- Eddy Chen/FOX
- Andy Samberg and at least one parent figure on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Attempting to figure out why some sitcoms survive while others just never catch on strikes me as a real fool’s errand. For instance, Two and a Half Men, which was recently renewed for an 11th season. Have you ever seen this show? It’s the actual, literal worst: sexist, stupid, and crude to the point of being vile. But that’s probably why people love it, right? One of the show’s stars—titular half man Angus T. Jones—called it out for being smut, and that was, if anything, a boon for the show.
The networks are preparing to unleash unto the world a whole new crop of sitcoms, and I imagine many a producer is busy wringing his hands and dabbing sweat from his brow as he waits to see how a mercurial public receives the fruits of his labor. Will anyone watch? Will the network request more episodes or won’t they? The suspense is killing these guys because they’re as clueless to the viewer’s desires as, well, the viewer is.
Here’s a nonexhaustive peek at some of what’s coming this fall. If there’s a theme, it’s a strong cast paired with weak writing. Also, “Parents! Can’t live with them FULL STOP.”
Dads (Fox, 9/17) Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi are Eli and Warner, a couple of cool dudes with cool apartments who run their own very cool video game development firm. You know what’s not cool, though? DADS. A damper is put on the guys’ fun, sexy lives when both of their respective dads decide to move in with them. The pilot features lots of fresh humor about sexy Asian schoolgirls. I want better for Martin Mull.
Mom (CBS, 9/23) Not a joke! There’s a show called Dads on one channel and a show called Mom on another! On this one, Anna Faris plays a recovering addict and single mom trying to get her life together while dealing with her mom (Allison Janney), who is also a recovering addict and single mom. It’s about cycles, see. It’s produced by Two and a Half Men‘s Chuck Lorre, so it should be at least mildly offensive.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 9/17) Hey, look. A show that isn’t about parents. Well, not literally. Andy Samberg plays a puckish detective in a precinct full of other adult children who are also tasked with fighting crime. A new captain comes in to whip the band of misfits into shape. Have hope for this one: it’s written by Parks and Recreation alums Michael Schur and Daniel J. Goor.
The Goldbergs (ABC, 9/24) A coming-of-age sitcom set in the 80s that looks like it tends toward schmaltz. That sucks, especially because it stars the decidedly unschmaltzy Wendi McLendon-Covey (Reno 911, Bridesmaids) and Jeff Garlin.
The Millers (CBS, 10/3) Not to be confused with recent stupid movie We’re the Millers, this show is about a TV news guy (Will Arnett) who divorces his wife and ends up so happy that his father (Beau Bridges) decides to divorce HIS wife (news guy’s mother). Naturally, wacky middle-age mother moves in with son. Style, you’ve been cramped again!