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, April 18

The Simpsons - "Diary Queen" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bart finds his old teacher's diary and learns a surprising secret; Lisa discovers an even bigger surprise.

Bless the Harts - "Hoot 'N Haw" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
When Wayne finds out he owns extra land, his family unexpectedly moves in on his property; Violet searches for Wayne's "Uncle Tommy" after he goes missing.

The Simpsons - "Panic on the Streets of Springfield" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lisa gets a new imaginary friend -- a depressed British singer from the 1980s; Homer becomes a truck guy.

The Great North - "Tusk in the Wind Adventure" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Beef and Wolf meet their hero, legendary mountain man Tusk Johnson; Judy and the rest of the Tobin clan become addicted to '80s prime-time soap "Dynasty."

Bob's Burgers - "Some Kind of Fender Benderful" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Bob gets into a four-car fender bender right outside the restaurant, he realizes finding out who is at fault will not be as simple as he had thought.

Family Guy - "Young Parent Trap" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lois and Peter are mistaken for young parents by another couple at Stewie's school and are invited to live in a millennial apartment complex, leaving Meg and Chris home alone.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 12)

Friday, April 16

  • Eddie Murphy (The PJs) - Watch Eddie on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Lorraine Toussaint (Where I Love) - Lorraine appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany guest hosts The Real, so check your loca listings.
  • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya talks about Netflix's The Mitchells vs. The Machines and hosting Saturday Night Live on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


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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