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

Tuesday, January 25

Abbott Elementary - "Student Transfer" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After a negative teacher review, Janine gets a confidence boost when a student gets transferred from Melissa’s class into hers, but it turns out the student proves to be too much to handle. While trying to forge a friendship with an uninterested Gregory, it is revealed that Jacob is constantly getting roasted by his students. The two bond after Gregory unintentionally gives Jacob the idea to incorporate the roasts in an educational way.

black-ish - "Hoop Dreams" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jack gets a job as the locker room attendant for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dre and Bow feel like they need to step in before letting the job get to his head. Meanwhile, Pops and Ruby realize their daily routine has gotten boring and heed advice from Junior and Olivia.

American Auto - "Commercial" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Katherine and the team reshoot a commercial to make it more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.

Grand Crew - "Wine & Pie" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Noah's dad is in a funk, so he asks Fay to make his favorite pie; Sherm teaches Anthony to play chess; Wyatt introduces the crew to his brother.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 24)

Tuesday, January 25

  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Catch Kristen on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Afterparty/Bless the Harts/The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Nicole Byer (Grand Crew/Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (B Positive/Silicon Valley) - Thomas will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jim Belushi (According to Jim) - Jim is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Mike Schur (The Office/Creator of Parks and Recreation/Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Good Place/Rutherford Falls) - Mike appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. NBC's Today catches up with Mike in the 9am hour.
  • Francia Raisa (How I Met Your Father/growni-ish) - Francia appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages/Grounded for Life) - Autumn appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Marsai Martin (black-ish)- Marsai talks about her new Discovery+ series Remix My Space! on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin James (The Crew/Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin talks about Home Team on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ming-Na Wen (The Single Guy) - Ming-Na talks about The Book of Boba Fett on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
01/04 - Work in Progress - Season 2
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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01/21 - One Tree Hill Reunion on New CBS Series; Bel-Air Announces Recurring Cast, Including Karrueche Tran & Duane Martin
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01/19 - South Park Season 25 Premieres Feb. 2; Netflix Orders Animated Comedy Procedural
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01/03 - Fri-Yay: Networks Have a Few Promising Comedies for 2022; Betty White Tribute Marathons on CMT, MeTV, TV Land, Decades, Hallmark, etc.
01/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 3, 2022)>
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12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering TV Legend Betty White and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2021
12/30 - New Year's Eve 2021 and New Year's Day 2022 TV Marathons
12/29 - Celebrate the End of 2021 with Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart; UPtv's Binge Week Continues with Reba, Gilmore Girls
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12/27 - Atlanta Returns for Third Season on March 24 on FX After 3 Year Break; Bridgerton Returns for Second Season on March 25 on Netflix
12/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 27, 2021)
12/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Grey's Anatomy Potentially Headed Toward Another Season; Lorne Michaels Looking to Retire