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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Wednesday, February 28

The Conners - "Shrinks Don't Talk and Kids Don't Sing" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mark adjusts to his first day of college as a commuter student; meanwhile, Becky gets into a disagreement with Beverly Rose’s music teacher over a song.

Not Dead Yet - "Not Polite Yet" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Lexi combines the first two floors of the newsroom, leaving Nell to share a cubicle with T.J., a popular sportswriter who’s friends with everyone … except her.

Abbott Elementary - "Breakup" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Barbara’s church choir uses the gym for rehearsals, Ava notices tensions in the group. Jacob’s eagerness for a full social calendar worries Gregory. Melissa and Janine investigate a new substitute.

That Girl Lay Lay - "Lay Lay Goes Away-Way" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Needing a best friend to talk to, Sadie wishes that phone avatar Lay Lay was real and could help teach her how to stand out; when Lay Lay is magically brought to life, the two friends learn that when they are together, they can accomplish anything.

That Girl Lay Lay - "Out the App 2: E-Lay-Lay-tric Boogaloo" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Needing a best friend to talk to, Sadie wishes that phone avatar Lay Lay was real and could help teach her how to stand out; when Lay Lay is magically brought to life, the two friends learn that when they are together, they can accomplish anything.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 26)

Wednesday, February 28

  • Bob Odenkirk (The Larry Sanders Show) - Watch Bob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Carrie Preston (Crowded/Happyish/Emeril) - Carrie is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She talks about Elsbeth on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Austin Butler (Ruby & the Rockits/Zoey 101/Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Austin appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jenny Slate (The Great North/Big Mouth/Married/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fortune Feimster (Kenan/Bless the Harts/Champions) and Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Fortune and Tig are guests on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) and Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Broad City/Baby Boom) - Cheryl and Susie are guests on Watch What Happens: Live at 10pm on Bravo
  • Zendaya (K.C. Undercover/Shake It Up) - E! News has an interview with Zendaya at 11pm on E!.
  • Alan Cumming (Schmigadoon!) - Alan is joining Drew and Ross Mathews at the Drew'ss News desk to discuss headlines like the Romy and Michele's High School Reunion sequel in the works and the American alternative to the Irish exit on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Upshaws/Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Kim discusses her wellness retreat and the upcoming new season of Netflix's The Upshaws on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Arsenio/Out All Night) and Michael Beach (The Game) - The cast of Soul Food reunite and discuss Hulu's new Black Stories Always on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Diane Farr (Splitting Together/Like Family/The Job) - Diane discusses the CBS drama series Fire Country on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


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

Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Father Knows Best - The Complete Series The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One

That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

02/27 - Little House on the Prairie Big 5-0 Stunt on COZI TV; Netflix Orders Tires Starring Shane Gillis
02/26 - Hulu Orders Chad Powers Starring Glen Powell; Netflix's Mindy Kaling Produced Comedy Rounds Out Cast
02/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 26, 2024)
02/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Frasier Reboot Gets Second Season; Jimmy Kimmel Hints at End of Talk Show
02/23 - Paramount+ Renews Frasier for Season 2; Netflix Orders Series from Maid Showrunner
02/22 - 30th SAG Awards Presenters Announced; Jay Pharoah Heads to Fox
02/21 - SNL Loads Up for Next 3 Weeks; Tig Notaro Prime Video Special
02/20 - Brittany Snow to Star Opposite Malin Akerman in Starz Series; Dennis Quaid Joining Paramount+
02/19 - Rewind TV's 227 on 2/27 Marathon; Dolly Parton's Pet Gala with Special Guests
02/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 19, 2024)
02/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Bewitched Reboot in the Works; Paramount+ and Peacock in Merger Talks
02/16 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: The CW; Girls5eva Season 3 Premieres March 14
02/15 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: Peacock, Syfy and NBC
02/14 - Survival of the Thickest Gets 2nd Season; Roma Downey and Ted McGinley Set to Star on Prime Video
02/13 - Netflix Announces Adam Sandler Special; Tyler Perry Gets Another Series
02/12 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: ABC, Disney, Hulu, FX
02/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 12, 2024)
02/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: FX Sticking with Binge Drop for The Bear; Peak TV Declared to Be "Over"
02/09 - More Stars for Netflix's No Good Deed; ID Premiering Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV; Remembering Carl Weathers
02/08 - Apple TV+ Comedy Series Palm Royale Has Star Power; Katt Williams Gets New Netflix Comedy Special
02/07 - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to Rebrand as Hallmark Mystery; Fox Renews Animal Control for Season 3 Ahead of Season 2 Launch
02/06 - COZI TV's The Many Loves of Frasier Crane Marathon; Netflix Announces Cast for Ted Danson Comedy
02/05 - Lopez vs Lopez Airing in April on NBC; Apple TV+ New Peanuts Special on February 16
02/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 5, 2024)
02/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Really Ending After 12 Seasons; Season Two Premiere Date Set for Lopez vs Lopez
02/02 - Extraordinary Season 2 This March on Hulu; Great American Family Sets Hosts for Gala
02/01 - Colin from Accounts Returning to Paramount+; Weakest Link Days of Our Lives Special
01/31 - Hulu Black History Month Includes Timeless Classics; BUZZR Celebrates Black History Month, Too
01/30 - Good Times 50th Anniversary Marathons on get.; Password Returns for Season 2 on NBC
01/29 - Antenna TV's I Wish for an I Dream of Jeannie Valentine's Day Marathon; Malin Akerman Headlining Starz Drama
01/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 29, 2024)
01/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jon Stewart Set to Return to The Daily Show Once a Week; Ted McGinley to Star in Prime Video Series