4 items from 2016
For decades, the TV business operated under the mistaken belief that audiences wouldn't watch shows about unlikable characters. What the last 20-odd years of television has proved, however, is that viewers are just fine with unlikable characters — provided the shows understand that they're unlikable. Many of the best comedies of this period — from Seinfeld to Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm to It's Always in Philadelphia, Arrested Development to BoJack Horseman — understand from the jump that they're about fundamentally terrible individuals. Even if the audience doesn't catch on at first, the people making the shows understand and embrace the nastiness and stupidity of it all, and that only makes the comedy more effective. On the flip side, some of the lamest and most insufferable comedies of recent vintage — say, Mixology or Happyish — don't seem to recognize how irritating their main characters are, which only doubles down on other creative problems. It's bad »
- Alan Sepinwall
Sharon Horgan is not, in fact, divorced. She is happily married, with two daughters aged 12 and 7. But the 46-year-old British executive producer and creator of HBO’s new series “Divorce” — starring “Sex and the City” luminary Sarah Jessica Parker, in her highly anticipated return to TV — has made a career out of marital comedies with a brutally honest touch.
Most Americans discovered Horgan through Amazon’s “Catastrophe,” which she and Rob Delaney write and in which they star, playing a couple struggling with married life after an unplanned pregnancy. But the comedy that launched her career was the BBC’s “Pulling,” about a woman who calls off her wedding the night before the big event. So you might say that “Divorce,” which debuts Oct. 9, is the final chapter in Horgan’s trilogy of the wryly observed life cycle of a relationship.
“It’s quite nice that there’s a pattern, because »
- Debra Birnbaum
The leading man of the most unconventional, unrelentingly meta sitcom ever to air on broadcast is moving to CBS for a multi-camera show, “The Great Indoors,” which pokes fun at the pop culture punchline of the moment: those wacky millennials. McHale plays a maverick photojournalist who is brought in from the field to rescue a magazine overrun by young staffers.
Across the dial, from broadcast to cable to streaming heavyweights, the number of comedy series is rising as networks seek a counterweight to the explosive growth of original dramas during the past five years. The expansion has opened up the playing field for traditional three-camera sitcoms as well as more esoteric single-camera fare.
Art Streiber for Variety
To McHale, the significance, in creative terms, of the single-camera vs. multi-camera format has been wildly overstated at a time when the boundaries of »
- Cynthia Littleton
This exclusive Hollywood Game Night clip is safe for work, but may wanna listen with your headphones on, anyway.
That’s because the video, from Tuesday’s episode (NBC, 8/7c), features a joke that sounds so dirty, it makes the proceedings’ normally stalwart host Jane Lynch crack up upon reading it.
RelatedCancellation Jitters: 8 Shows in Danger
The hour’s guests include Kevin Smith (Comic Book Men), Dave Foley (NewsRadio), Tony Hale (Veep), Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother), Justin Long (New Girl) and Helen Hunt (Mad About You). And they all start laughing along with their host as she »
4 items from 2016
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