Comedy TV Series: Fall 2011
This hub is part of a sequence about upcoming series in the Fall of 2011. These series have been announced for pickup, after shooting pilot episodes, by the major networks in Spring or Summer 2011. This hub is about the comedy series that will premiere in the coming Fall. Here, you can read what the series are about, see a preview, and read my preliminary verdict.
Other Hubs in this sequence
‘Up All Night’ is a new NBC comedy series about parenthood and has had the working title ‘Alpha Mom’. The show stars Christina Applegate as a workaholic who never thought she’d even have kids and Will Arnett as a stay-at-home dad to be. They are just having their first kid, and struggle with their loss of freedom. The series is written and co-produced by Emily Spivey, who is also a co-writer of the critically acclaimed ‘Parks and Recreation’. The series premiere will air on Wednesday September 14th at 10/9c on NBC.
In the preview, we see the newborn’s parents having problems with everyday responsibilities and chores that come with a baby. This is a source of many funny situations, but hopefully there’ll be extra layers added throughout the season, or else it’ll get boring. It seems that ‘Up All Night’ can be particularly recommended to young couples (parents to be) and parents, who can reminisce about the birth of their own children. Either way, it’s on my personal to-watch list for the fall season.
Right after the series premiere of ‘Up All Night’, romantic comedy series ‘Free Agents’ will premiere (NBC, September 14th, 10:30/9:30c). This is a one-time combination; as of September 21 it will assume its regular timeslot at 8:30/7:30c. ‘Free Agents’ is a remake of the British series of the same name by Chris Niel, who also serves as co-creator and co-producer of the U.S. version. Alex (Hank Azaria) is recently divorced and Helen (Kathryn Hahn) has just buried her fiance. They both work as public relations executives and, after a one night stand, they discover they’re attracted to each other.
Stephen Mangan, who portrays Alex in the original British version, starred recently in the Matt LeBlanc comedy ‘Episodes’ about a British writers couple who come to the U.S. for a remake of their successful comedy series, with a disastrous outcome. He ought to have warned the network’s executives, because the preview of the remake doesn’t look very convincing to me. But then again, the bits I’ve seen of the original version aren’t that funny either.
Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel, sister of Emily Deschanel from ‘Bones’) is not your average girl. She is geeky, heartbroken and awkward in social situations. Jess moves in with three guys after being dumped by her boyfriend. The guys are played by Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Damon Wayans, Jr.; the latter’s character being replaced by a new character played by Lamore Morris in the second episode due to the renewal of ABC’s ‘Happy Endings’. She watches and weeps to ‘Dirty Dancing’ six or seven times a day, so her new roommates need to help her get her life back together, alongside with her model friend Cece (Hannah Simone).
‘New Girl’ (formerly known by the more controversial ‘Chicks and Dicks’) is created by Liz Meriwether (‘No Strings Attached’). The series premiere will be on September 20th on FOX, where it will air on Tuesdays at 9/8c. The pilot was nominated for ‘Most Exciting New Series’ at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, which is promising. With her indie appearance, Zooey Deschanel is perfect for the role of Jessica, and she makes the series hilarious. I’m amongst the many others who can’t wait to see ‘New Girl’.
I Hate My Teenage Daughter
Despite the controversial title ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’, FOX delivers a traditional family sitcom about two single mothers and their daughters. Mothers Annie (Jamie Pressly) and Nikki (Katie Finneran) have been friends since forever, and have both had a miserable time growing up. Wanting to give their daughters the youth they never had, they’ve created two spoilt, mean girls, just like the ones that bullied them all those years ago.
Written by Ellen Kreamer and Sherry Bilsing-Graham (writers for ‘The New Adventures Of Old Christine’ and ‘Friends’, respectively), it looks like nothing can be wrong about this show. Or at least, on paper it looks that way. What we’ve seen so far from ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’ is just horrible. The concept by itself isn’t that bad, but it is all just way over the top. The show will broadcast on Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c on FOX, premiering on November 23rd.
2 Broke Girls
One of the two shows co-created and co-produced by comedienne Whitney Cummings (alongside with ‘Whitney’) is ‘2 Broke Girls’. It will premiere on September 19th, at 9:30/8:30c on CBS, following Ashton Kutcher’s debut on ‘Two And A Half Men’, and assume it’s regular timeslot on September 26th, on Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, following ‘How I Met Your Mother’.
Max (Kat Dennings) originates from a working-class family and works as a waitress in a Brooklyn diner. Her new colleague is the Paris Hilton-like Caroline (Beth Behrs), whose father lost all of his money. The two become roommates and friends, and they dream of opening their own cupcake shop, even though they barely make enough money to make ends meet every month.
The show is reasonably funny, but not great. As yet. It might be worth your while to watch the first few episodes to find out which way this one will go.
How to be a Gentleman
‘How To Be A Gentleman’ is about Andrew (David Hornsby), an uptight columnist who writes about gentlemanly behavior. His trainer at the gym is his former high school bully Bert (Kevin Dillon, ‘Entourage’). The series is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Thomas Nelson and written by Hornsby.
Although having Kevin Dillon and Mary Lynn Rasjkub (Chloe O’Brian from ‘24’) as Andrew’s sister, the only funny parts are the semi-random remarks that prove to be funny sometimes. The plot itself, though, doesn’t really deliver the laughs. The timeslot for ‘How To Be A Gentleman’ is Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS, after ‘The Big Bang Theory’. The series premiere will air on September 29th.
Whitney (Whitney Cummings) is a little different. Because both her parents divorced three times, she has arranged with her boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia), with whom she’s lived together for 5 years now, that they’ll never get married. Fearing ‘relationship boredom’ and consequently a breakup, she does everything she can to keep the fire in their relationship.
Watching the preview, this appears to be the better Whitney Cummings series (the other one being ‘2 Broke Girls’). Whitney has something weird and controversial about her that just makes her really funny (similar to the upcoming ‘New Girl’ and the British ‘Miranda’). The series premieres on September 22 on NBC, in the 9:30/8:30c Thursday night timeslot.
What upcoming comedy listed above do you like best?
Do's and Don'ts
After this waterfall of information, synopsises, previews and verdicts you might need a quick recap. So here are the do's and don'ts for Fall 2011 comedies:
- Up All Night (September 14th, 10/9c, NBC)
- New Girl (September 20th, 9/8c, FOX)
- Whitney (September 22nd, 9:30/8:30c, NBC)