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

Thursday, June 4

Young Sheldon - "Quirky Eggheads and Texas Snow Globes" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) experiences a nervous breakdown, Mary worries Sheldon is headed down a similar path. Also, Georgie discovers he has a knack for sales.

Man with a Plan - "Driving Miss Katie" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Adam has trouble helping Katie prepare for her driving test. Also, Don turns to Lowell for help romancing Marcy.

Mom - "Somebody’s Grandmother and the A-List" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy helps Marjorie prepare for her first date since her husband’s passing. Also, Bonnie’s friendship with Jill is put to the test when a past indiscretion resurfaces. Peter Onorati guest stars as Wayne, Marjorie’s date.

Broke - "Sammy's Project" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Sammy’s big idea for his school project to make a timeline of U.S. history with a map fails, his family stays up all night to help him finish the assignment on time. As Jackie and Barry work on the map, they argue over their different parenting styles. Also, as Javier and Elizabeth help with the timeline, they argue about how to plan financially for their future. Kyle Bornheimer returns as Barry, Jackie’s ex-husband and Sammy’s father.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 1)

Thursday, June 4

  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Watch Wanda on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Christine Baranski (Happy Family/Welcome to New York/Cybill) - Christine appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Anna Kendrick (Love Life) - Anna will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Louie Anderson (Baskets/The Louie Show) - Louie will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Fortune Feimster (Bless the Harts/Champions) - Fortune appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Facts of Life/Living Single) - Kim is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - NBC's Today catches up with Brooke in the 10am hour.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry talks about Carter on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped) - Lauren talks about Netflix's The Wrong Missy on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April/May/June)

Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season

02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

06/04 - Antenna TV's Coach Father's Day Marathon; The CW Acquires Patrick Dempsey Thriller for Fall 2020
06/03 - HBO Max Comedy Starts Strong; Alexa & Katie Returns in June for Final Episodes
06/02 - Ted Lasso Coming Soon to Apple TV+; Quibi Picks Up 2nd Season of Dishmantled
06/01 - Disney+ Orders Second Season of Diary of a Future President; Young Sheldon Streaming on HBO Max
05/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 1, 2020)
05/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires Young Sheldon; Simpsons Now Available in Original Aspect Ratio on Disney+
05/29 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Continues to Delight and Improve; Remembering Richard Herd of Seinfeld
05/28 - Apple TV+ to Reboot Fraggle Rock as Series; Virtual Table Read for Bless the Harts on June 1
05/27 - 2021 Programming Set for FX; Hollywood Game Night Returns for 5 Episodes
05/26 - FX Orders 3rd Season of Comedy; Adult Swim Brings Back Haddish and Wong Series
05/25 - Memorial Day 2020 TV Marathons
05/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 25, 2020)
05/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Fall Lineup Looking to Include Fewer Sitcoms; Head of the Class Arrives on DVD
05/22 - Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming
05/21 - Freeform Announces 2020-21 Slate; Fox Brings Back Last Man Standing, Prodigal Son and The Resident for 2021
05/20 - Summer of Me Returns June 1 on MeTV; FXX Orders More Dave
05/19 - CBS Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Remembering Ken Osmond of Leave it to Beaver
05/18 - Pop TV Slates Date for One Day at a Time Animated Episode; Remembering Fred Willard of Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond and Fernwood 2 Night
05/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 18, 2020)
05/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals and Cancellations of 2019-2020 (So Far); Soaps Running Out of Episodes
05/15 - The CW Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Fri-Yay: Quarantine Reunions - An Emerging Trend
05/14 - Dads Documentary to Premiere on Apple TV+ on June 19; Amazon Picks Up 2nd Season of Upload
05/13 - COZI TV Slates The Office "Best of Jim" Stunt; AFV Slates at Home Special, Extends Season Thru June 14
05/12 - Remembering Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld and The King of Queens; HBO Max Announces Santa Inc.
05/11 - Fox Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; CBS Orders Three New Series for 2020-21
05/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 11, 2020)
05/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: At Home Version of America's Funniest Home Videos; Younger Spinoff in the Works
05/08 - Fri-Yay: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on TV Sitcoms?; Freeform Orders Coronavirus Comedy
05/07 - CBS Announces 23 Series Renewed for 2020-21, Fall Schedule to Be Announced May 19; Robbie Premieres on Comedy Central
05/06 - TBS and truTV Present I'm Sorry Mother's Day Marathon; HBO Max Orders Comedy with Jean Smart
05/05 - Celebrity IOU Gets 2nd Season; Remembering Sam Lloyd of Scrubs
05/04 - HBO Renews Insecure for 5th Season; Binge Comedy Series on TBS Site, App and VOD