Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – A Few Comedic Oldies, versus a Few Comedic Newbies

This week Amber West and I get back to business and begin the 2012 Television-in-Review schedule on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, as she updates us on a few of TV’s comedic veterans and I introduce two comedic freshmen.

I’ve always loved to laugh; even as a child, I’d giggle every time I would recite the classic “Knock, Knock” jokes.  Heck, what am I saying?  We’re all friends here; these innocent rhymes still bring a smile to my face today.

As an adult, I look to laughter as my choice in television and movie viewing as much as possible; after all, laughing keeps us young, right?  The type of comedy doesn’t matter to me – I can take a joke whether it is clean, dirty, politically incorrect, and even those that I never feel the need to repeat ever again.

Because of this joy of laughter, I love to watch comedians and one of my favorite late night talk shows is E!’s Chelsea Lately hosted by Chelsea Handler.  I don’t necessarily watch for the guest interviews, but more for the round table of funny that makes up the first twenty minutes of her program.  This is where I met Whitney Cummings for the first time, and later enjoyed her jokes on Comedy Central’s Roasts of many celebrities.

So when I discovered that both Chelsea and Whitney announced new sitcoms on NBC this year, our house tuned in.

Developed, written, and starring comedian Whitney Cummings, Whitney follows the fictionalized story of her life experiences, challenges in relationships we can all relate to – like cohabitation, friendships, secrets, and boundaries.  Whitney lives with her long-term boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia, Glory Daze), and the non-traditional couple sees no reason to get married, but remains happily ever after nonetheless.

The duo is surrounded by their friends: Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, Breaking Upwards), who believes in happily ever after, Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, Franklin & Bash), a relationship cynic, Neal (Maulik Pancholy, 30 Rock) who appears to be in a perfect relationship with Lily, and Mark (Dan O’Brien, multiple television appearances including How I Met Your Mother), the self-proclaimed ultimate bachelor.

Each week, my guy and I both laugh throughout the thirty minute series.  Whitney is perfect viewing for couples to watch together.  One of our favorite episodes aired recently when Whitney walks in on Alex’s “alone” time (trying to keep the blog clean here…).

Needless to say, Alex was and is completely mortified, and Whitney begins knocking on her own apartment door to announce when she arrives home each time after the incident.  The episode continues as Whitney confesses the day’s events to her friends, further embarrassing Alex.

Which brings us to the relatable part: what’s safe to share with outsiders, even those we love the most, when working through moments that take place between lovers and partners?

Another great episode aired just a few weeks prior when Whitney attempts to prove that Alex speaks to her in a condescending tone, a tone that he denies refutably.  When his brother shows up unannounced, and the two siblings bicker back and forth – in that same condescending tone – Whitney decides to plant one of Mark’s surveillance cameras (he’s a police officer) in the apartment.

As if Whitney’s attempt to capture “the tone” isn’t funny enough, the fact that all four of the couple’s friends gather upstairs in Mark’s apartment to spy on the couple while eating popcorn and snacks, only adds to the greatness.

This sitcom might perhaps evoke more giggles in our house than our previous favorite (How I Met Your Mother), courtesy of the relatability and laugh factor.  Therefore, Whitney earns the MacTV rating – this series is a complete guilty pleasure and leaves us wanting more, men and women alike.

Okay, so if my adoration began for Whitney on Chelsea Lately, Chelsea’s new sitcom should definitely be worth a watch – right?

Based on her best seller, Are You there, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, Are You There, Chelsea? does not star Chelsea Handler as Chelsea.  Confused?  Instead, it stars Laura Prepon (That ‘70s Show) as Chelsea, while Chelsea herself plays her sister Sloane.

The series takes place in New Jersey, where Chelsea (Prepon) was recently arrested for being under the influence (more than likely a Belvedere influence).  She moves into an apartment within walking distance of her job (a bar, perfect for a girl who loves to drink vodka) with her best friend (Olivia, played by Ali Wong) and new roommate (DeeDee, played by Lauren Lapkus).

Chelsea and her sister share a typical relationship – they love each other but are nothing alike: Sloane bails Chelsea out of jail in the pilot; Chelsea stands by Sloane’s side as she delivers her first-born; Chelsea sleeps with Sloane’s ex-boyfriend, despite her sister’s plea to not go on a date with him; etc. etc. etc.

Laura as Chelsea, Chelsea as Sloane, and Baby

Which brings us to the sex factor – Chelsea Handler has always been very open about her past relationships, thus the three best sellers, and the sitcom is inspired by a lot of these stories: like when Chelsea and her boss’ sexual encounter fails because neither can succumb to being on bottom (Rick, played by Jake McDorman from Greek); or when Chelsea meets a redhead and she can’t help but wonder if the “carpet matches the drapes”; or when she is embarrassed by the fact that her sister’s ex-boyfriend actually prefers Sloane in bed over her, and she’s determined to rock his world.

