Friday, July 24, 2020

Fri-Yay: Two More COVID-19 Remote Reunions: 30 Rock and Happy Endings; Netflix Renews Top 10 Series Sweet Magnolias for Season 2

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

This week, two more sitcoms joined the growing trend of remote reunion episodes, 30 Rock and Happy Endings. 30 Rock's remote reunion special aired last Thursday on NBC, while the Happy Endings remote reunion episode streamed on YouTube this past Monday. It was great seeing the casts and hearing the joke rhythms of these two cult classic comedies again, both of which had a non-stop joke telling approach to comedy writing that I really loved, and which have allowed both of them to go onto become cult classics via streaming services. That said, I had very different opinions of both specials, despite being a big fan of both shows.

The 30 Rock reunion special doubled as a promotional vehicle for NBC's fall schedule as well as Peacock, and it made the entire special seem a little forced. It was nice to see the 30 Rock cast again, catch up to where they are in 2020, and hear some of the show's classic joke rhythms. The special felt true to the characters, and it was especially fun watching Jane Krakowski's Jenna deal with the effects of "cancel culture." And there were some other good gags in the special, such as Jack having the "iPhone 40" and the meta joke about Peacock not securing the rights to Friends (which felt like a very classic "30 Rock dunking on NBC" joke.) And yet, the fact that the special had to be interrupted every few minutes to watch the characters shamelessly plug NBCUniversal Networks' line-up was disappointing, even if that's what the special was intended for. It was a little odd to see the show just blatantly promoting NBC when it spent so much of its run making fun of it and using meta, tongue-in-cheek humor to get out of doing product placement (the classic gag where Liz looks into the camera and says "Can we have our money now?" was one of the show's funniest moments). Still, it was enjoyable enough and I did like seeing all of the characters again, so while I was a bit letdown, it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Happy Endings

But it couldn't compare to the Happy Endings reunion episode, which had a much lower production budget (it was literally just the cast on Zoom, similar to the Parks & Recreation episode from earlier in the pandemic) but otherwise was written and structured like a regular episode of Happy Endings. And the show has not missed a beat in terms of joke crafting - the jokes came fast and furious, just as they did during the show's original run. The running joke of Dave accidentally opening a restaurant called "Covid-19" felt extremely classic Happy Endings, as did the idea of airheaded Alex being a virus denier, or Penny and Max marrying each other on Zoom because they couldn't find anyone else. It was simple, but it managed to completely capture everything that made the show so great, and further convinced me that a Happy Endings reboot would be one of the only shows that I think could successfully be rebooted and not miss a step from its original run. This special proved you could literally just get the cast onto video chat and it would still be comedy gold. I'm just saying, if any streaming service or network wants to greenlight a show that's just the Happy Endings cast talking in character over video chat for 10 episodes a season...I'd watch. All in all, this special really reminded me just how great Happy Endings was, and if you still haven't seen it, I really recommend checking out all 56 episodes on Hulu as soon as possible.


Netflix has renewed southern drama Sweet Magnolias for a second season! The first season dropped in May with 10 episodes. Life in the small, Southern town of Serenity isn't exactly serene for three best friends as together they navigate relationships, family and careers. Centered on three South Carolina women, best friends since high school, as they shepherd each other through the complexities of romance, career, and family. The series stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend, Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan, Heather Headley as Helen Decatur, Justin Bruening as Cal Maddox, Chris Klein as Bill Townsend, Carson Rowland as Tyler Townsend, Logan Allen as Kyle Townsend, Anneliese Judge as Annie Sullivan and special guest star Jamie Lynn Spears as Noreen Fitzgibbons.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, July 25

History of the Sitcom

Where Have All the Theme Songs Gone? (CNN, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Don Lemon reviews the most popular TV theme songs in history with Gary Portnoy of "Cheers", Christopher Knight from "The Brady Bunch", Fran Drescher from "The Nanny", and composer Kurt Farquhar.

History of the Sitcom - "Working for Laughs" (CNN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Work families can be even funnier than our biological ones, since the endless array of wacky sitcom characters on the job offers hilarious insights into the state of the American workplace.

Duncanville - "Crimes and Misters Demean Her" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jack coaches Jing's little league soccer team, but when he feels he's too easy on the kids he calls on Duncan to yell at the team to get them to win; Annie takes Kimberly to work with her after she has a falling out with her friends.

HouseBroken - "Who's Going to the Vet?" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Chief eats Jill's vibrator, he's taken to the vet and ends up leading his own version of group therapy; Tabitha goes to live with The Gray One and learns she has to sing and dance if she wants to survive.

The Simpsons - "The 7 Beer Itch" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Marge and the kids take a seaside vacation, Homer is unwittingly tempted by a British femme fatale.

