Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘two and a half men’

5:50 Going for a quick cigarette outside before awards begin.

6:00 Opening spiel, then NPH singing in a white dinner jacket. Yummy.

6:04 ” I grew up on television.”

6:05 Shaiman and Whitman wrote the song. Knew it.

6:07 Tour of the Emmy set.

6:09 Funny Emmy clip reel.

6:11 Jon Hamm ( sigh) and Tina Fey ( sigh). Supporting Actress in a comedy.

6:12 WTF Chenoweth?

6:13 The winner is… Kristin Chenoweth (stunner shocker but happiness!) She sobs her way funnily through her speech. I wanna hug her.

6:08 Comedy categories first. I’m suddenly very nervous for hubby Jim Parsons.

6:21 Some Neil and Hodgman funnies, then a convenient plug for HIMYM.

6:22 So surprised 30 Rock won a writing award. (Sarcasm)

6:27 Jon Cryer wins. Why?

6:28 One very pissed off NPH/30 Rock fan right here. ARGH!

6:33 I’m very worried about the rest of my picks. I’m 1 for three. The one- writing.

6:35 Justin Timberlake presenting Actress in a Comedy series. And he’s funny and charming.

6:36 Toni Colette wins. I’m way off tonight. I’m trying to figure out what tonight is gonna be. Watch Charlie Sheen win in a couple of minutes.  This is turning into a nightmare show for me 9 although I like Toni and Kristin, I like their shows, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t win).

6:39 NPH asks Cryer to show the envelope. It really does say ” Jon Cryer”.

6:41 The GG girls turn it over to Tina and JT, who thank Lorne Michaels for their Guest Actor wins. Then the GG girls present  Best Comedy direction to The Office’s Jeff Blitz.

6:48 Rob Lowe presenting Actor in a comedy. He mocks himself.

6:52 I’m gonna drink an entire bottle of wine right now and drown ,y tears because Jim Parsons did not win.

7:29 I have spent the last forty minutes trying to fix a computer crash. Rundown- Reality shows no surprise, mini/TV movies are pretty ho hum. Dr. Horrible- hilarious! Love the buffering jokes. And Captain Hammer to boot. Jessica Lange beats out Drew Barrymore.

7:59 Apparently Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco were on stage with Jim Parsons when he presented. I didn’t notice as I laid at the foot of my TV stand staring worshipfully at a comedy God who was robbed of his Emmy. Really, I need a life.

8:01 I do not have a problem. All of you shut up.

8:02 Jimmy Fallon won as a member of the SNL writing team, right?

8:03 Jimmy is making me laugh. He hasn’t done this since he was on SNL.

8:05 It has to be “Motherlover”. Seriously.

8:05 It’s the Oscars team. Are you kidding me?

8:06 Ricky Gervais. Worshiping at the feet of the king.

8:07 ” Me, again.” HA!

8:08 Gervais present best comedy variety show to The Daily Show. Never disappointed when TDS gang wins. As I am also much in ,love with Jon Stewart. Have been since his MTV talk show in the mid 90s.

8:16 Prezzie time. But no Prezzie speech. Thank God.

8:17 Drama time. Great. Night should be ending soon. Crushing disappointments tonight. Cryer/Baldwin just took me out.

8:19 LL and Chris O’Donnell not funny at all. Supporting Actor goes to… Michael Emerson. My best friend Rosie probably just screamed with joy. I still couldn’t tell you what role he played.

8:21 Chris and LL also doing Supporting Actress. And that award goes to Cherry Jones.  Who is a theater goddess, so we are delighted.

8:23 In Memorium.

8:33 Hot vampires!

8:35 Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox present directing for drama.

8:36 The award goes to the E.R. dude.

8:37 Now they present drama writing. I’m guessing… Mad Men.

8:38 Yeah, shocker again (Sarcasm).

8:39 Yeah, I’m one of those guys at Starbucks with a computer or notebook, writing away.

8:40 Simon ” Hot accent” Baker is presenting the actress drama award to Glenn Close. I am WAY OFF  with these damn acting awards this year. WTF?

