Even though Comedy Central has long been branded as somewhat of a lesser network (its lack of "credibility" has even been kind of a running gag on many of its own shows), you can't say they aren't innovative. Back in 1989 when The Comedy Channel (which merged with Viacom's HA! Network to form Comedy Central in 1991) first aired, people were skeptical at best. Really, people thought it was a terrible idea. But 24 years has proven the skeptics wrong. And the network is still innovating. They are expanding their online platform CC Studios with six new shows which are currently in development.
According to The Hollywood Reporter these include:
The Midnight Beast: The eponymous show features the British hip-hop comedy trio which has racked up nearly 64 million views on their YouTube channel.
Idiotsitter: Starring the hilarious Jillian Bell from Workaholics as the childish daughter of a wealthy man who needs a babysitter to monitor her behavior while on house arrest.
Biatches: An animated series written by and starring Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov about two school girls who are presumably biatches.
Pixelheads: A video game-themed animated sketch show
Strong Island: The story of two brothers living on Long Island featuring Kevin "Dot Com" Brown from 30 Rock and Artemis Pebdani from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
These shows, in addition to an as-of-yet-untitled project from comedian and podcaster Kurt Braunohler, will join three returning CC Studios online shows: Bro-Dependent, This is Not Happening, and The Walsh Brothers' Great and Secret Comedy Show.
January is a time for reflection. A time to think back upon the past year, to assign merit to the 365-day conglomeration through which you trudged and toiled all in the hopes of getting one step closer to that new Lazy Susan for the backyard patio. B
ut when we take our dear, departed 2012 into consideration, we might find the results unnerving. Of the 52 weeks to comprise the year in question, only about three of them (and that's rounding up) could be described, in any fortuitous way, as happy.
A mere 19 nonconsecutive days out of this latest Year of the Dragon amounted to whatever semblance of joy with which American public has not yet become entirely desensitized.
Delivering a pure, simple, heartfelt expression of comedic wealth, the ingredients of this scattered fortnight-and-change can be referred to as Happy Endings days — those incomparable calendar marks bearing that oh so special 30 minute period during which an otherwise unfathomable bliss overtakes all caught in its beam, courtesy of the good minds at ABC.
And courtesy of the clearly improving minds at ABC, 2013 will up the ante on its bestowal of glee, as Happy Endings is now set to air two nights a week.
The first new episode of the week, and of the year on the whole, broadcast on Sunday, instilling within anyone overwhelmed by January depression or just good old winter madness the good faith that 2013 is worth tolerating, if only for these semiweekly half-hour spurts of jubilation.
In keeping with its perfect pattern of revisiting old sitcom tropes with an inscrutable flare, the latest ep transforms two very old hat scenarios into fresh, vital displays of postmodern comedy.
The Destruction Coverup
The old joke: One or more parties (Brad and Penny) inadvertently destroy something precious that belongs to their friend (Alex), and go to extreme and manic lengths to cover up their transgression, usually to discover that the friend in question doesn't care all that much about the thing to begin with... or, in some cases (including this one), is actually at fault for its destruction.
The new twist: Brad and Penny accidentally smash a beloved ceramic plate of Alex's... and in attempting (successfully) to glue to back together, they accidentally kill her pet parrot, another misdeed they must then spend the bulk of the episode covering up.
Shows that have done this before: The Brady Bunch, The Golden Girls, Saved by the Bell (twice), Three's Company, Hey Arnold, Community (in a surprisingly conventional fashion).
The Happy Endings touch: It's not easy to take such a well-tread territory as this storyline and make it as funny as this episode of Happy Endings does.
But the humor can be accredited to the unparalleled commitment by Damon Wayans, Jr., and Casey Wilson in their peril over the discovery of their unintended bird-killing. Additionally, the return of Tyler the bigoted parrot is a sure-fire win.
The Setup Competition
The old joke: Two or more parties (Dave and Jane) compete in a mission to find the perfect suitor for a third friend (Max), usually supplying inadequate dates for said friend, and perhaps even leading him or her to a third party.
The new twist: Both Dave and Jane unwittingly attempt to set Max up with carbon copies of themselves — Dave's date for Max is a painfully laid back, John Mayer-loving musician, and Jane's is a fatally uptight and obsessive-compulsive aggressor.
Shows that have done this before: Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Seinfeld had a variation.
The Happy Endings touch: The humor in this storyline comes from our pure affection for these characters. Watching Dave match wits (or lack thereof) with a Dave doppelganger, and Jane teaming up with a man-Jane in the pursuit of Max's love will fuel nonstop laughter for any time-tested fan of the show and these people.
All that and a historic cold open featuring a wordplay battle royale, and a call to attention of just how obnoxious these people would be to actually sit near in a public eatery, make for a great start to 2013. And the best part: the next new episode is Tuesday night!
ABC, you're a wonderful enabler.
