Friday, March 20, 2020

Fri-Yay: Best Sitcom Episodes for Coronavirus Isolation; Antenna TV Weekend Binge Marathons for Tough Times

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!

Community - Epidemiology

by Vincent

Well, obviously it's a tough time for all of us right now. Wherever you are, it's likely that you're being affected somehow by COVID-19. For the many who are in isolation or quarantine to "flatten the curve" of Coronavirus, you're probably finding yourself with a whole lot of time to watch sitcoms! I've put together a list of some of my favorite sitcom episodes that have some thematic similarities with COVID-19 that could hit right in these circumstances. I tried not to just focus on bottle or quarantine episodes but instead episodes that tie with the anxieties stemming from this uncertain time.

1. Community - Epidemiology
This episode is maybe the most obvious choice on the list. It's a Halloween episode centered around a mysterious disease that surfaces at Greendale's Halloween party that slowly spreads and spreads despite everyone's effort to quarantine everyone, partly because of questionable decisions made by Dean Pelton, the school's leader. Sound familiar? Granted, it's a lot more fun than it sounds, as it's a loving parody of zombie movies scored by the ABBA soundtrack (and Dean Pelton's voice memos). If you want to laugh about a disease outbreak in a silly way, this is the episode for you.

2. 30 Rock - Larry King
"Larry King" is 30 Rock's take on the 2008 financial collapse, another historical event that is very different than our current predicament but nevertheless does share some similarities. The entire episode has an end-of-the-world vibe as the characters watch the collapse of the Japanese markets that seemingly spell doom for their own financial security, and a lot of the behaviors and quotes reflect on the odd feeling many of us are feeling now, particularly Salma Hayek's "The whole world has gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!" or when Jack's mentor Don Geiss recommends that you "go home to your loved ones and hold them close" instead of taking action. In the end, the panic turns out to be largely false, started by a fearmongering Tracy Jordan. If only we could be so lucky.

3. Parks and Recreation - The Master Plan
The more obvious Parks and Rec choice would be Flu Season, but personally I felt Leslie's pain in "The Master Plan" more these past few days. "The Master Plan" is the first appearance of Ben and Chris as budget slashers who arrive to slash Pawnee's budget, and the episode (as well as the following one, Freddy Spaghetti) follow Leslie's desperate attempts to save her job from government shutdown before accepting the inevitable, that her job would be shut down until further notice. It all works out okay for Leslie, obviously, so these episodes at the tail end of Parks and Rec's second season serve as a good reminder that it's okay to be stressed about an uncertain future, as well as giving us hope that it'll all work itself out.

4. The Simpsons - Hurricane Neddy
While this episode revolves around a hurricane rather than a pandemic, the hysteria that Springfield residents experience before the hurricane hits is awfully familiar with the pre-Corona hysteria that we all experienced about a week ago. Rationing at the Kwik-E-Mart, storming the shelves, and mistaking Lisa and Ralph Wiggum as pieces of fruit are all examples of some of the crazy measures that Springfield residents go through that suddenly don’t seem so crazy.

5. Scrubs - My Quarantine
Well, this one is obvious. This Season 4 episode of Scrubs deals with the SARS epidemic, when JD initiates a quarantine at the hospital after suspecting a patient has the infectious disease. It's a humorous look at quarantine that might provide some levity to your own social distancing.


Antenna TV's Binge TV for Free

Antenna TV has a new way to bring a smile to your face and help you get through these tough times. Watch feel-good, binge-worthy TV from the comfort of your own home, all for FREE on Antenna TV. Antenna TV will run themed marathons of classic sitcoms including Family Ties, Three's Company, The Facts of Life, Wings, and Welcome Back, Kotter on Saturday and Sundays from 12 noon to midnight ET starting March 28. The news is a little easier to take with marathons of Murphy Brown on Saturday, March 28 and NewsRadio on Sunday, March 29.

The full schedule of Antenna TV's "Binge TV for Free" is as follows:

Saturday 3/28: Murphy Brown, ATV Goes All News with Murphy Brown
Sunday 3/29: NewsRadio, All News Continues with NewsRadio
Saturday 4/4: Alice, Mel's Diner Remains Open
Sunday 4/5: Archie Bunker’s Place, Archie's Bar Remains Open
Saturday 4/11: Head of the Class, School's Still in Session
Sunday 4/12: Welcome Back, Kotter, School's Still in Session
Saturday 4/18: It's A Living, Above the Top Remains Open
Sunday 4/19: Wings, 30th Anniversary Marathon
Saturday 4/25: The Partridge Family, Spend the Day with Family
Sunday 4/26: Three's Company, Spend the Day with Friends
Saturday 5/2: Becker, The Doctor is Here for You
Sunday 5/3: Coach, ATV Still has Sports with Coach
Saturday 5/9: Family Ties, Spend the Day with Family
Sunday 5/10: The Facts of Life, Mother's Day with Mrs. Garrett


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, January 25

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Property" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Calvin discovers a member of the community plans to sell to greedy developers, he vows to find a buyer closer to home instead. However, the Butlers and Johnsons soon realize that the dilapidated property will require more work than they expected.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Honest Yak Prices" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With Abishola’s husband adamant that he’ll never agree to a divorce, Bob and Abishola grow disheartened that they will never be able to get married.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 25)

Monday, January 25

  • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Watch Dax on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Kate Flannery (The Office) - Kate is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole will be on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Yara Shahidi (grown-ish/black-ish) and Trevor Jackson (grown-ish) - Yara and Trevor talk about grown-ish on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota discusses growing up in the spotlight, how she's spent her quarantine and reveals the famous person's name she uses to get reservations on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation - Rob talks about his hit show 9-1-1: Lone Star, and even shares some behind-the-scenes scoop on what it’s like working with his son who is a writer on the show on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Stanley Tucci (Central Park) - Stanley talks about Supernova on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell/mixed-ish/Truth Be Told) and Tika Sumper (mixed-ish/The Game) - Mark-Paul and Tika talk about mixed-ish on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. Mark-Paul will also be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Daveed Diggs (Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed talks about TNT's Snowpiercer on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) - Lily talks about Radium Girls on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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01/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 4, 2021)
01/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: COVID-19 Shuts Down Production of Several Series; Busy Week of New Premieres
01/01 - Happy New Year!; Murphy Brown Star Heads to The Conners
12/31 - In Memoriam: Remembering Dawn Wells and the Other Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2020
12/30 - New Year's Eve 2020 and New Year's Day 2021 TV Marathons
12/29 - getTV January 2021 Schedule Adds 4 New Series; The Netflix Afterparty Premieres Jan. 2
12/28 - HBO Max Adds More Library Titles in January; The Great North Gets Special Preview This Sunday on Fox
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