8:44 Right now I’m kinda hoping Hugh Laurie wins and makes me 0-for-eight for acting awards.

8: 48 Dana Delaney presents Actor in a drama.  Bryan Cranston wins. This is the one I get right. And he rightfully deserves it. His performance is searing.

8:52 Bob Newhart presents Best Comedy. And drones on a bit.  But has some good lines.

8:54 30 Rock. Which is about as surprising as me eating peanut M&Ms.

8:56 I have never been so unhappy to see Cat Deeley in my life. I want my final award.

9:00 Emmys are going over.

9:00 I’m actually looking forward to Criminal Minds.

9:01 Sigourney Weaver presents best drama to Mad Men. No effing surprise.

That is it for the night and the year. Early surprises in acting awards turn into a night where many repeat winners come along.  Still crushed about Jim Parsons losing. May never be okay again…

Can’t wait until The Big Bang Theory premieres tomorrow night.

Till the next one ( Golden Globes in January, everyone!)

Read Full Post »

Emmy Nominees Announced!

Below are the nominees for the major categories of the Emmys nominations released earlier today. I will post my thoughts and picks in the near future, but needless to say, the Emmy voters got more right than usual, but why do people who hate television so much get to select what is the best of television?

 

Best Drama

Big Love

Breaking Bad

Damages

Dexter

House

Lost

Mad Men

Best Comedy

Entourage

Family Guy

Flight of the Conchords

How I Met Your Mother

The Office

30 Rock

Weeds

Best Television Mini Series

Generation Kill

Little Dorrit

Best Television Movie

Coco Chanel

Grey Gardens

Into The Storm

Prayers for Bobby

Taking Chance

Best Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race

American Idol

Dancing With The Stars

Project Runway

Top Chef

Best Reality Series

Antiques Roadshow

Dirty Jobs

Dog Whisperer

Intervention

Kathy Griffin: My Life On the D List

Mythbusters

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Special

Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush

Ricky Gervais: Out Of England

Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut A Bitch

The Kennedy Center Honors

Chris Rock: Kill The Messenger

Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Late Show with David Letterman

Real Time with Bill Maher

Saturday Night Live

Best Actor Drama

Simon Baker The Mentalist

Gabriel Byrne In Treatment

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad

Michael C. Hall Dexter

Jon Hamm Mad Men

Hugh Laurie House

Best Actor Comedy

Alec Baldwin 30 Rock

Steve Carrell The Office

Jermaine Clement Flight of the Conchords

Jim Parsons The Big Bang Theory

Tony Shaloub Monk

Charlie Sheen Two And A Half Men

Best Actor Mini Series or Movie

Kevin Bacon Taking Chance

Kenneth Branagh Wallander: One Step Behind

Kevin Kline Cyrano de Bergerac: Great Performances

Brendan Gleeson Into The Storm

Sir Ian McKellan King Lear: Great Performances

Keifer Sutherland 24: Redemption

Best Actress Drama

Glenn Close Damages

Sally Field Brothers and Sisters

Mariska Hargitay Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Holly Hunter Saving Grace

Elisabeth Moss Mad Men

Kyra Sedgwick The Closer

Best Actress Comedy

Christina Applegate Samantha Who?