The Great North - "My Fart Will Go on Adventure" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While the family prepares for Wolf and Honeybee's wedding, an unexpected guest RSVPs.

Bob's Burgers - "Y Tu Tina También" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tina is forced to listen to Spanish audio lessons in the library to improve her grade, she develops an unexpected crush; Louise and Gene want to dunk Mr. Frond at the Wagstaff Spring Fair.

Family Guy - "The Marrying Kind" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Stewie gets a mail order bride and experiences domestic life; Peter and Chris become addicted to free hotel breakfast buffets.

Wellington Paranormal - "She-Wolf" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Officers O'Leary and Minogue investigate what they believe are dog attacks, but stumble upon something more mysterious.

Dead Pixels - "The Chair" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Alison becomes concerned over Meg's physical downturn and tries to sway her to a healthier regime; everyone worries about Nicky.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 19)

Friday, July 23

  • Wanda Sykes (The Upshaws/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kim Fields (The Upshaws/Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Watch Kim on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso/Son of Zorn/The Cleveland Show) - Jason will be on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Christine Baranski (Happy Family/Welcome to New York/Cybill) - Christine appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Minnie Driver (Speechless/About a Boy) - Minnie is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Sarah Levy (Schitt's Creek) - Sarah appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens) - Leah is a guest on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March-July)

Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)

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
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
08/03 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

07/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 26, 2021)
07/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Manifest Cancellation Being Reconsidered; American Housewife Sold for Broadcast Syndication
07/23 - Fri-Yay: 2021 Emmy Nominations Heavy on New Comedies, Light on Traditional Sitcoms; That Damn Michael Che Gets a Second Season
07/22 - Lifetime Announces Justina Machado TV Movie; ABC News to Focus on Superstars
07/21 - HBO Max's Love Life Season 2 Announces Cast; Kevin Hart and Jason Biggs Host Back-to-Back Shows on E!
07/20 - Peacock's Superfan Episodes of The Office; The Other Two Season 2 Launch Date on New Network HBO Max
07/19 - Melrose Place Reunion on Fox's New Fantasy Island; Tacoma FD Returns Sept. 16 on truTV
07/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 19, 2021)
07/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jerry O'Connell Joins the Conversation on The Talk; Norman Lear Sitcoms Arrive on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV
07/16 - ABC Fall 2021 Premiere Dates Includes The Wonder Years; Paramount+ Renews iCarly
07/15 - Norman Lear Classics to Stream on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV; Cristela Alonzo to Host Hidden Temple on The CW
07/14 - 73rd Emmy Awards Nominations; Showtime Orders Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Comedy
07/13 - Emmy Awards Slated for Sep. 19, CBS Fall Premiere Dates; Remembering Charlie Robinson - Mac from Night Court
07/12 - Huge Star Joining Season 5 of Search Party on HBO Max; Late Night Talk Show Pause with Sam Jay to Return
07/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 12, 2021)
07/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting News for Night Court Reboot; Rutherford Falls Renewed for Second Season
07/09 - Fri-Yay: CNN's History of the Sitcom Looks Like a Treat for Sitcom Fans; Rutherford Falls Renewed for 2nd Season; Remembering Suzzanne Douglas of The Parent 'Hood
07/08 - COZI TV Acquires 3rd Rock from the Sun and Quincy, M.E. This Summer; The Standups to Return to Netflix After Long Hiatus
07/07 - AnTENna TV's Birthday Party Continues on July 10; HBO Max's Our Flag Means Death Adds More to Cast
07/06 - Netflix Cancels 4 Sitcoms Including Kevin James Series; HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars Casts Two Leads
07/05 - Happy 4th of July; Limited Edition Younger Vinyl Soundtrack Coming July 16; Seinfeld Soundtrack Released
07/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 5, 2021)
07/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Cancels Several Sitcoms; Telma Hopkins Cast in NBC Dark Dramedy Pilot
07/02 - Fri-Yay: Modern Family is a Perfect Holiday Weekend Binge; Spike Lee to Open NBA Finals
07/01 - The Simpsons and Marvel Join Forces on Disney+; Netflix Orders Catherine Tate Comedy Series
06/30 - Two Season 2 Premieres This August: Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens on Aug. 18; Work in Progress on Aug. 22
06/29 - HBO Max Picks Up Season 2 of Made for Love; Discovery Is Growing with Jim Belushi
06/28 - Apple TV+ Series Schmigadoon! Premieres July 16
06/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 28, 2021)
06/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Adds First Two Seasons of The Chris Rock Show; Netflix Renews The Upshaws
06/25 - Fri-Yay: Paramount+'s iCarly Revival Is Light-Hearted Fun for Millennial and Gen Z Viewers; HIMYM Director Joins HIMYF