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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We were so thrilled with the recent news that Louis C.K. is returning to Parks and Recreation to rustle the recent reunion between Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) that we got to thinking. Louis C.K. was such a killer guest star on Parks -- there have to be more of his kind. And once we started thinking about it, we realized there's an overabundance of great romantic guest stars on our favorite sitcoms, which means we had to whittle it down to a few of our favorites. Maybe we're not that great at whittling, because we've still got 12, but they're all pretty unforgettable so I'm sure you'll forgive us.
Louis C.K. on Parks & Recreation
The comedian's comedian stopped by Pawnee, Ind. for a few episodes to let his bumbling character, Dave, steal fair Leslie's heart. While their romance almost hit the skids before it started thanks to that whole Madeline Albright/ Leslie's grandma confusion, Louis C.K. eventually made a good impression by putting up with Leslie's drunken late-night visit and her tireless tirade on the pre-teen bully/vandal/prankster/Bart Simpson wannabe, Greg Pikitis. Dave never really knew quite the right thing to say, but he was always earnest and sweet, and he made Leslie light up like a Christmas Tree. His return spells trouble for Beslie (is that what we call them?), but I'm still amped to see him come back.
Matt Damon on 30 Rock
I struggled with choosing Michael Sheen or Matt Damon for this entry, but then I remembered the explosive breakup between Carol Burnett (Damon) and Liz (Tina Fey). Sorry, Wesley Snipes (Sheen), "Gangway for Footcycle" gets me everytime, but nothing beats a pilot's discount at Sunglass hut. Damon was pitch perfect for Liz; from his name (a reference to Liz and Fey's comedy heroine), to his constant references to mundane pilot perks that Liz would enjoy more than any other human, to his stalwart love for her show (which no one else in the world seems to give two cheesy blasters about), Carol is perfect for Liz...for a little while anyway. Eventually, they get points for the best breakup ever because they both hold up an entire plane in order for them to figure out they're just too similar. Classic.
Elizabeth Banks on 30 Rock
Just as Liz met her double in Carol, Jack (Alec Baldwin) met his match in Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks), the conservative financial reporter. Together, they worshipped Ronald Reagan, bought their daughter a saddle to ride the maid, and both shreiked with terror when their baby was not only born in CANADA, but with the help of socialized medicine. The horror. Avery too, had to say farewell, and in another dramatic way -- she was kidnapped and taken to North Korea, never to be heard from again. This show sure knows how to get rid of a guest star, eh?
Woody Harrelson on Will & Grace
I promise, I'm not trying to write about all NBC series, but man do they get great guest stars. You may remember that Connick Jr. was the yin to Grace's (Debra Messing) yang as Dr. Leo Markus, but by far, her best boyfriend had to be the slovenly Nathan (Harrelson). As her neighbor, Nathan first drives her crazy, but of course hate turns to sexual tension and they end up together for a good chunk of Season 3. Of course, their breakup circumstances are pretty hilarious as well -- they all stem from Nathan's cry of "Marry me" during sex. They're awkward around eachother until Grace decides that in order to fix it, she'll propose to him. But he says no and breaks it off. Word to the wise: don't propose marriage during bedroom activities.
Luke Wilson on That 70s Show
We thought nothing could come between Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), but apparently all it takes is a Kelso. No, not Michael (Ashton Kutcher), but Casey Kelso the Trans-Am-driving charmer sure does the trick. He's slimy and the complete anti-Eric, but he knows how to play the system and he's old enough to drink beer. Swoon, amirite? He's just as dumb as his younger brother, but he's so charming, that Donna doesn't seem to catch on until Bob orders Donna to stop dating him and Casey doesn't seem to care. She wanted a laid-back dude, didn't she?
Megan Mullally on Parks & Recreation
As Ron Swanson's (Nick Offerman) second ex-wife, Tammy, Mullally draws on the already hilarious relationship with her real life husband (Offerman) to simultaneously terrify Ron and whip him into a disgustingly sexual frenzy. And her second appearance sees the craziest Ron we've ever witnessed, with cornrows, a boxing robe and a lack of mustache -- from the friction. Shudder.
Kristen Bell on Party Down
If there's anyone better to play a tiny, adorable, unbearably uptight girlfriend and catering manager, point me in their direction, but I think you'll find that Kristen Bell is the tops. She played Uda, Henry Pollard's (Adam Scott) girlfriend after fellow cater waiter Casey (Lizzy Caplan) breaks his heart. She's terrifying, even when she's not on screen, and her love of mundane things like The Mentalist are just the icing on the cake. Her proposal for Henry to give her a call for a date is one of the most haunting comedic moments in recent memory.
on Family Guy
Brian is obnoxiously pseudo-intellectual. He constantly assumes he's so much smarter than every other person on the show, though he's constantly shown to be completely pretentious. Nothing quite drives that point into the ground like his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Jillian. She was gorgeous, blonde and a complete and total idiot. She completely puffs up Brian's confidence in that she's so hot and that she constantly needs him to explain just about everything to her. "How do I know if I'm Jewish?" "Are you Jewish?" "Nope." "There you go, sport."