Toni Colette United States of Tara

Julia Louis- Dreyfus The New Adventures of Old Christine

Tina Fey 30 Rock

Mary Louise Parker Weeds

Sarah Silverman The Sarah Silverman Program

Best Actress Mini Series or Movie

Drew Barrymore Grey Gardens

Jessica Lange Grey Gardens

Shirley MacLaine Coco Chanel

Sigourney Weaver Prayers For Bobby

Chandra Wilson Accidental Friendship

Best Reality Host

Tom Bergeron Dancing With the Stars

Phil Keoghan The Amazing Race

Heidi Klum Project Runway

Padma Lakshimi and Tom Colicchio Top Chef

Jeff Probst Survivor

Ryan Seacrest American Idol

Best Supporting Actor Drama

Christian Clemenson Boston Legal

Michael Emerson Lost

William Hurt Damages

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad

William Shatner Boston Legal

John Slattery Mad Men

Best Supporting Actor Comedy

Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men

Kevin Dillon Entourage

Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother

Jack McBrayer 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan 30 Rock

Rainn Wilson The Office

Best Supporting Actor Mini Series or Movie

Len Cariou Into The Storm

Tom Courteney Little Dorrit

Ken Howard Grey Gardens

Bob Newhart The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice

Andy Serkis Little Dorrit

Best Supporting Actress Drama

Rose Byrne Damages

Hope Davis In Treatment

Cherry Jones 24

Sandra Oh Grey’s Anatomy

Dianne Weist In Treatment

Chandra Wilson Grey’s Anatomy

Best Supporting Actress Comedy

Kristen Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

Jane Krakowski 30 Rock

Elizabeth Perkins Weeds

Amy Poehler Saturday Night Live

Kristin Wiig Saturday Night Live

Vanessa L. Williams Ugly Betty

Best Supporting Actress Mini Series or Movie

Shohreh Aghdashloo House of Saddam

Marcia Gay Harden The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Janet McTeer Into The Storm

Jeanne Triplehorn Grey Gardens

Cicely Tyson Relative Stranger

Best Actor in a Guest Role Drama

Ed Asner ER

Ted Danson Damages

Ernest Borgnine ER

Michael J. Fox Rescue Me

Jimmy Smits Dexter

Best Actor in a Guest Role Comedy

Alan Alda 30 Rock

Beau Bridges Desperate Housewives

Jon Hamm 30 Rock

Steve Martin 30 Rock

Justin Timberlake Saturday Night Live

Best Actress in a Guest Role Drama

Brenda Blethyn Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Carol Burnett  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Ellen Burstyn  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Sharon Lawrence Grey’s Anatomy

CCH Pounder No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Best Actress in a Guest Role Comedy

Jennifer Aniston 30 Rock

Christine Baranski The Big Bang Theory

Tina Fey Saturday Night Live

Gena Rowlands Monk

Elaine Stritch 30 Rock

Betty White My Name Is Earl

Read Full Post »

CBS announced it’s sked today, and The Big Bang Theory is moving to 9:30 on Mondays, behind Two and A Half Men ( still won’t watch that). HIMYM is taking over the 8:00 spot TBBT has had all season.

Oh, and Criminal Minds was on the sked, same place, same time. 

I’ll be misisng the first half of tonight’s CM two hour finale. Hey, the BAU in Canada- and Idol conflicts. Stupid networks.

Read Full Post »

And not just a single season pickup. CBS and Warner brothers announced officially what we fans already knew- our favorite physicists will be around for two more years.

Sadly, Charlie and Alan will be around for three more, on an unfunny, aging sitcom.

Read Full Post »

Ausiello at EW has confirmed that Life On Mars has been cancelled by ABC. Mourn everyone.

Two And A Half Men has gotten a three season pick up from CBS. Mourn harder.

Now rejoice- The Big Bang Theory has gotten a two season pick up. SHELDON COOPER FOR THE WIN!

No word yet on How I Met Your Mother, though.

Read Full Post »

All new CBS lineup tonight, starting with Howard and Leslie- ew- on The Big Bang Theory, Barney’s ” wife” and ” son” on HIMYM, some stuff about Charlie and Alan I don’t care about, the season premiere of that David Spade show I dislike immensely, capped with a new CSI Miami where Caruso takes off his sunglasses slowlt and speaks in a stilited growlish voice. All while Craig Ferguson ( GOD!) and Paris Hilton ( why?) eat TV dinners at Craig’s “house” for some in between show fun.

If you would rather watch something more grown up and somber, House is on as well on Fox, followed by something, I’m sure. The only reason to watch Fox is House, AI, and The simpsons ( I’m still trying to hang in to Dollhouse. Whedon, don’t hurt me).