Lots and lots of sex.  Oh, and there is a little person too (Todd, played by Mark Povinelli).  Anyone who is familiar with Chelsea Handler knows she loves her “nuggets” – and I personally can’t wait for Chuy Bravo (from Chelsea Lately)  to make an appearance on the show.  Everyone loves Chuy.

Laura as Chelsea, praying to "Vodka" - Belvedere no doubt...

Despite my addiction to all things Chelsea (a special shout-out to my guy for taking me to see her stand up this summer), it’s still too early to award Are You There, Chelsea? with anything other than an SSTV rating.  The water is warming up, but it’s just not there yet.

For the fans of the Chelsea Lately Round Table, the guest stars on both Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? are a plenty, including Loni Love, Jo Koy, Natasha Leggero, and Lisa Lampanelli.  I personally can’t wait for my favorites (Josh Wolf and Sarah Colonna); I just know they’ll have to see a guest spot soon!

What do you think? Do you watch Whitney or Are You There, Chelsea?  What do you like to see in your comedy – clean jokes, dirty jokes, politically incorrect jokes, etc?  Which of the sitcoms currently on TV do you think are GTV worthy?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her thoughts regarding the hit comedies Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, two popular programs requested by our fantastic WatchWed viewers!

Come back next week when Amber and I review a couple of YA (Young Adult) inspired television series: Glee and The Lying Game.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Here a Laugh, There a Laugh

This week, Amber West and I are laughing up a storm over the new comedies on TV, and we’re sharing a double dose of laughter with our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Suburgatory, New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls

Up All Night

Reagan and Chris Brinkley have it all – good looks, great jobs, exciting night lives, and most importantly, a healthy and loving relationship.  Reagan (Christina Applegate, Married with Children) produces her best friend’s Oprah-like talk show and Chris (Will Arnett, Saturday Night Live) is on his way to partner at his law firm.  Their successful careers are right on schedule, that is until their life changes forever with a simple announcement –they’re pregnant.

The Brinkleys refuse to think that things are going to change, but they are in for a big surprise.  It all starts when the birthing plan is thrown out the window the second they arrive at the hospital: Reagan’s water breaks at the studio, so she doesn’t have her overnight bag and favorite headband; their doctor is busy with another delivery and isn’t available to them; and the natural delivery just isn’t working so Reagan goes in for a c-section.  Despite all of the chaos, baby Amy arrives. 

After the baby arrives, the struggles continue as Reagan and Chris battle insomnia, attempt to clean up their language, and insist on not losing their “cool” personas, their sexy bodies, and their super sporty car.  They try, but they can’t avoid the inevitable.    

Let’s not forget about Reagan’s best friend and boss, Ava (Maya Rudolph, Bridesmaids).  While she undoubtedly loves Reagan, Ava doesn’t understand when the world doesn’t revolve around her – but not in a bad way, in a funny way.  Ava’s a mess; and Reagan holds her together, which is why when Reagan takes maternity leave, Ava is lost. 

We don’t watch many thirty minute sitcoms in our house, but couldn’t resist the urge to try Christina Applegate’s return to TV.  It didn’t hurt that we’re both huge SNL fans and love Maya Rudolph.  Preconceived notions aside, I can’t help but award Up All Night with a JFTV rating – it satisfies like a Snickers. 

Up All Night keeps the laughs coming, and anyone trying to maintain any kind of balance with children will enjoy.    

2 Broke Girls

Meet Max (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) – Manhattan nanny by day and Brooklyn diner waitress by night.  Max has control of her life, a life that’s not extravagant by any means; she has her own apartment, boyfriend, and overall seems happy.  That is until the diner hires a blonde, dressed like she owns the place, to share shifts with her. 

Meet Caroline (Beth Behrs) – a former Manhattan socialite who has lost everything courtesy of her father’s Ponzi scheme.  Caroline runs away from her life, not that she has a choice, and chooses Brooklyn as her new residence (because according to a Google search, Brooklyn is the least likely place anyone from her former circle visits). 

Caroline doesn’t need or use her Ivy-league education and her business and marketing background to wait tables, until she discovers the diner is not selling the tasty cupcakes for enough money – Max’s cupcakes.  Caroline knows that in the city, people will pay $7-$10 a cupcake, and she begins pocketing some extra cash and creates a business plan.  Now, all she needs is Max to hop on board.

Although it’s very difficult for her to do, Max invites Caroline to stay with her.  After a boyfriend mishap, the two bond and despite Max’s constant put-downs, the girls plan to start a new life together and open a cupcakery – Max is the talent and Caroline is the brains.  In just a few episodes, we’ve seen both characters grow, even if their cupcake funds haven’t (at the end of each episode, the cupcake savings tallies on the screen for the audience – the girls have a long way to go to reach $250,000).   

Let’s be honest, I only set the pilot of 2 Broke Girls to record so I could say, “I checked it out.”  After all, the sitcom is created by Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and comedian Whitney Cummings, and it fills a very popular time slot between CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.   

