Friday, April 24, 2020

Fri-Yay: Thoughts on #blackAF from Kenya Barris; NBC Schedules Parks and Recreation Reunion Special

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!

by Vincent

#blackAF

Last week, Netflix debuted #blackAF, a semi-autobiographical comedy series from black-ish creator Kenya Barris. The series is in the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, a "fiction, but based in reality" story of Kenya. In the sitcom, he is still the producer of black-ish, but his wife and children are fictionalized. The humor is also somewhat comparable to Curb, with a lot of "cringe" comedy and awkward moments, but much like black-ish, with an added focus on being a black creator and how it can be difficult to navigate that world. Netflix has been promoting the series rather heavily. It makes sense, given that most of their comedy shows have ended recently and they are in dire need of a comedy breakout hit. However, I'm not sure #blackAF has what it takes to be that for them.

The show isn't particularly funny - like a lot of Netflix "autobiographical" series, it aims more to tell a story and be somewhat humorous rather than provide jokes. I'm okay with that format (although frankly a little tired of it as it seems like every network and streaming service in the late '10s tried that type of series out for a spin), the problem is that #blackAF's story is too similar to many other similar shows' stories, essentially amounting to "isn't it hard to be a wealthy creator?" #blackAF, unfortunately, doesn't add enough new to the conversation, and unlike Barris' TV sitcoms (particularly the mothership, black-ish), it doesn't do much with its diverse point of view, instead relying on beats that Curb Your Enthusiasm or shows like Master of None have already hit. Also, frankly, it recycles a lot of the beats that Barris' own show black-ish already did a better job of hitting. Barris' character feels an awful lot like Dre from black-ish at times. It does have its moments, and it's not a terrible watch, but ultimately, it feels too much like a repeat of other shows' formulas to be something to get excited over.


Parks and Recreation

Five years after audiences said goodbye to one of the most beloved comedies in TV history, the fine citizens of Pawnee, Ind., are reuniting for NBC and Universal Television's all-original A Parks and Recreation Special set to air Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. All of the original characters from the series will return in the 30-minute special, played by original cast members Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O'Heir, and Retta. (In addition, several guest stars from the Pawnee universe may pop in.) The story comes from the events of the day – Pawnee's most dedicated civil servant, Leslie Knope, is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing. The telecast was created to raise funds for Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund, which will enable food banks to secure the resources they need to serve the most vulnerable members of the community during this difficult time. In the spirit of Leslie Knope and do-gooders everywhere, please go to www.feedingamerica.org/parksnadrec .

State Farm and Subaru of America will each make matching donations of $150,000 and, combined with NBCUniversal and the writers/producers/cast of Parks and Recreation, a total of $500,000 in matching donations will be made through May 21. With its April 30 air date, the special marks not only a reunion of a comedy that was adored by millions but the first scripted show to air on broadcast that addresses our current situation. An original Parks and Recreation Clip Show (working title) will air before the special at 8:00pm ET/PT. As a result of these two specials, NBC will now air a repeat of the series premiere of Council of Dads at 9:00pm (instead of 8pm) followed by a new episode now at 10:00pm ET/PT. The season premiere of Blindspot will now air the following week on Thursday, May 7 at 9pm, with the series finale now pushed to Thursday, July 23 at 9:00pm ET/PT.


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


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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04/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 19, 2021)
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04/16 - Fri-Yay: Home Economics Is a Solid Addition to ABC’s Comedy Block; Mr Inbetween Season 3 Premiere Date Set
04/15 - Aidy Bryant Comedy Shrill's Final Season; ABC's Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days
04/14 - Superstore Star Lauren Ash Signs Development Deal with NBCUniversal; Jenna Dewan Joins New CBS Dance Series
04/13 - NBC Schedules Peyton Manning Game Show; Apple TV+ Comedy Mythic Quest Returns in May
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04/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 12, 2021)
04/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Nash Bridges Reprisal in the Works?; Season Finale Dates Set for Last Man Standing and MacGyver
04/09 - Fri-Yay: Fox Cancels Bless the Harts, Leaving Questions About Animated Block; Variety and Lifetime Presents Power of Women Comedians
04/08 - ABC Summer 2021 Schedule; Fox Summer 2021 Schedule
04/07 - MeTV Spring 2021 with The Addams Family and The Pink Panther; Fox Orders More Duncanville, While ABC Goes Into the Wild with Comedy
04/06 - HBO Max Announces Minx, Set in the 1970s; Remembering Gloria Henry of Dennis the Menace
04/05 - Head of the Class Reboot Cast and Info; Tia Mowry Expands with New Cookbook
04/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 5, 2021)
04/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Head of the Class Reboot Ordered at HBO Max; Friends Reunion Special Finally Happening
04/02 - Fri-Yay: Remembering Jessica Walter's Excellent Career; Fox's Let's Be Real Special Turns Into Series
04/01 - CSI Revived by CBS for Sequel Series in 2021-22 Season; NBC Orders Ordinary Joe for Next Season
03/31 - CBS Renews Young Sheldon for 3 More Seasons; DWTS Returns for Season 30 This Fall
03/30 - Amazon Starts Production on Being the Ricardos, An I Love Lucy Movie; NBC Schedules Lil Rel Game Show
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03/26 - Fri-Yay: Superstore Series Finale; Remembering Jessica Walter of Arrested Development and Richard Gilliland of Designing Women
03/25 - New Weekly Celebrity Sleepover Talk Show After SNL; Raven-Symoné Heads to HGTV Series
03/24 - Remembering George Segal, Pops from The Goldbergs; HBO Max Comedy Series Made for Love Drops April 1
03/23 - Mr. Mayor Returning for Season 2; CBS 2020-21 Season Finale Dates
03/22 - NBC Puts Meghan Trainor Comedy in Development; Apple TV+ Straight to Series Comedy with Maya Rudolph
03/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 22, 2021)
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