everybody loves raymond
Evelyn Harper from Two and a Half Men is on the list, too. She's such a bad mom that it's sometimes easy to forget that she's even Charlie and Alan's mother. She seems more like some older, sexy aunt or something.
Now they're both working on new sitcom projects and hoping for the best. Scrubs' Neil Flynn has joined Patricia Heaton in The Middles, an ABC sitcom pilot about a middle-class family living in middle America struggling in these tough economic times. They have three kids, too, just like the set up in Everybody Loves Raymond. Meanwhile, Kelsey Grammer's also doing comedy for ABC. The network has ordered a Grammer pilot about a corporate big shot who tries to reconnect with his estranged family.
They've become the great modern philosopher like Wilson, the evolving thinker like Bill Dauterive, the bearer of bad news like Newman, and even the court jester -- as long as you don't count one of these guys.
Not only would we not want some of them living next door to us, we wouldn't want them living. Period. These are the annoying next-door neighbors who should have been run out by the Neighborhood Homeowners' Association with torches and pitchforks.
Last week another terrific cable drama, The Shield, took its final bow in a series finale that still has fans talking. The talk is mostly about the last three minutes, which featured Vic Mackey's silent contemplation of the life he now leads after losing his friends, family and, some say, his freedom. Right before the screen went dark we saw Vic stride out of the cubicle that is now his home -- unsure of what his fate would be from now on.
Some fans of the series were unhappy with this ending, saying that there was no closure to the life that Vic had led over the last seven seasons. Some hearken the ending to the now-famous series finale of The Sopranos, which featured several seconds of nothingness before the credits rolled. This concept of not giving finality to a series finale is a new one for viewers to grasp onto. But, when you look at it further, it makes complete sense. Why should the lives of our favorite characters come to a complete ending when our own lives don't?
The series, titled The Middle, centers on a family in the Midwest, and Heaton will play the mom. I know, that's a really generic description. I might as well say Heaton will play a human being in a comedy that will feature humor and talking.
Ricki Lake was originally cast in the role when the show was first developed a couple of years ago, but things changed later when the network wanted Heaton in the lead role and held the show until a deal with Heaton was finalized. That means the show has been on hold since even before Heaton starred in the short-lived FOX comedy Back To You with Kelsey Grammer. A lot of people thought that show would come back for a second season since it got OK reviews and had two big names attached. But FOX canceled it and now Heaton has a new job.
Now the Brad Garrett-Joely Fisher sitcom Til Death will be off the air for two weeks, effective immediately. In that time slot, instead, we'll be seeing more House, albeit repeats. Still, you watch, those reruns will do markedly better than the sitcoms did.
Til Death, to be frank, has regressed this year. I defended the renewal of the show when Fox gave it a third season, based on the episodes I watched last spring. But the comedy has really strained since its season premiere in September. There's no other way to put it -- Death is in the death throes and should be put out of its misery. This two week hiatus should be the end of the series.
Sam Briggs is a schlemiel. Everything that can go wrong in his life, every dumb thing a guy can do while trying to do the right thing, happens to Sam.
The preview of Worst Week (premiering Monday at 9:30 PM ET on CBS) has not changed dramatically from this ready-to-go pilot. The premise is simply this: can a good guy like Sam overcome all the stupid things he does and find happiness with the girl he loves and her family that loathes him?
For the pilot, Worst Week works really well as broad farce. The situation of this situation comedy goes from bad to worse to worse still. It's funny. It's over the top. It's very, very outrageous. Whether or not they can sustain this level of silliness and maintain some semblance of believability week in and week out is the big question for Worst Week.
However, TBS has a throwback family comedy, one in The Cosby Show mode, and they're sticking with it. TBS's The Bill Engvall Show has just been given a third season renewal. The sitcom will be back in the summer 2009 with ten new episodes.
I've watched The Bill Engvall Show and enjoyed it. It's meant to evoke Cosby, but I also found a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement in it as well, and that's a good thing. Engvall's a funny guy, and he's greatly aided in the show by sitcom vet Nancy Travis as his smart, attractive spouse.
Monk's sudden displeasure with his home is rooted in his discomfort in his life now that Dr. Kroger is gone. The ultimate egotist, in that Monk cares most for himself, Adrian is desperate to throw himself into work to avoid the irritating piano-playing coming from the little girl across the street and disturbing the sanctuary of his home. Kudos to the new therapist, Dr. Bell, for connecting the dots and quickly sizing up why Monk finds the music so displeasing.
Another week, another list issue of Entertainment Weekly.
I'm not sure what to make of all of these lists. We do them here too, but it seems to me the more giant lists that are done the more meaningless they become. This EW issue is "The New Classics," the 1000 best TV shows, movies, books, and music of the past 25 years. Since this is a television blog, I won't get into their book, movie, and music picks (but if I can just say as a side note, they pick both Clueless and The Naked Gun before L.A. Confidential?!), but let's talk about their TV choices.
And argue about those choices in the comments, of course.
When Kelsey phoned, Les took the call, and he even told Grammer that he'd "think about it," that is, moving Back to You to CBS. However, when Kelsey followed up with a call to Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment prez, she dismissed it. There really was no room on the CBS schedule for another sitcom; even Rules of Engagement (which CBS has a vested interest in bringing back) won't be broadcast till mid-season next year. There's no mention of Kelsey calling ABC or NBC; perhaps they didn't take his call?
Niles & Frasier Crane, Frasier
Two brothers, both psychiatrists, both opera buffs, both wine connoisseurs, both heterosexual despite evidence to the contrary. The Crane brothers were like two peas in a very funny pod, sparking each other in comedy, competitive and supportive at the same time. Making their brotherly friendship even funnier was the fact that their Dad, Martin, who was nothing like either one of them. What's even funnier is the fact that when Frasier was originally spun-off from Cheers, the writers didn't include the character of Niles. It was only after seeing an 8x10 of David Hyde Pierce, and how much he looked like Kelsey Grammer's brother, that they put him in the pilot. Frasier would not have been nearly the hit comedy it was without the brother angle.
Bateman, who starred in Arrested Development -- the Emmy-award winning comedy that the network dumped unceremoniously because of low ratings -- was behind the camera for The Inn pilot. The show, which is about the haves and have-nots in a fancy, five-star New York City hotel, has a promising cast of funny folks including Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), Jerry O'Connell (who looks like Jason's twin), and the really hilarious Jesse Tyler Ferguson (remember him on The Class -- he was so funny!).
Whew, after all that, here, in alphabetical order, are the ten I love -- within my own parameters! Feel free to comment with your choices, if your favorite isn't on my list.
TNT has signed Ray Romano for a new one-hour comedy/drama pilot, Men of a Certain Age. After the success of Everybody Loves Raymond for CBS -- 1996 -2005 -- Ray Romano left television sounding very much like a guy who wasn't interested in another show. After all, he could have kept Everybody Loves Raymond going for years. It was an Emmy-award winning, Nielsen champ. The show is doing great in syndication.