Tiffany are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Richard Kind (Mad About You/Spin City) - Richard appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Denise Richards (Blue Mountain State) - Denise discusses the movie The Treasure of Pirates Cove and the show The Bold and The Beautiful on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (In the House/The Fresh of Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Denis Leary (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/The Job) - Denis and Rachael share the work they did together on International Firefighters' Day on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jean Smart (Samantha Who?/Center of the Universe/The In-Laws/Designing Women) - Jean talks about HBO Max's Hacks on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January-May)

Corporate - Season 2 Fam - The Complete Series Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series Til Death - The Complete Series

01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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