Monday, December 14, 2009

Sitcom Roundup '09 Part I

     Many great sitcoms finished their fall run this week.  I had nine sitcoms that I wanted to cover, so I'm breaking them into two parts.  First is ABC and NBC.  Expect the other one, including FX shows, sometime after CBS's Monday finishes tomorrow.  Here we go.

Modern Family (ABC) ~ Hands down my favorite new sitcom this year.  With a fantastic, large cast, this is the dysfunctional family of modern America.  The Christmas episode was fantastic.  Slowly, it is being revealed that Jay (Ed O'Neill, Married... With Children) really is a great dad, and he is proving it again while helping raise Manny (Rico Rodriguez).  Jay not only got into the spirit of Manny's Columbian traditions, he really made the kid's Christmas.  As much as I love the gays, Claire (Julie Bowen, Boston Legal) and Phil (Ty Burrell, Back to You) took the cake this week as they canceled Christmas when they thought their kids were lying.  Tough parenting done right.  Though Phil, of course, overdid it.  If you are not watching this show, start immediately.

Cougar Town (ABC) ~ It started off a little slow, but this sitcom from Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) has really become something.  Led by Jules (Courteney Cox, Friends), the show revolves around her friends and family in Florida.  This week, Andy (Ian Gomez, Felicity) proved his parenting skills to his wife, Ellie (Christa Miller, The Drew Carey Show) with less than hoped for, but hilarious, results.  Also, things seemed to be heating up between Grayson (Josh Hopkins, Private Practice) and Jules, but with the introduction of a new guy this week, he could face at least one more obstacle before the inevitably get together.  I also have to give props to Dan Byrd (Aliens in America) who plays Jules's son, Travis, and mostly takes his mother's insanity in stride.  With this series really starting to find its path, ABC has the makings of a comedy night!

Parks & Recreation (NBC) ~ The Amy Poehler-led series had a rocky first season, but has found its groove this year, especially with the expanded rolls of Donna (Retta) and Jerry (Jim O'Heir), who really fill out the department.  Unfortunately, it looks like Leslie (Poehler) has lost her first stable relationship, as Dave (Louis C.K.) told her he was going to San Diego for at least a year.  Let's hope she takes him up on his offer to go visit.  Also, I love that Andy (Chris Pratt of Everwood) is finally getting over Ann (Rashida Jones, The Office) and falling for intern April (Aubrey Plaza).  The two will make a great couple.  The plot this week finally made Ron (Nick Offerman) and Tom (who may be the funniest character on television, played by Aziz Ansari, formerly of Scrubs) actually appreciate Leslie, so maybe her life will improve.  A little.  Aw, who am I kidding?

The Office (NBC) ~ This show has done some very wrong things in the past, but the week before the finale hit a new low when Michael (Steve Carell, 40 Year Old Virgin) let down a group of high school seniors who thought he was paying for their college.  Not that he was much better this week, trying to force Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) out of her Santa role.  I am quite disturbed by Dwight's (Rainn Wilson) new mission in life to take Jim (John Krasinski) down.  It had appeared that they might actually be friends after Angela (Angela Kinsey) dumped Dwight.  Speaking of guys dumped by Angela, Andy (Ed Helms, The Daily Show) was so sweet with his failed gifts to Erin (Ellie Kemper), though he really made up for it at the end.  Oh, well.  More disturbing was the news that Dunder-Mifflin has been sold, and the New York execs are being fired.  Not the merriest Christmas they could have imagined, but I think this particular office will be all right.

30 Rock (NBC) ~ How many Emmys did this show have to win before people started tuning in?  As someone who has been watching from the beginning, I admit, the show did improve since then, but not much.  It has always been funny.  This week Liz (Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live) tried to go head to head with Jack (Alec Baldwin) for giving the best Christmas gift.  Guess who won?  Thought Liz sure gave a good one.  More funny was the writers, including  Frank (Judah Friendlander), who convinced Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) that they were a religion that didn't participate in Secret Santa.  What their religion did do was hilarious, but cause poor uber-religious Ken to stop believing in God.  Uh, oh!  Was it merely coincidence that both 30 Rock and The Office's final episodes were called "Secret Santa"?  Hmm.

Click here to go to Part II (CBS & FX)

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