Read Full Post »

  • New Tragically Hip record to drop in April, called We are the Same. Hip.
  • Peter Gabriel will be at the Oscars Sunday, but he won’t sing. I don’t blame him. He’s Peter” Sledgehammer” Gabriel, the man responsible for the greatest love song of the last thirty years with ” In Your Eyes”. Let him sing all of that Wall-E song before he wins the damn award.
  • Shonda Rimes insists T.R. Knight and Katherine ” No Self Censorship” Heigl are NOT leaving Grey’s Anatomy. I wish the show would leave, it hasn’t been good since season two.
  • This is Conan O’Brien’s last week as host of Late Night. The White Stripes will perform on Friday’s show. I’m recording the whole week because I love Conan and the last fifteen years have brought me such absurdis joy.
  • Wanda Sykes to host the National Correspondents Dinner in D.C. Genius.
  • Mandy Moore engaged to a homeless man who resembles altcountry superstar Ryan Adams. Wait, it IS Ryan Adams.
  • Trump Entertainment ( the Casino Division) files for Chapter 11 for the third time.
  • Two And A Half Men‘s popularity continues to baffle comedy snobs, feminists, people with half a brain, and television critics. Sadly, I get why Chuck Lorre’s two most recent sitcoms center around men. See: Rosanne, Cybill Shepherd, Brett Butler.
  • Matt Selman at Time.com goes all fanboy giddy over seeing Watchmen.
  • Dumbass band name of the century: This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. And they wonder why the TSA pulled them off for questioning.
  •  Interesting story of the day: A third of civil unions in France are done by straight couples as it is easier to get out of than marriage in the still predominantly Catholic country. So much for the theory that it protects the sancitity of marriage.
  • Some right wing zealots say gay marriage violates the first amendment. I say either the government gets out of the marriage business or everyone shut up. It can coexist as both a legal and religious ceremony, but they are not interchangable, or else Churches cannot discriminate against couples marrying interfaith or calling the children of marriages not done in the spectacle of the church bastards ( I’m looking at you, Pope Benny).

Read Full Post »

ATTENTION: ALL BIG BANG THEORY FANS
Please remember that the show tonight, a fresh, brand spanking new episode that has Leonard’s mom visiting is on tonight AFTER Two and A Half Men, due to the Presidential News Conference. On the West Coast, they will be airing a Christine repeat, followed by HIMYM, then the two Chuck Lorre sitcoms. Please
remember to tune in and watch CBS comedies tonight. Thank you.

Read Full Post »

how-i-met-your-mother-jason-segel-1129162_1280_1024

As 2008 draws to a close, I am again dealing with a cacophony of voices proclaiming that the sitcom is dead. Now, television is a cyclical business, and this news comes every time a long running show leaves the television landscape and no one steps up the following year with some zeitgeist consuming hit. The last one was Everybody Loves Raymond, which ran for nine seasons and was probably the quietest 90s bred hit sitcom. It never had the buzz of a Seinfeld or a Friends, but it was a good quality, funny traditional three camera sitcom in the vein of a family comedy. I was never the biggest fan of the show, but I know funny and I know quality funny, and it was that. Companion piece King Of Queens ended two years later, another quiet 90s bred hit sitcom that was never an overwhelming success.

The truth is, the last decade or so has been pretty uneven for sitcoms. I get that. The last blow you out of the universe success was Friends, and it debuted in 1994. It’s not that sitcoms haven’t debuted in the last eight ( nine) years that haven’t been successful. According to Jim on ABC is going into a truncated eighth season. No one knows why, as no one I know watches it, or knows anyone who watches it. It’s a bland, often unfunny show, and I have never seen a moment that redeems it in my eyes. But clearly someone is watching it and kept it on the air for eight seasons. But it’s an unmitigated success as it has lasted almost as long as Seinfeld. I wish I was kidding.

season-2-promo-pic-the-big-bang-theory-2847657-2500-1667

Why the drop? Well, that’s hard to communicate. The 90s had brilliant shows that helped grown the sitcom brand that lasted for nine or ten seasons and that’s hard to over come. Funny hasn’t changed. People still laugh at pratfalls and double entendres. It’s also not cable’s fault. Cable has focused on dramas, not sitcoms, although there are charming funny shows on cable. There is also a lot of crap. But the cable channels are more interested in pushing the drama envelope, as there appears to be more taboos to break in that genre. Funny is funny, but funny also has sketch comedy and stand-up to bust the FCC’s balls with. We can’t blame it on September 11th or the wars or the economy. The golden age of film comedy happened during the Great Depression on through World War Two. Preston Sturges, one of the funniest men who ever worked in Hollywood, wrote an entire film about it called Sullivan’s Travels. Plus, the economy didn’t start tanking till this year, so what excuse does Chuck Lorre have for giving Charlie Sheen a regular gig.

