Friday, March 27, 2020

Fri-Yay: Review of One Day at a Time Season 4 Premiere; NBC Sets Will & Grace Finale Night and Special I Love Lucy Episode

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!

One Day at a Time - Checking Boxes

by Vincent

In the midst of a global pandemic, we can at least still turn to sitcoms for comfort. The fourth season of One Day at a Time premiered this week on Pop TV (and simulcast on TV Land and Logo), which was notable not just because it's a great show but because it was the first episode following the sitcom's transition from streaming service to weekly television series. The fourth season premiere, "Checking Boxes," was the first time the show had to adjust to regular TV rules such as time limits and commercial breaks. It was also the opportunity for the show to draw in a new audience, which is probably why "Checking Boxes" felt very much like the show resetting itself mildly for any new viewers who may not have caught the show on Netflix. The episode's opening scene has special guest Ray Romano taking census information for the Alvarezes, which serves as a quick way to get all of the information needed about the family for anyone who is just now checking the series out. The scene is also a little sillier and broader than the show typically is, incorporating two meta jokes (one being the opening line that takes a shot at Netflix - Alex bemoans "there's nothing good on Netflix anymore" - and another is a play on Everybody Loves Raymond). Both are funny jokes, especially the Netflix crack, but it's a little odd for One Day at a Time, a very classic-style sitcom that has never really tipped its toes in meta, self-referential humor before. Still, it's likely a way to draw some attention for the show, which I'm totally fine with.

The rest of "Checking Boxes" is very much in line with typical One Day at a Time, as Penelope has the census worker causing a spiral and fret about ending up alone. It will take some time to get used to the placement of commercial breaks, as well as the much, much shorter theme song. But for the most part, everything else from One Day at a Time transfers perfectly from streaming to over-the-air TV. The characters are still the same, the writing is sharp with a dose of heart, and the acting is top-notch, with chemistry flowing endlessly through the cast. "Checking Boxes" isn't necessarily top-tier One Day at a Time, but it's a warm, friendly introduction for anyone just jumping on board now, and it's a great welcome back for a show that at one time seemed to be good as gone. It made me incredibly excited that this show is back, and interested to see where it goes from here.


Will & Grace

Will & Grace, one of NBC's most beloved comedy series of all time, is set to air its series finale on Thursday, April 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Leading into the series finale episode, NBC will air a Will & Grace retrospective special, hosted by Eric McCormack at 8:30 p.m. (following the season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine at a special time of 8:00 p.m.) In the special, McCormack will show clips of past and present episodes that highlight the series' most iconic and memorable moments. The retrospective will also feature emotionally-charged reactions from Will & Grace superfans and celebrities who will share stories about what the show has meant to them. The special will cover the litany of guest stars who have appeared as well as the groundbreaking and TV history-making moments the show has created over the years, including the first male-to-male kiss on network television. Elton John and Norman Lear will also make special appearances.

In the season finale episode, "It's Time," with the apartment packed up, Will (Eric McCormack) is determined to not reminisce about his life in the city or his ex, McCoy (guest star Matt Bomer). Grace (Debra Messing), on the verge of giving birth, keeps having false alarms of going into labor. At the behest of Stan, Karen (Megan Mullally) goes to the top of the Statue of Liberty to get closure with her ex-husband. Jack's (Sean Hayes) dream of taking a bow on a Broadway stage becomes a very real possibility. Minnie Driver and Brian Jordan Alvarez guest star. The special I Love Lucy-inspired episode, titled "We Love Lucy," will air Thursday, April 9 at 9 p.m. The episode features stylized recreations of the classic "Vitameatavegamin," "Chocolate Factory" and "Grape-Stomping" scenes featured in I Love Lucy, with Grace, Karen and Jack each imagine themselves as, with Will as the Ricky to all of them. Lucie Arnaz and Leslie Jordan guest star.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, April 20

black-ish - "My Dinner with Andre Junior" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Junior and Olivia invite an excited Bow and Dre over for dinner in their new apartment, but upon arrival, they immediately become concerned with the young couple’s living conditions. Meanwhile, Diane bonds with Pops as she asks for his advice on dating.

mixed-ish - "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Rainbow’s best friend, Tamika, asks her to plan her 14th birthday party, so Bow goes out of her way to make sure it’s the coolest birthday party ever. Meanwhile, Paul and Alicia battle it out for who is the “coolest,” and Harrison takes Santi and Johan on a trip to Mexico for some quality time.

Young Rock - "A Lady Named Star Search" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Hawaii, 1982: While Ata prepares for her "Star Search" audition, Rocky takes an unorthodox approach to helping Dewey deal with some bullies; Lia's conflict with rival wrestling promoter Greg Yao has her on edge.

Kenan - "Teacher's Strike" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When the teachers go on strike, everyone has to pitch in to keep the kids occupied; Rick sets up a unique schoolroom in the morning show conference room.

Chad - "Ikrimah Breakup" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
When his mom breaks up with her boyfriend and Chad's left without a father figure, Chad does everything in his power to win him back.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 19)

Tuesday, April 20

  • Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen Show/Ellen/Open House) - Catch Ellen on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Jane appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Bradley Whitford (Perfect Harmony/Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Brockmire/Free Agents/Imagine That/Herman's Head) - Hank will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kevin James (The Crew/Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!/The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World) - Thomas is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ed Helms (Rutherford Falls/The Office) - Ed will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny - Jenny appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.


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

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

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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