Previewing TV’s fall line up: Comedy Edition

By Phil Case

Dear Blog,

After subjecting myself to premiere after premiere over the last few weeks in an effort to establish a nightly schedule that requires my constant presence on the couch, I think I am ready to publicly present my preliminary opinions on the new fall TV lineups. Here is the rundown of the comedies:

– NBC –

The Good: 30 Rock (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and Community (Thursday, 7:00 p.m.) are off to strong starts with three solid episodes each. Abed might be my favorite current TV character, Chevy Chase and Alec Baldwin are probably too talented to be on any television show, and both are extremely well-written.

The Bad: Don’t get me wrong; I am a big fan of The Office (Thursday, 8:00 p.m.). But honestly I have kind of lost interest since it basically became a spin-off show about Jim and Pam (the two least funny characters on the show). Since this is Steve Carell‘s last season, I would like to see some more Michael-centric episodes that re-establish the bizarre dynamic between he and Dwight that made the show so good in the first place.

The Ugly: After possibly the strongest season of any comedy during the 2009-2010 year, NBC somehow thought it would be a good idea to put season 3 of Parks and Recreation on hold in lieu of their new project, Outsourced (Thursday, 8:30 p.m.). Although I was deeply disappointed, I decided to give Outsourced a chance. Unfortunately, it is just as bad as it looks.

Practically every joke relies on the overplayed, paper-thin “Isn’t it funny how wacky different cultures are?” premise or the misconception that boring, uninspired dialogue will be snappy and hilarious when told with an Indian accent. Needless to say, I think Parks and Rec needs to come back immediately.

– ABC –

The Good: Modern Family (Wednesday, 8:00 p.m.) has quickly become one of my favorite shows on TV. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it.

The Bad: To be fair, I have not given Cougar Town (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.) that much of a chance, but it just seems really flat the few times I have seen it. The characters aren’t that believable and the dialogue tries, but fails, to be quick and witty.

The Ugly: Better With You is pretty awful. It’s one of the few new comedies still trying desperately to let the audience know that they should be laughing by using a laugh track. The jokes are so formulaic that I keep waiting for Jim Belushi to show up.

– CBS –

The Good: I’ll let you know when I see something on CBS that makes me laugh. I have yet to see How I Met Your Mother (Monday, 7:00 p.m.) and it seems like a lot of people like it so I will just put that here for now.

The Bad: I really tried to like The Big Bang Theory (Thursday, 7:00 p.m.). Unfortunately, it is just unwatchable. After watching a whole season only to hear two jokes over and over again (the incredible smart guys who have no social skills/the hot girl next door who hangs out with them), I can honestly say it is just a bad show. Sorry if you happen to be a fan.

The Ugly: $#*! My Dad Says (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) is quite possibly the worst idea for a show out of all the lineups. Based on a Twitter page, it has the unmistakable stench of ABC’s disastrous Cavemen series based on the Geico commercials. William Shatner is only funny when he’s being weird and you’re not sure if it’s supposed to be funny or not. This simply does not work with a bunch of raucous, canned laughter in the background every few seconds.


– Fox –

The Good: I will go with The Simpsons (Sunday, 7:00 p.m.) for no other reason than pure loyalty. Although it has still not returned to the glory days of seasons 3-10, it has actually improved the last couple of seasons. The fact that the show is older than most of the people reading this warrants some level of praise.

The Bad: I know this is going to offend a lot of you, but can we please stop letting Seth MacFarlane make shows? I just don’t find Family Guy (Sunday, 8:00 p.m.), The Cleveland Show (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.), or American Dad (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.) that funny. They’re sloppily written, hit-or-miss joke factories.

The Ugly: It pains me to say this, but Running Wilde (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.) which was created by Arrested Development creator, Mitch Hurwitz was pretty bad. Although the premiere had its moments, I had to grade it on a pretty tough curve considering all of the elements it had in common with Arrested Development.

And there you have it. Check back later this week for a blog discussing this season’s dramas.