When I posted my top ten television shows/ moments, I made a rule to not be too heavy on one genre. Thank God for that, because it was actually sitcom heavy. The ten shows I watch every week, without fail, are:

The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother

House

Criminal Minds

Life On Mars

The Office

30 Rock

Project Runway/Top Chef (whatever is currently running)

CSI

The Simpsons ( still a family ritual every Sunday night)

Throw in Mad Men, Damages, Dexter whenever they’re on.

I love funny. Funny makes my day. I’m a sad, angry human being, folks. We dominate comedy. Look at Chuck Lorre, fer chrissakes, the man is an angry genius despite the existence of Two And A Half Men.

I can understand the general appeal of that show, and I bash it perhaps a little unfairly. No, I don’t. I find the men perverted sex crazed lunatics, and the women are crazy or shrewish. These are standard comedy stereotypes, and they annoy me even on shows I love. But I forgive a lot if the jokes are funny, and as much as I adore Chuck Lorre ( and I do), the jokes aren’t there. Not that Charlie Sheen is horrible, and Jon Cryer has saved a few episodes from complete idiocy by being naturally persnickety funny, but overall, the show disappoints simply by refusing to burst through comedy boundaries. It’s a classic sitcom with unfunny jokes.

wall03_1024

Classic sitcoms ( typically, three camera, filmed in front of an audience, laugh track is usual, but not necessarily used anymore) have fallen by the wayside as single camera shows like Scrubs and Arrested Development stole the thunder and are now the gold star comedy standards.  The most successful of these traditional sitcoms on all artistic and comedy levels is Chuck Lorre’s other CBS Monday show, The Big Bang Theory. It is a standard friendship, hot girl next door comedy ( think… well Friends was a version of this, as was Seinfeld, except the latter had no hot girl but wacky neighbor, which is an acceptable alternative to hot girl). But we take a quartet of atypical protagonists and turn the sitcom standards on their ears. How many sitcoms can you name that stars for geeky physicists/engineers ( Wolowitz is still only an M.Eng., after all)? The hot girl, Penny, lives across the hall, and at first I was suspecting she would be a typical dumb blonde ( and was played like that in the pilot, which was why on first view, the pilot was a massive fail for me, despite the appealing comedy stylings of Jim Parsons). It became clear by mid season Penny was not dumb, but normal- she was insecure, struggling, and smart without being- well, the guys she knows. She’s clever enough to play against Sheldon in a game of one upsmanship, but normal enough to be bored at the Physics Bowl. Not only that, she is learning and growing as a human being ( throwing out the Schrodinger cat theory on a date- Sheldon had told her the story two episodes before). She likes her scientist neighbors genuinely, even Sheldon. She’s understanding to their quirks ( even if she desires to challenge them- The Party Pinata episode, anyone?). She is refreshingly normal. She is our every-woman dealing with these hyper-intelligent goofs next door.

The male characters are also twists on standard sitcom characters. Leonard is intelligent geek, but he’s also the romantic lead on the show. It’s his desire to break out from this tiny universe he and his friends have created that begins the series. Howard Wolowitz is as much of a mack daddy as Joey Tribianni- just creepier, as he just doesn’t get the word “no” or ” stalker” or ” gross, I do not want to hear about how you engineered the International Space Station’s Liquid Waste Removal System”. Rajesh is the quiet type- literally, as he is so pathologically shy around women he cannot speak to them. Grasshoppers help with this, but then he turns into an ass.

