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

Friday, May 27

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Friday, May 27

  • Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Watch Josh on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jenna Fischer (The Office/Splitting Up Together) and Angela Kinsey (The Office/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Jenna and Angela talk about their new book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - David appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Courteney Cox (Shining Vale/Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Mayim Bialik (Call Me Kat/The Big Bang Theory/Blossom/Molloy) - Mayim appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric is a guest on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer talks about her new memoir, Out of the Corner: A Memoir, on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Glen Powell (Scream Queens) - Glen talks about Top Gun: Maverick on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

ALT= Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)

02/08 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Ninth Season
02/22 - Everybody Hates Chris - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
02/22 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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05/03 - That '70s Show Cast to Reunite on That '90s Show; Teri Hatcher and James Denton Reunite Again
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04/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Close to Season Five Renewal; James Corden Leaving The Late Late Show
04/29 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's Struggles Create Question for the Future of Television; Hulu Acquires Schitt's Creek
04/28 - Starz Comedy Run the World Returns with More Stars; HBO Max Orders Spin-off of Harley Quinn Animated Comedy Series
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