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

Monday, August 3

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Dealbreaker" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Gemma sets a reluctant Malcolm up on a blind date with a teacher at her school, she discovers new details about the origins of her relationship with Dave. Also, Marty helps Calvin and Tina plan for their future.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "A Big, White Thumb" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Abishola takes her relationship with Bob to the next level when she invites him into an intimate part of her life: church. Also, Kemi fights with Ogechi (Kimberly Scott) to be Chukwuemeka’s favorite.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 3)

Monday, August 3

  • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) - Watch Jane on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Beth Behrs (The Neighborhood/2 Broke Girls) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Beth and Tichina are guests on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short/I'm a Big Girl Now) - Martin appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.


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

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 Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

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 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

08/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 3, 2020)
08/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Damon Wayans Jr. Set to Star in Comedy for Peacock; Production to Restart for S.W.A.T.
07/31 - Fri-Yay: Emmy Nominations Thoughts; Leah Remini to Host Game Show Network Game Show
07/30 - Netflix Acquires Black Sitcoms from 1990s and 2000s; A 4 Sitcom Crossover Event Coming Soon to Netflix
07/29 - The 72nd Emmy Awards Nominations; Live with Kelly and Ryan Pays Tribute to Regis
07/28 - Freeform's Love in the Time of Corona Gets Premiere Date; ABC Remembers Regis with Primetime Special Tonight (July 28)
07/27 - Archer Gets Season 11 Premiere Date on FXX; The Fugitive Reboot on Quibi Trailer
07/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 27, 2020)
07/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Chase Considered for ABC Primetime Lineup; Plex Adds 80 Free Linear Channels
07/24 - Fri-Yay: Two More COVID-19 Remote Reunions: 30 Rock and Happy Endings; Netflix Renews Top 10 Series Sweet Magnolias for Season 2
07/23 - Fox Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Date for Animated Comedies; Syfy Acquires John Cena & Kat Dennings Animated Comedy
07/22 - HBO Orders Bridget Everett Comedy Series; Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Cast to Reunite on YouTube
07/21 - Happy Endings Cast Reunite, See Episode Here; Jake Johnson Shooting Hoops on Netflix
07/20 - Netflix Is About to Get Even with Comedy; ABC's United We Fall Gets Encore
07/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 20, 2020)
07/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Affiliates Refuse to Air 30 Rock: A One Time Special; Golden Girls House For Sale
07/17 - Fri-Yay: Peacock Launches, Thoughts So Far; Stay Calm with New Series with A-Listers
07/16 - Hallmark Channel Announces Renewals and Slate for 2021; Michael Che Coming to HBO Max for Improv Series
07/15 - ABC Names Tyra Banks as New Dancing with the Stars Host; CBS Fall 2020 Schedule Change for Wednesdays
07/14 - Emily in Paris Moves to Netflix; Ravi Patel's HBO Max Comedy Docuseries Premieres Aug. 27
07/13 - Get Woke on Hulu with New Comedy; Trailer for Tig n' Seek Released by HBO Max
07/12 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 13, 2020)
07/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fox Renews The Moodys for Second Season; NBC Preparing to Put Peacock Into Flight
07/10 - Fri-Yay: Never Have I Ever, Netflix's Best Sitcom; Ramy Gets Season 3 on Hulu
07/09 - NBC Reviving Weakest Link; truTV's I'm Sorry Gets Charitable
07/08 - HBO Max Orders Series Based on Hair Love; Comedy Central Inks Deal with John Mulaney
07/07 - Dead to Me Picked Up for Final Season on Netflix; CBS All Access Orders Star Trek Animated Comedy
07/06 - ABC to Rebroadcast Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times Episodes on Tuesday (July 7); Anthony Anderson and Billy Eichner to Guest Host ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! This Week
07/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 6, 2020)
07/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Amazon Gets Streaming Rights to Mad Men; Too Close for Comfort on Pluto TV
07/03 - Fri-Yay: Streaming Services Remove Episodes of Sitcoms Due to Racial Jokes; The Kominsky Method Final Season Announced
07/02 - Netflix Renews Never Have I Ever for Season 2; Comedy Central Reviving Beavis and Butt-Head