Then there is Sheldon Cooper. A child prodigy with an IQ not able to be measured by any standard tests, he takes the Felix Unger type and adds in the Ted Baxter blowhole and comes up with magic. He is incapable of seeing the world in any normal way. Social relationships are a burden, but he enjoys the few he does value to an extent.  Jim Parsons, though, imbues this difficult to like character type and imbues him with humanity. Sheldon is desperate for respect from the scientific community, and takes insults to his research seriously ( he would, however, be arrogant enough to deny any of what I just wrote, while plotting to dazzle the world with his next discovery). He is attempting to learn social niceties as he values Leonard’s friendship, and Leonard values Penny ( that Saturnalia hug was priceless).

The show is super smart- the science goes over my head.  but it’s accessible and makes science fun and quasi-cool.  It consistently makes me laugh, particularly as Sheldon tries to deal with the increasing pressure around him to behave like a normal human being. There has been criticism that the show is becoming too Sheldon centric. This is true, but honestly, the worst episodes tend to not focus on Sheldon or waylay him to sidekick status. The shows shining moments, though, are Sheldon-Penny moments, with the pinnacle so far being The Barbarian Sublimation, where Sheldon accidentally gets Penny addicted to Age of Conan and tries to remedy the situation by trying to get her a man. Priceless.

The other high quality traditional sitcom on the air that is consistently funny is The Big Bang Theory‘s lead out, How I Met Your Mother. I keep reading about how this show, which barely made it into it’s fourth season, is slipping. I don’t see it. The first thing I had to do when researching this essay was figure out if the show had a laugh track and/or studio audience ( it has one or the other). I never noticed it. Because I laugh out loud. Still.

A lot of this show’s success is based on the fact the show is a variation on the Friends-Seinfeld paradigm- it’s another buddy comedy. But it’s told in flashback, with the fluidity of memory, that allows for in-jokes and clever wordplay ( pot=sandwiches). It deals with growing older and looking for that perfect adult life without being cloy or predictable. The characters are standard with a twist. Marshall is a lawyer with a heart, ideals, and a naivete I find refreshing in a world populated by cynically men.  Ted is a professional and a dreamer who actually wants to settle down. Robin is a guy’s perfect girl. Too bad that guy appears to be Barney, who is a pig, but is played by Neil Patrick Harris, so he shines and shimmers like a new penny. Even he shows suprising heart and a conscience ( a little late- he already had slept with Ted’s ex, Robin, but he really did feel bad, and ran across Manhattan after Ted was in an accident because bros before hos, dude). Lily is the world’s dirtiest kindergarten teacher- she drinks like a champ and still is unafraid to flash bouncers to get into a bar. They delight in each other, and even Marshall and Lily’s wedding hasn’t slowed down the friends life style.

The show uses a voice over technique to tell the primary story, which actually adds to the comedy ( again, pot=sandwiches. Do you want to tell your kids that you spent your first day of college getting high?). The voice over, smashingly done by the dirtiest man in comedy, Bob Saget, is both a testament to the imperfections of memory and a gift to fans- we obsess over that stupid goat that keeps getting mentioned, but never in the order it’s supposed to be, what the hell BlahBlah’s name is, and the subtle hints of the future. The series is laden with clues- the yellow umbrella, the Stella red herring ( which actually set up a series finale in case it wasn’t renewed), the Barney-Robin connection, Lily drinking water instead of scotch ( although producers insist Lily isn’t pregnant, unlike Alyson Hannigan, who is in real life), Robin’s sudden job loss, Marshall’s ginormous future office at home, which leads me to believe that he never stops working for Goliath National Bank ( there isn’t a tonne of money in environmental law, although in the future, who knows?). All these things are hinted in the voice over as being the beginnings of grand adventures for our favorite five. It’s one of the best uses of a voice over in television.

