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CBS Wins the Comedy Battle

October 20, 2013


CBS has the best comedies on TV right now.  Which is surprising, since they’ve always struggled to top the comedy game against NBC, but there it is.  This is not to say that other networks don’t have good comedies (I think we all know that I’m in love with The Mindy Project by this point), or that all their comedies are winners (We Are Men has already been canceled), but overall, they’re comedies outshine the competition.  Here are some examples.

The Big Bang Theory

The show is in its seventh season and shows no sign of stopping.  It’s created and produced by Chuck Lorre, creator of other hits Dharma & Greg and Two and a Half Men and centers around a group of nerds as they try to find love and more ahead in their world of academia. If you’re not already watching this show you should be, especially since Jim Parsons seems incapable of losing the Emmy for it.


This is Chuck Lorre’s newest show, starring Anna Faris as Christy, a single mom who is also an alcoholic in recovery. And so is her mom (Allison Janney). And her teenage daughter (name) is pregnant. So there’s three moms in the show. So it’s definitely an appropriate title for the show. But beyond that, the show is ludicrously funny.  Christy works in a restaurant where French Stewart is the head chef and so far, has one remarkable zinger per episode, which is the perfect amount of French Stewart. The rest of the comedy comes from Christy being an emotional wreck of a human being who doesn’t know how to connect with her kids, a deadbeat ex who keeps popping around, and her relationship with her mom, who has a better relationship with her daughter than she does.  If it sounds too complicated, just trust me, it all makes sense when you watch it. And it’s nice to see comedy pros making it work.

The Crazy Ones

Speaking of comedy pros, Robin Williams is back on TV! What’s the show about? Who cares! Robin Williams is back! Or so the promos for this show about a man and his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar) running an ad agency in Chicago would have you believe. But beyond that, the show is actually really clever! Williams is at the top of his game, with line after line that will make you laugh out loud. And while the pilot mostly featured his comedy (and a few great moments by guest star Kelly Clarkson), as the show has continued, the other actors have really gotten a chance to shine.  At first, Sarah Michelle Gellar seemed as though she was not going to be allowed to flex her comedic muscles, but the writers seem to be giving her a little more comedic material, and an outtake at the end of the third episode shows that she can give ad libs just as well as WIlliams.

There are other comedies at CBS of course, but those are the ones I’m watching. For contrast, here’s what I tried to like on other networks, but they just couldn’t capture me.

The Michael J. Fox Show

This one came the closest. Fox is another veteran, but in a show about him having a family and working with Parkinson’s, I was worried that it would mostly be Parkinson’s jokes. And I wasn’t totally wrong. Those jokes are definitely there. But overall, the most interesting part of the show had nothing to do with Fox or his Parkinson’s. The fast paced dialogue between his wife and his daughter is a show I would watch. But sadly there’s too much other stuff to keep me from being interested.

Super Fun Night

Fox is to Parkinson’s as Rebel Wilson is to being fat. And therein lies one of the major problems of Super Fun Night. The other HUGE GLARING PROBLEM is that ABC chose not to air the Pilot and so the setup of what “Super Fun Night” means is completely gone. I’d done my research, and I was still confused by the lack of setup.  In the pilot, Wilson and her friends/roommates had a standing arrangement that every Friday night, they would stay in, order pizza, drink and watch TV. Then Wilson gets a promotion and has to go out on a Friday night. So now they all do. Oh there’s also a hot guy at work Wilson is into and a skinny overachieving bitch who wants into his pants too. It’s a simple setup, but ultimately, it’s not really funny. Wilson is hilarious in other roles that throw her size into other people’s faces, but in this, it’s a part of her that defeats her. Which, sadly, is not exciting to watch. Super Fun Night is disappointingly neither super nor fun.

Sean Saves the World

Another show with a misleading title is Sean Saves the World, starring Sean Hayes as a gay dad whose teenage daughter is now living with him for the first time, and coincidentally, he’s just gotten a new boss who demands that he stay at work for significantly longer hours. Sean is torn because he wants to have family time with his daughter, who doesn’t actually want to have family time, but he wants to do well for his new boss, who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of family. The premise is funny enough, but unfortunately, the execution is not.  Sean Hayes is almost manic in his delivery, which would work if any of the rest of the cast would meet him on that level (the way the actors in Will & Grace did – although it helped then that he wasn’t the title role). I had such high hopes for this one, since it’s the only new show I’m aware of with a gay character as the lead, but I was once again disappointed.

I guess this season I’ll stick with CBS and keep my fingers crossed for a better crop of new comedies next season.


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