It’s taken me a little while, but I’m up to Wednesday.
Wednesday has undergone a bit of a transformation, mostly because I never thought that I would get to the point where my night focuses on ABC. And comedies on ABC! But there you go…
The Middle – Before Happy Endings came on, and after the first season of Modern Family, I actually felt that The Middle was the best comedy on Wednesday nights. Yes. I do realize what I said. I think it has more heart than Modern Family and has been more even than MF (more on that below). Any show that employs the Janitor from Scrubs (Neil Flynn) allows me to overlook the fact that they are also employing Patricia Heaton. Most families I think live more like the Hecks than we want to admit…
Flynn and Heaton have a sweet, trying, and ultimately successful relationship that reminds me more of Roseanne and Dan Connor than Claire and Cliff Huxtable. I think The Middle had me during its first episode when Axl, the oldest son, was basically wandering around the house, a sullen teenager in his boxers. I have brothers. This is 100% accurate. And the two other kids are gold – Eden Sher as Sue, the middle child who is perpetually positive and does her best no matter how life beats her down, and Atticus Shaffer as Brick, the brilliant and socially awkward youngest child with the odd habit of whispering under his breath the last thing he just said.
It’s definitely worth watching.
Suburgatory – This show just finished its first season and I think it grew into itself by the end. It started as a one note joke about how awful it is to move from the excitement of New York City to the plasticity of the suburbs. Though to be fair, NYC is pretty darned awesome. Jane Levy as Tessa Altman is the typical TV snarky teenager and Jeremy Sisto as Tessa’s father George is the mostly-cool-except-when-he-finds-condoms-in-his-daughter’s-dresser TV father of said teenager, but it’s the supporting cast the sells the show. I adore ADORE Alan Tudyk (Firefly’s Wash, RIP) and his Noah seems to be what the suburbs can do to a man. My favorite is Cheryl Hines (Larry David’s wife from Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Dallas Royce, a suburbs housewife who manages to rid herself of her philandering husband and recognize her dream of owning a crystal shop, while not losing her humanity and vulnerablity in the process. Plus her chemistry with George is great. And as Tessa’s friend Lisa, Allie Grant steals every single scene she’s in with her brilliant comic timing and highly unique line readings.
Modern Family – Ah, the Wednesday night juggernaut that revived ABC’s comedy line up and the sitcom in general. And it was the show that helped make gay families A-OK to many Americans.
The first season was fantastic. The second season was still good, but a bit flawed and dare I say it, tired. The third season…I don’t know how objective I can be because I just saw the season 3 finale. And it made me tear up. The moment that Cam and Mitchell lay down in the field, emotionally exhausted from the roller coaster of almost getting a child, once again, reminded me of why I loved the show in the first place.
The core of the show isn’t necessarily the humor, which of course is humorous, but the way that this new family with all its parts and limbs can come together and be there for each other. Cam recognizing that Mitchell needed a break from holding everything together for their family helped erase a lot of the more outlandish Cam moments since the second season started. Cam though has been one of the comic highlights of the show – stereotype or not.
Then we have the other standouts – Gloria, Manny, Phil and Luke. Manny and Luke have become a great odd couple on the show and Phil’s “WTF, why the face” will live on. They’re all winners, but let’s be honest, people tune in because Sofia Vergara is ridiculously attractive. Even us straight girls know that. And add to that the fact that she is pretty damned funny, it’s just no fair.
Happy Endings – It might have taken a few episodes to find its grove, but Happy Endings is the funniest show on network TV that isn’t animated (that’s Bob’s Burgers, hands down). It’s a brilliant ensemble show that takes the Friends model and brings it up to speed for today’s crazy world, and makes it all a little less saccharine.
There are some cast stand outs… Damon Wayans, Jr. (son of Homey who don’t play that) is amahzing as Brad. His relationship with Jane (Eliza Coupe) is the most competitive, intense, messed up, loving, and adorable one on TV. The show even figured out how to deal with Elisha Cuthbert’s Alex and turn her from a generic blonde, to a sort of amazing savant.
Casey Wilson might not have made it on SNL, but dear god, Penny rocks.
But I don’t know if I could love anyone on a sitcom more than I love Adam Pally. He’s my sitcom Jon Hamm… Here he is as the lead singer in the all male Madonna tribute band, Mandonna:
I cannot stress how much you need to be watching this show.
Don’t Trust The B in Apt 23 – Just finished it’s short run first season. Pretty good but not there yet. James Van Der Beek is fab though. Just fab. And Krysten Ritter has great comic timing. Too bad Walter White wasn’t a fan…
America’s Next Top Model – I don’t know how to say this other than to say it. Tyra, it’s time to pack your bags and go home. After all these years and all the crazy and all the hissy fits and photo shoots that have NOTHING to do with fashion…I give up. I had seven episodes of ANTM on my DVR and this weekend I made the decision to delete them without watching them. Every good thing must come to an end and I think that end for me, is now, with this.
South Park – It started with paper cutouts, Jesus, Santa and Brian Boitano. Sixteen seasons later I’m still watching. Some people are decrying the show as losing it’s edge, no longer being funny, etc. You know, the usual claptrap that follows any show after it’s been on for a while. Did this season crack me up as much as every other season…maybe not. But the episode where they had the live reenactment slayed me and I can almost watch that Cash for Gold montage for ten straight hours:
If every few years they give me a series of episodes like The Coon vs The Coon and Friends trilogy where Cartman teams up with Cthulu, I’m happy to sit through an episode here and there that isn’t an instant classic. Matt and Trey continue to be absolute geniuses.
Ugly Americans – The redheaded stepchild of Comedy Central, Ugly Americans deserves some recognition. Imagining a world with land whales, koala people, and oh yeah — zombies, vampires, and demons all living together in quasi-harmony in New York City, takes a lot of balls. It’s just a really weird screwy show that I wish more people watched. I heard somewhere that this is the monsters version of Futurama, which was really a space version of an office place comedy. Sounds apt.
Here is a sampling:
Top Chef – One of the few reality shows I will admit to watching. It seems to require actual talent, which puts it head and shoulders above so much of the other crap out there. And it’s on Bravo, the gay network (see Happy Endings people) so it has the right amount of crazy that you need on your reality shows. This past season was kinda crap, but I want to believe the next Michael Voltaggio or Richard Blais is still out there. Not everyone is Hosea or Ilan…right? RIGHT? And yes, I do watch Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Desserts, but they are pale imitators of the original we can all agree, yes?
So that’s all I can think of for Wednesday at the moment. I feel I’m missing some shows that aren’t on right now, but they’ll come to me in the middle of the night.
Only 2 nights of primetime TV left.
Am I watching YOUR favorite shows? Only time will tell.