There are so many shows this fall—both new and old—that it’s nearly impossible to watch them all, especially as they actually air. But we’re using weekends to play catch-up while also catching you up on some of the week’s best and worst comedies. (There are some mild spoilers for some.) First up: ABC’s Tuesday’s comedy hour of family sitcoms.
Trophy Wife. Here’s a premature opinion: Trophy Wife will probably get prematurely canceled. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad show—I liked the pilot a lot more than I liked, well, 98% of this season’s sitcom pilots and I would like this show to stick around a bit longer. It’s just to say that it reminds me of a sitcom that will steadily get better but only after its canceled, when we’re watching the remaining episodes on Hulu and exclaiming “Wait, why didn’t I watch this when it was on?” The answer to that, by the way, is because it seems so blah upon first glance and yep, that it’s a terrible title. Horrid! Did we learn nothing from Cougar Town? Regardless, I dig the premise about the idea of a different family (different in an interesting, refreshing way instead of an ugh, I get it Modern Family way). The characters are a bit pigeon-holed into their stereotyped positions (uptight ex-wife, silly hippie, etc.) but the performances behind them are so strong that it’s barely noticeable and nothing that can’t be fixed with a little more fleshing out. Anyway, this episode was fun! I liked it! The pilot was Malin Akerman’s time to shine—her chugging that vodka was great—but this week was the Michaela Watkins show. Her sly asides, her gesticulations, basically her reactions to anything around her were all pretty golden. I like the weird relationships they’ve put in place here and I adore Bradley Whitford so I do hope Trophy Wife finds its footing before it’s too late.
The Goldbergs. The thing I constantly have to remind myself when watching sitcoms is that not everything is for me. I am but one person in this huge intimidating world of television viewers, I am one person with strange tastes, and one person without a Nielsen box. Most things aren’t for me! The Goldbergs is definitely not for me. I do understand the main appeal of the show: the warm family aspect, the Wonder Years-ness of it all, the nostalgia, and the “Remember those funny outfits?” I don’t remember anything from the very few years I was alive in the ‘80s, The Wonder Years was never my thing, and I think the Goldbergs are just so bland. There isn’t anything that special about the episode; there’s stuff about back-to-school shopping and children drifting away from their parents and secrets and family bonding. It’s Family Sitcom 101—but with ‘80s fashion! I get it, though. It’s warm and fuzzy and comforting. It’s harmless, it’s okay background noise, you might like it. But there is one big problem! You can’t just end an episode with “Come Sail Away” unless you’re Freaks and Geeks. That show nailed that song and that scene and just don’t even try, okay? It’s embarrassing for everyone.