Fox has an impressively strong Tuesday lineup this fall, with two returning sitcoms and two new ones. So far, I’m very much enjoying all of them. Unlike CBS, Fox seems to recognize that it’s 2012, so they’ve moved away from the multi-camera, laugh track set-up, making way for shows that I would say are funnier and more relevant.
This show is crazy underrated. The premise is maybe a bit kooky – a lower class guy named Jimmy Chance who lives with his parents (played by the amazing Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt) knocks up a serial killer who gives birth in jail before being sent to the electric chair. Jimmy is left to raise the baby, Hope. The whole concept could have easily come across as offensive, since it’s basically about a struggling, undereducated family doing the best they can. Fortunately the whole thing is so funny, and the Chance family so obviously a loving, well-meaning unit, that it just makes for good television. OK, sometimes it goes a bit off the rails with Jimmy’s great-grandmother, Maw Maw, who suffers from dementia and is played by Cloris Leachman, but on the other more important hand, Cloris Leachman running around in a bra being racist is pretty hilarious.
The other thing that makes the show notable is that it’s done a great job of creating a whole world, filled with recurring characters like Jimmy’s coworkers at the grocery store where he works and random weirdos in the neighbourhood, like Dancing Dan. I feel like I don’t know many people who watch this show as it enters it’s third season, but you should be, because there isn’t a lot of television that’s so heartwarming and actually funny.
Ben and Kate
I like this show – I do! But I’m also kind of a little bored of it at the same time? I think the problem is that critics seem to be obsessed with it and they’re all calling it the best new comedy of the year and junk, and so far I just think it’s OK. Basically it’s about Kate, who has her life together mostly and has a kid, but then her irresponsible brother, Ben moves in with her. And hilarious shenanigans ensue! Oh and also Ben has a friend who has always had a crush on Kate, and Kate works with a girl played by Judy Punch who is hilarious and the best part of the show.
I want to reiterate that I do like this show! I just don’t love it, yet. But I feel like I could, given time. And more Judy Punch. Her character’s name is BJ, btw. Just putting that out there. Even without her, each episode has had a good amount of funny moments. Like when Ben ugly cried, that was good. So far it all just feels kind of generic and somewhat unmemorable, though. But I’m still looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do next.
When this started last year, I mean, I watched every episode, obviously, but I kind of wrote it off as stupid and I was just watching it because it was on (when you watch as much TV as I do, this is a valid reason to watch a show). But something happened halfway through last season where it went beyond Zooey Deschanel’s whole adorkable persona and became a show about four totally different personalities coming together and making their quirky lives work together. AW. Also, it got pretty legitimately funny. Like, I laugh out loud when I watch it by myself. I think what makes it good is that it’s not afraid to be totally weird. I like that Schmidt is anal about things like cleanliness and cooking but also is forced to contribute to a douchebag jar, and Nick is literally just a cranky old man who hates young people things, but also becomes obsessed with random things and people on the regular.
And yes, obviously Nick and Jess are going to get together eventually, but the show is pretty good at building tension between them without hitting us over the head with it constantly. It’s addressed, but not in a totally annoying obnoxious way, just in a way where it’s clear they are just not at that place yet but they will be eventually! Yes. This show is a good show.
The Mindy Project
This isn’t super amazing great yet, but I think it’s going to be. I don’t know what it is, but I just really like Mindy Kaling and I like watching her do things, whatever those things might be. I do think the show is best when it focuses on the work comedy aspects of the gynecologist office where she works, but even when it’s all, blah blah, rom com, dating is hard, etc., I totally enjoy it. It’s weird to watch a show like this, or Girls, because there is a woman who is the lead, who is obviously not fat in real life, but is TV fat. That maybe sounds terrible, but you know what I mean. I could not fit my hand around Mindy Kaling’s upper arm, you know? I hate that I notice that, but I DO notice that, and then I’m glad that I’m seeing it on my television.
I think what’s really going to make this show great is the new nurse, played by Ike Barinholtz. He’s spent time in prison, and is kind of a wild card, but he also means well. AW! And then also there’s the antagonistic doctor Mindy works with, played by Chris Messina who Mindy has fun banter with and also, I freaking love Chris Messina. I almost even liked him in The Newsroom, and we all know how I feel about The Newsroom. The show is still kind of all over the place, but there have only been a few episodes, and I have faith that when it gets its bearings, it’s going to be delightful.
So, Fox Tuesdays – very entertaining and a lot of potential! They’re like the new NBC Thursdays. Which I’ll probably address next week.