The other great voice over is on Scrubs. Entering it’s final season ( again), Scrubs is the little sitcom that could. Again, it was never a great commercial success, although we fans are fanatical ( as the six current season DVDs on my self attest to- it’s the only long running series outside of House I own all available seasons for).A mix of heart, funny, and fantasy, Scrubs was a single camera comedy ground breaker. A lot of it’s success rests on the appeal of leading man Zach Braff, who plays John ” J.D.” Dorian as the goofiest, spaciest doctor in the history of television. He’s sensitive, needy, and a bit girly ( to the point Dr. cox, played by the uproarious John C. McGinley, calls him girls names). Entire episodes have taken root in parody and homage ( The Wizard Of Oz episode remains a personal favorite). They did a musical episode ( with smashing tracks like ” Everything Comes Down To Poo” and ” Guy Love”) that was funnier than any musical comedy to come out of Broadway the last five years. In fact, music plays a big role on the show- Eurasure’s ” A Little Respect” played a role in a season one episode, and the season two premiere focused on a Colin Hays song. The show reintroduced the John Cale version of ” Hallelujah” to the world ( and it’s still the best version- Jeff Buckley fans that want to kick my ass can form a line to my left). The humor is biting, but it’s soften by the serious heart of the show. Creator Bill Lawrence isn’t afraid to deal with big issues- returning vets, death, drug addiction have all been dealt with. It’s touching and funny.

The only big time comedy to debut in the last few years outside The Big Bang Theory is the Emmy winning 30 Rock, a single camera comedy that takes a look at the behind the scenes of an SNL type show. The show shines on the performances of Tina Fey as the working single every woman Liz Lemon, who is mean and cynical but in denial about it, and Alec Baldwin as NBC/GE head of Programming ( and Microwaves) Jack Donaghy, who is vicious while speaking softly. And I must say, any show that hires Elaine Stritch to be Jack’s mom is the greatest show on television ( Elaine is a legend and one of the great actresses and why didn’t she become huge outside of theater?) Again, standard sitcom stereotypes apply, from Tracy Morgan’s whacked out comedian to Jane Krakowski’s clueless star Jenna, and then there is Jack McBrayer’s Kenneth the NBC Page, who is naive to the point of absurdity. And it’s the theater of the absurd that makes this show stand out. Most sitcoms these days value the farce, sarcasm, or irony to make us laugh. 30 Rock is a modern day Beckett comedy, and you know if Beckett were alive and working today, he’d be a staff writer on this show.

The other five major comedies on the air- The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Samantha Who?, The Office, My Name Is Earl, and Two And A Half Men– all have their audience. The Office remains beloved by everyone, and manages to hold its core audience well, but with rumors percolating about an imminent Steve Carell departure, I wonder if the shows best days are behind it ( frankly, the jokes have slipped this season, and I’m not feeling as compelled to watch it). My Name Is Earl has always been funny ( it has an original premise- Karma’s a bitch, so let’s make her happy), but it’s also prone to wild swings of quality and taste. Samantha Who? has a dazzling star in Christina Applegate, but I think the material is beneath her. The new Adventures of Old Christine has actually improved since it’s first season, but I’m not as in love with it or Julia Louis Dreyfus as other critics are, and it pains me to say it. And as for the last one, well, I have already declared my issues with it, but I must admit, Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer make the best out of crap material ( that kid, though, has always annoyed me). The few other shows on the air are either in their first season ( and I’m not a big fan of any of them), or are on CW ( and I never watch CW unless Top Model is on- or Gossip Girl, which has also slipped, but that’s a different day), or on Fox ( which hasn’t had a decent sitcom since they stupidly cancelled Arrested Development).

So, is the sitcom really a dying art form? I’d love to say no, but in an ever expanding entertainment universe, I can’t be as sure as I was in the early 90s when  The Cosby Show and Cheers ended and Frasier, Seinfeld, and Friends were just starting out. There will always be sitcoms on TV, there always have been. And eventually,due to the cyclical nature of television, one will be that earth shattering buzz show we wait for every year. But in a day where much of the funniest stuff is coming from the Internet, the age of the sitcom may well be on it’s way out. And I think that’s a shame.

Unless you consider all those MTV “reality” shows sitcoms. Lord knows they are laugh out loud hilarious. Granted, it’s because the level of suck is so high as to be embarrassing, but still- Funny is funny. All I know is that after watching five minutes, I need to go douse my self in bleach to get rid of the skanky feeling I get.

Read Full Post »