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SERIES PREMIERES: THE COMEDIES

29 Sep

With me being away most of last week and just now getting caught up, I’m doing all the new comedies that I watched in one recap.

Mom

This was probably my favorite comedy of the week.   This was one I actually forgot about until I was going through the grid and saw it on there.  I’m so glad I taped it because I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Anna Faris was delightful as Christy, the single mom and recovering alcoholic who is struggling with her relationship with mother (Allison Janney) and her daughter (Sadie Calvano.)  As hard as Christy is trying not to be her mother, she can’t help but fall into the same patterns.  Faris and Janney had fabulous chemistry as mother and daughter.   I haven’t seen Faris in a lot but when I have I’ve always enjoyed her.   But the one thing I noticed was how great her delivery was.  It was so natural and effortless.   Even the simplest lines had me laughing.  French Stewart was terrific as the owner of the restaurant Christy works at and stole many scenes he was in.  Nate Corddry rounds out the main crew as Christy’s love interest who is the GM of the restaurant and is also still married.

The one knock on this show, it’s a big cast.  Between Faris, Janney, Corddry, Steward, and Calvano, you also have Matt Jones (ex-husband), Spencer Daniels (Calvano’s boyfriend), and Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Christy’s son.)   There are a ton of people on this show and I worry it might be overkill.   Also, let’s keep the Christy crying to a minimum.    But the show was funny, the cast was strong, and I’ll be watching each week.

DVRs: 4

Back In The Game

Starring Maggie Lawson, James Caan, and Griffen Gluck, BITG follows the Gannon family.   Terry (Lawson) has moved back home with her son (Gluck) after a nasty divorce and moves in with her dad (Caan.)   Terry and the Cannon have a pretty salty relationship with their only real connection being a love of baseball.  Terry’s son tries out for the local team and doesn’t make it so Terry decides to coach a team of rejected kids and turn them into ball players.

I liked this show probably more than other people did.  It did make me laugh at times (Ben Koldyke and Leona Crichlow were great as Terry’s antagonist and new BFF) but I’d like to see Caan’s character toned down a bit more.  I mean really, who beats on someone’s car because their kid/grandkid is being bullied?   Really, a conversation with the parents would have been too much to ask?  That type of stuff drives me crazy because it doesn’t work.   Just give me some funny moments, some heartfelt moments (the scene where Terry sees all her college softball games on tape in Cannon’s basement made me tear up because my parents have the same thing) and let the show and the cast do it’s thing.   There isn’t a need for that type of over the top craziness.

DVRs: 3

The Goldberg’s 

This was another show I didn’t hate.  I guess not the best way to start a review, but it’s true.  I enjoyed parts of The Goldberg’s.  I’m a sucker for 80’s themed TV shows because there is so much nostalgia for me.   And overall, there were parts I really laughed at.   This show is loosely based on creator Adam Goldberg’s real family which includes mom Beverly (Wendi McLendon Covey), dad Murray (Jeff Garlin), pops (George Segal), sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia), brother Barry (Troy Gentile), and himself (Sean Gamrbione.)   There is a lot of yelling, a lot of name calling, and some nice warm moments.  Was it a bit goofy and silly, yep.  Were some of the characters a bit annoying, sure.   But it was an enjoyable 30 minutes.   I don’t think I’ll make a point of seeing it each week, but if it’s on, I’ll watch.

DVRs: 2

Trophy Wife

I love Malin Akerman.  All the props to her about this show were dead on because she is absolutely charming and delightful.  Akerman stars as Kate who meets Pete (Bradley Whitford) after breaking his nose at a karaoke bar with her BFF Meg (Natalie Morales.)  In the hospital she meets his ex-wife Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) and their kids Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Scott Lee.)  But then it gets better, she then meets ex-wife #2, Jackie (Michaela Watkins) and their son Bert (Albert Tsai.)  Instead of getting scared off, she marries him!  Hilarity ensues.

This could be one of the best ensembles on TV.  Between Akerman, Whitford, Watkins, and Harden, it’s hard to go wrong.  Luckily, they all work very well together.   Sometimes you throw a bunch of big names together and it doesn’t work at all.  But that’s not the case here.  You can see how Pete would have fallen for each one of these women but how he would have broken up with Diane and Jackie.  And as a result, you can see how he would have also remained friends with them.

The thing I like most about this show is the fact that this is not too far away from the norm for many people.  Many couples have to deal with ex spouses and kids from previous relationships.  So how does the new couple deal with all of that?   I have so many friends in that some boat and believe me, there are TONS of funny stories that come out.  So I have no doubt this show will work and will probably be of my favorites of the season.

DVRs: 4

The Michael J Fox Show

I was so looking forward to seeing MJF back on TV in a starring role and on a sitcom.  I couldn’t wait to see it because the early previews weren’t bad.  Plus, I have loved MJF since his Alex P. Keaton days on Family Ties.  How could I not love this show?  It pains me to say it, but I didn’t like this show at all.  The cast didn’t seem to work very well off of each other (except for Fox and Wendell Pierce.)  I love Fox and I love Betsy Brandt but I didn’t buy them as husband and wife at all.  Katie Finneran as Aunt Leigh was over the top, as usual.  I have yet to like that woman in anything yet.  And the kids were blah.  Although I did warm up to Eve (Juliette Goglia) towards the end of the pilot.  And don’t get me started on the crying, puking producer Kay (Ana Nogueria)…ugh, she’s awful.

Fox stars as Mike Henry, a former local NYC news anchor who is now a stay at home dad who is annoying the hell out of his family and in turn, they are bugging him.   He has a “chance” meeting with his old Boss Harris (Pierce) who begs him to come back.  Henry eventually decides to go back to work and both he and the family are thrilled.

My biggest worry going into the show was that the Parkinson jokes would be a little too much.  I was wrong.  The biggest problem with the show is the writing and the casting.  Not that the actors are bad….let me make that clear….they aren’t.   But, they don’t work well together.  All their scenes feel forced and unnatural like they are trying too hard to be this quirky family.  I doesn’t work.  I’ll watch a few more to make sure it wasn’t just a bad pilot, but I don’t see myself making it through the mid-season break with this show.

DVRs: 1

The Crazy Ones

Here’s another one I had high hopes for because of the cast and here’s another show I didn’t like at all.   Again, my worry was Robin Williams being too much.   Not the problem (at least not in the pilot.)  It’s the material and the fact that this cast is a bit stiff.  Although James Wolk and Williams played very well off one another.  I love Wolk and Hamish Linklater but this show doesn’t work for them.   Then we have Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I’ve heard before that SMG is a product of her material….if the material is good, she’s fine.  If it’s bad, she’s not.  She can’t transcend bad writing because she isn’t very strong.  I always thought that was a bit harsh because she was so good on Buffy.  But when Kelly Clarkson (who isn’t an actress at all) can put you to shame in a scene, it does make me raise a few eye brows.  SMG didn’t come across well in this pilot at all.  It was almost as if she shrunk back into landscape being around the powerhouse of Williams instead of trying to command the scene and hold her own.  The material wasn’t very funny and I was pretty bored halfway through the pilot.  I don’t know if I can follow this ad agency and their “clients of the week” each week because I’m not sure I care and I think the entire cast deserves better.

DVRs: 1

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