It is confirmed: CBS didn’t get the memo about sitcom being dead and all. Still, Accidentally on Purpose won me over the moment I realized it’s set in San Francisco. What can I say?, I’m sentimental like that.
Also, now I know where Ashley Jensen went when she left Ugly Betty. I guess she won’t be missed much, since her new character, Olivia, is pretty much like her old character, Christina: still Scottish (obviously), still a drinker, still funny. I still like her more than when she was doing Extras, although I must say her character there was more problematic and, ultimately, more complex than whatever she may get in an old-school sitcom.
I also know where Christina Applegate’s hairstyle from Samantha Who? went: now it’s on Jenna Elfman’s head. The first two episodes make it clear that Accidentally on Purpose is situation comedy at its best – not because it’s innovative or makes you think, but because it does its job: it makes you laugh. And sometimes that’s all the audience needs.
Thumbs up for Bill Lawrence’s new comedy, Cougar Town, which brings Courteney Cox back to comedy. I like that. She’s good at it, with great support from Christa Miller, whom i loved in Scrubs as Jordan Sullivan. The second episode gave me the feeling that Cox’s character is a bit like an older Elliot Reid, if she’d never become a doctor. It’s good to know that Lawrence is able to bring new stuff to the comedy table.
Even more new shows this week, with Kelsey Grammer doing what he does best (sitcom) in Hank, on ABC. I guess I’m really over classic sitcom. It’s certainly good for a quick laugh, but doesn’t get me involved anymore. I also know I should never say anything like this (it’s not like I’m trying to be academic here), but Hank is no Frasier.
On the other hand, I appreciated the pilot of The Middle, although the first-person narrative is definitely the new laugh track. But it was great to see Neil Flynn out of the Janitor’s jumpsuit – oh, sorry, I mean shirt and pants. I will keep watching that.
What I won’t keep watching is Modern Family, which I find barely funny at all. The mockumentary style is a huge déjà vu, but in this case I find it inconsistent and, ultimately, insignificant. I’ve also dropped Parks and Recreation for the same reason, and more I mentioned in my previous post. If I want to laugh uncomfortably, I’ll watch The Office. And I do.
Finally, I also followed a suggestion and watched the pilot of Glee. I wanted to throw myself in front of the midnight train after 10 minutes, but I resisted. Don’t get me wrong: the show is well made, the acting is good, and I’m sure show-choir lovers are getting a kick out of it. It’s not teen drama (thankfully), but it falls short of comedy, as it doesn’t seem to overcome the usual high-school lore and stereotypes that fill up American culture. Like I tweeted, it’s just what the world needs: more American high-school stories and more musical. And, as everyone knows, I’m with Geoffrey Tennant on this: “I hhhate musical.” Yes, it did make me smile a few times, but mostly it made me raise both my eyebrows (and that’s only because I’m incapable of raising only one at a time, which I admit would have made more sense). My days are too short as they are, and Glee won’t make my schedule.