Two free-spirited and aging models with an unlikely friendship realize through various humiliating experiences that modeling has a shelf-life. Under-qualified for nearly every other career,... See full summary »
An MTV reality series where people set up their friends on "disaster" blind dates. The victim shows up to their date with an undercover actor/actress who will do their best to turn off/... See full summary »
Huge egos. Backbiting assistants. Screaming deadlines. Claudia "Claude" Casey has moved up in the secretarial world of television news, from permanent floater to the anchor's desk. It's a ... See full summary »
Eddie Stark (Brad Garrett) had a good thing going. After being married for 25 years, he and his wife Joy (Joely Fisher, "Ellen") have been lulled into a complacent lifestyle of low expectations and general acceptance of all of each other's annoying habits. That is, until obnoxiously chipper newly married couple (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Foster) move in next door. Soon Joy is wondering why Eddie doesn't behave like that for her anymore and Eddie is forced to give the new guy marriage advice.
Watching " 'Til Death" I had the kind of thought that my usually optimism TV watching mind never lets me have: maybe there just isn't anything else for a sitcom to say about marriage. In "Death" a newly married couple experiments with pornography, wives use sex to get new patio furniture and a husband refuses to put his name on a girly birthday gift his wife bought. And so on. In typical sitcom fashion the women are hot and domineering and the men are either wimps or slobs. "Til Death" is not ashamed at all of being a studio audience sitcom. I honestly feel like I'm watching a remake of something I've seen years ago, just re-cast with Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher in the leads.
With "Death", Fox is loudly touting the return to TV of Brad Garrett. And with good reason, the multi Emmy-award winning actor was a breakout star on "Everybody Loves Raymond". In lull episodes Garrett's Robert could always be counted on to turn a one-liner into a huge laugh. And I'd watch Joely Fisher read the phone book. Garrett and Fisher have the veteran acting chops to balance out the amateur silliness of Thomas & Foster.
As you can imagine the show is nothing to get excited about. Naming the newlyweds the Woodcocks is only the beginning of many odd, lame sex jokes. The gags are broad and silly, nor are they tethered to anything more than a sitcom reality shaped by decades of cliché. Fox is asking Garrett to work magic with a script that is well beneath him, but the guy is such a pro he is able to get a few scattered laughs out of this material. Anybody can be funny with good material but it takes real talent to make OK material funny. It's that commitment that makes "'Till Death" better than "According to Jim", "Yes, Dear", "The King of Queens" and other bottom-of-the-barrel family and not-so-family sitcoms.
While playing a totally different character, Garrett's involvement only heightens the reality that " 'Til Death" is the kind of marriage sitcom that "Everybody Loves Raymond" was an evolution away from. Both are realistically cynical towards marriage and family, but "Death" doesn't have the depth or reason behind it. The situations are just as minuscule but on "Raymond" they always revealed a greater, nastier truth. On "Raymond" the arguments often built to an epic meltdown. Here our couple gets in a mild spat and make up happily at the end. Oh yeah, the old sitcom happy ending is back. The days of shows like "Married with Children" and "Unhappily Ever After" that looked at marriage with cliché-busting, anti-establishment acerbic pessimism are gone, reverting back to this Oprah-esquire feminized view where everybody fights but underneath it they all love each other and there isn't a problem that can't be solved in under 30 minutes of TV time. I thought we'd gotten past all this.
If you expect more from your comedy don't even slow down here. Go in with low expectations and " 'Til Death" is an empty, inoffensive, fairly watchable sitcom. This is the type of show that I would probably be forced to watch if I was over at someone else's house. But with Garrett and Fischer at the helm, this one isn't as agonizing as it could have been.
* * / 4
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this