But, after only one episode, I returned to the series option on the DVR and updated the recording to grab all of the new episodes.   Even the man of the house has watched a few episodes with me and laughs out loud (even if he won’t admit it).   

For this, I must award 2 Broke Girls with my second JFTV rating of the day, especially since each episode centers around diner food and cupcakes.  The actresses have great chemistry and comedic timing, and the audience can’t help but root for the two to open their boutique cupcakery with Chestnut (the horse) hanging around outside.

All this talk about cupcakes has me drooling!

What do you think? Have you watched Up All Night or 2 Broke Girls?   Can you relate to any of the characters?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Jeremy Sisto’s suburban-purgatory, or Suburgatory, and the “adorakable” New Girl, Zooey Deschanel, for a few more must-see laughs. 

Need another reason to watch?  All of these shows have been picked up!

Come back next week when Amber and I curl up with TV’s new dramas based on popular fairytales: Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future. 

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Tele-Tuesday: New Laughs for Fall

It’s that time of year again!  The fall television schedule is right around the corner and, as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites. 

Similar to last week, we’re introducing more of the new television programs this fall.  Some of the series have promise, while others may flop – but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

Today, it’s time for new laughs!

*****

Free Agents – NBC

Based on the British comedy series of the same name, Free Agents stars Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Mad About You) as Alex, a recent divorce’ trying to move on with his life.  Opposite Hank, stars Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) as Helen, an office-mate also trying to move on with her life following her fiancé’s death.  What do two recently heartbroken co-workers do?  They get drunk, they sleep together, and then they try to keep their work life professional.   

At first, I thought Free Agents was about two Public Relations executives working in the fast-paced and highly competitive sports world (remember Arli$$ on HBO?).  However, this romantic/platonic friendship between co-workers might be fun to watch, not to mention Azaria and Hahn are fabulous.

Free Agents premieres Wednesday, September 14th

*****

 

2 Broke Girls – CBS

Filling a very popular time slot after Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls follows Max (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and Caroline (Beth Behrs),  two waitresses in a New York City restaurant.  The two become fast friends despite their different backgrounds: Max comes from a working-class family and Caroline’s family was rich, but she is struggling now.  Max and Caroline dream of one day opening a shop of their own, but are having difficulty making their pay checks stretch enough to even pay the bills.

Created with Michael Patrick King (writer, Sex and the City), 2 Broke Girls marks the second new comedy this season touched by comedian Whitney Cummings (she also stars in Whitney on NBC). 

2 Broke Girls premieres Monday, September 19th

*****

New Girl – Fox

New Girl stars Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, (500) Days of Summer, Yes Man) as Jess Day, a likeable young woman piecing together her life after a breakup.  Many words can be used to describe Jess: adorable, goofy, vulnerable, faithful, awkward, and offbeat.  She moves in with three single men – bartender Nick (Jake Johnson, No Strings Attached), the Casanova-like Schmidt (Max Greenfield, Veronica Mars and Ugly Betty), and athletic trainer, Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.), later replaced by Winston (Lamorne Morris) due to ABC’s renewal of Happy Endings where Damon Wayans, Jr. is a cast member. 

The men, and Jess’ best friend Cece (Hannah Simone, Beautiful People) help teach Jess and themselves all about life, love, and the ever-important self. 

New Girl premieres Tuesday, September 20th

*****

 

Up All Night – NBC

Starring an all-time funny cast, Christina Applegate (Married with Children, and many motion picture successes including The Sweetest Thing, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Hall Pass), and Saturday Night Live alumni Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph, Up All Night follows new parents Chris and Reagan Brinkley while they struggle to find the necessary balance in their life since the addition of their baby, Amy. 

Reagan (Applegate) returns to work for her needy boss, talk-show host Ava (Rudolph), while hubby Chris (Arnett), decides to fill the role as the stay-at-home-dad.  Up All Night promises laughs, as any new parent can relate to a lack of sleep, self-doubt, and the ever-growing pressure of maintaining a normal life while balancing parenthood. 

Up All Night premieres Wednesday, September 21st

*****

Whitney – NBC

Developed, written, and starring comedian Whitney Cummings (Chelsea Lately), Whitney follows the story of Whitney’s life experiences.  Whitney lives with her long-term boyfriend, Alex (Chris D’Elia, Glory Daze), and the non-traditional couple sees no reason to get married. 

The happy couple is surrounded by their friends: Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, Breaking Upwards), who believes in happily ever after, Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, Franklin & Bash), a relationship cynic, Neal (Maulik Pancholy, 30 Rock) who appears to be in a perfect relationship with Lily, and Mark (Dan O’Brien, multiple television appearances including How I Met Your Mother), the self-proclaimed ultimate bachelor. 

Whitney’s comedy reflects her own opinionated views, which is why it comes as no surprise that she is playing an opinionated woman on television.

Whitney premieres Thursday, September 22nd 

*****

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of the new comedies on television this year?  Which one most interests you?  Which of these shows will make it and which ones won’t? I’d love to hear from you!

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