Fall Premieres: Returning Comedies
By: Thomas Keating ’13, Pulse Entertainment Editor
Fall means coming back to school, but it also marks the end of summer reruns on TV. Here are some of the most anticipated fall premiers in the comedy genre.
“Always Sunny In Philadelphia”: B+
“Always Sunny” may have entered its seventh season, but it hasn’t matured a bit (and that’s not a bad thing).
The show centers on a group of five bar owners whose reckless irresponsibility is always getting them into trouble.
The episode begins with Dee, the self-centered bartender, calling the humane society to adopt a pit bull. She explains to Charlie, the janitor, that she is going to use the pit bull to attack bar customers, keeping with the dark humor of “Always Sunny”. The following argument between the two characters isn’t about whether it’s ethical to have an attack dog in bar, but how dogs make terrible pets.
This little scene is basically what the whole show is like. The premiere is full of scenes like this that make “Always Sunny” uniquely hilarious.
As “Glee” enters its third season, it’s getting stale
“Glee” is a musical comedy about a high school show choir and its members. The show also follows a few other teachers around the school, notably Sue Sylvester, the hilarious and politically incorrect cheerleading coach.
In the first fifteen minutes of the premiere, it was nonstop laughs. Random, off-color jokes are everywhere, and it hits spot-on, showcasing the show’s strong points.
Unfortunately, after the first third of the episode, things go downhill quickly. The main plot of the episode is about how the glee club wants to gain more members, and the many misguided attempts to attain this goal. An extremely cringe worthy impromptu performance of “We Got the Beat” in the school cafeteria made we want to turn off the TV right away.
By the end, after four awkwardly placed musical numbers, a poorly done dramatic scene and about 25 solid laugh-free minutes, I had lost all interest. In the beginning, the show shines, but doesn’t shine for long.
Beginning the third season, “Community” is funnier than ever, if a bit dumber.
“Community” features an ensemble cast, with a group of somewhat dysfunctional characters, all attending a substandard community college.
A standard episode always features a main plot, but the random side plots are really what make the show funny. The premiere is no exception.
The plot centers around one of the students getting kicked out of his Biology class (and study group as a result) and trying to get back in. The side plot follows another student searching for a new favorite TV show to replace his current favorite, “Cougartown”. Pop culture references are common in “Community”, and are usually hilarious, as seen here. The show stays fresh and current with references like these.
“Community” is often described as a stupid show for smart people. The show’s use of references and clever jokes keeps the show engaging, while never confusing.
I would highly recommend this show, for anyone who wants something funny, but never entirely stupid.
“Two and a Half Men”: B-
With the loss of my personal hero, Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men” just isn’t the same.
“Two and a Half Men,” formerly starring Charlie Sheen (his character is also named Charlie), is about Alan, a divorced and broke man who moves into Charlie’s beach house along with his son, Jake. Charlie, like Sheen in real life, is an awful role model.
The premiere begins with Charlie’s funeral, as Sheen’s recent scandal got him fired and his character killed off. Ashton Kutcher soon enters the episode as a heartbroken internet billionaire who buys Charlie’s former house and befriends Alan.
“Two and a Half Men” has been growing stale for years, but this season may finally be the last. Without Sheen, the show’s bad writing becomes obvious, comprising mostly of bad one-liners. Although some jokes hit, a whole lot more miss.
“The Office”: B
Although Michael Scott, one of the main characters, is gone, “The Office” is still worth a watch.
“The Office” is an American adaptation of a British TV series with the same name. Its plot usually parodies office politics, or highlight the incompetence or oddities of the employees at a fictional company, Dunder-Mifflin. The series is done in a documentary/reality show format, but is scripted.
The episode begins with a person planking, and then shows various employees planking in odd places (for a description of planking see here). The planking gag runs throughout the episode, but so much as to feel forced or boring.
The main storyline involves the new CEO of Dunder-Mifflin accidentally leaving a list of employees on a counter top, and mysteriously placing them into different columns. Naturally, the employees freak out and completely stop working to address this. Consistent with pretty much every episode of “The Office,” no real work ever gets done.
Although lacking any truly laugh out loud moments, the season premiere of “The Office” has enough clever moments to keep the episode interesting and entertaining.
“Modern Family”: A-
Coming off several Emmy wins, Modern Family is a must-see, although it can be confusing to new viewers.
“Modern Family” is a “The Office”-style mockumentary about a rather complex extended family. Included are a standard family of five, their grandfather with a Columbian wife and stepchild, and two gay fathers of an adopted child.
The show’s humor often revolves around how no one can get along in the family, which is a common theme in the premiere. The family goes to a dude ranch out west, and finds that none of them are quite suited to it.
Highlights include a tour guide who hits on the grandfather’s wife and one of the gay dads trying to be manlier for his soon-to-be adopted son, mainly by learning to use a gun or blowing things up.
The show has a certain charm to it, and, while not the funniest show, it’s still one of the better shows I’ve seen in a while.
Be on the look out for a review of drama premieres coming next week. Also, vote for your favorite returning comedy in our poll.
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