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October 4, 2015

'The New Adventures of Old Christine' - 'A Family Unfair' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 11th 2010 3:15AM
Julia Louis-Dreyfus(S05E14) Christine went into full crazy mode this week, after virtually the entire extended family showed up for New Christine's ultrasound. There was a lot of fun to be had with everyone trying to explain to the doctor, guest star Tim Meadows, how they were all connected to one another, and it made me realize that sitcoms -- or at least this one -- are more like soap operas than we may realize.

The marriages and relationships and romantic entanglements of this particular cast go beyond the unusual and into the realm of disturbing. And yet, it all seemed to progress so naturally over the last four-and-a-half seasons. That must be why it's so easy for soap fans to accept the crazy things that happen on their shows. And their crazy characters can't be nearly as crazy as Old Christine.

While it would be potentially funny for Christine to get pregnant and go through the experiences of pregnancy and infancy with her, I think it was the right move for her and Richard to realize they're too old to be having babies at this point. As they brilliantly pointed out, they don't know where Ritchie is half the time anyway. That's something we've talked about when watching the show; wondering where Ritchie is at during many of the scenes.

Unfortunately for Richard, when realizing with Old Christine that he was more than through having babies, he seemed to forget that New Christine was currently pregnant with his child. That revelation seemed to be the single point of the whole episode, as everything else was just throwaway gags ... or throwaway flammable bassinets, as the case may be. New Christine still gets great lines to remind us of how dim-witted she is in some respects. This week it was asking if the bassinet was a doll bed.

The subsequent tug-of-war over it between the Christines was also pretty funny, with Old Christine saying she wanted to give it up, but that New Christine would have to knock her out and pry it from her cold, dead fingers to get it. It's the caliber of talent on this show that can sell even the goofiest of exchanges like this. The banter back and forth was played so perfectly, as was the end result.

It's always a comfortable place to be at in the life of a sitcom when the characters and their relationships are so well established that you can wring humor out of the smallest things. Or in this case, the biggest, when Christine pulled out a bra thinking it was one of hers from her pregnancy with Ritchie.

I'm not sure why Barb's bra would be there, but that simple statement set up a string of moments between Barb and Richard and Matthew that wouldn't have worked if we weren't already "friends" with all of these characters. It's a sign of well-developed characters and writers who aren't just phoning in generic sitcom crap week after week. For all its unspectacular ratings and total lack of buzz, 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' is a far better put together show than many other sitcoms that share its level of notoriety.

[For clips of The New Adventures of Old Christine, make a date with our friends at SlashControl.]

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I thought this episode was very, very funny as well, and I liked how they acknowledged how one character was connected with another... I'd begun to think they had conveniently dropped the fact that Richard and Barb were married (as they tend to do with certain plotlines, it almost seems). I would still like for them to tie up certain loose ends: what Barb's immigration status really is, as well as the status of her relationship with Dave the immigration officer; whether Matthew and Richard are still living together; what New Christine and Richard's relationship is at this point; and where on earth is little Ritchie most of the time?! That kid used to shine with his hilarious comic timing, and now he's practically gone... sigh!

One thing that slightly annoyed me about this episode was the fact that they'd broached the storyline before, last season when Old Christine asked Richard to impregnate her. New Christine was really angry then, so it initially struck me as a complete turnaround that she would assent to it this time. But upon reflection, I realized that it is different now: then, New Christine and Richard were engaged... now, they're just - as NC herself admitted - going through a rocky uncertain patch. Still, I would've liked for them to have at least mentioned that NC flipped out when OC asked Richard last year. Oh well... ;)

All in all, a really enjoyable episode! Now if we could get Ritchie and the Meanie Moms more screen time, I'd be really happy!

February 14 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tim Meadows is awesome.

February 11 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Bungle

If Christine got that box out of her garage it would make sense that the bra was in there. Didn't Barb and Matthew have sex in the garage once?

February 11 2010 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show and last night's episode was no exception - while at times I thought that it was a little ridiculous and extreme, they always find a way to justify it through the characters.

Julia Louis Dreyfus continues to shine in this role and the ensemble is one of the best on a sitcom today. It's a shame the show doesn't get more recognition, even though this episode has the highest ratings of the season so far!

February 11 2010 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As much as I enjoyed last night's episode especially the scenes in the OB/GYN's office, I had to wonder if I'd missed an episode. What happened to Old Christine's relationship with Max? There was no mention of him at all. The last ep I watched was the reunion one with Max and Mr. Harris. That ep made it look like Christine and Max were starting to have real feelings for each other. Did I miss something?

February 11 2010 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreed. Underappreciated show. The big Barb bra gag started it all off well. And yes what the heck was it doing there? As said it all goes so fast that I didn't question that during show. Guess half thought well she'd done Matthew anyway so maybe goes that far back, or they're still at it in secret? They do seem to buddy up a bit.
Refreshing writing. Glad CBS sticks by it. Sort of the speed & tone of Community for me over Parks that I just think tries too hard for my taste.

February 11 2010 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is very very funny..but it doesn't seem to get any recognition. Great recap! You're so right..as outlandish as the storylines can be..it all seems to work. We have just accepted that Old Christine is nuts and we go along for the crazy ride!

February 11 2010 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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