Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Sunday, Sunday

It's mid-season and Fox has moved Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which may be the best sitcom on TV, from Sunday to Tuesday.  Just as well, since Sunday has become top-heavy with good stuff and Tuesday is fairly barren.  But they have added two new shows to go along with The Simpsons and Family Guy.

First up is Cooper Barrett's Guide To Surviving Life. It's from Jay Lacopo, who originally created it online.  It sounds like--and vaguely is like--one of my favorite shows from years ago, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, which itself was vaguely based on Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Cooper Barrett is the normal, goodlooking guy at the center of a bunch of friends trying to figure out what to do in the decade after they graduate from college. There are more than enough shows with twenty-something hipsters, but these guys are a bit nicer and more naïve.

Cooper is the smart one, I guess, since he talks to the camera and teaches us lessons.  And the pilot episode is essentially a remake of The Hangover.  The guys (one of them is actually Justin Bartha from The Hangover) graduate from college and live in a pad together.  They have a wild party and when they wake up their widescreen TV is gone.  This leads to all sorts of hijinks and ends up with a handoff in a remote area where the guys trade a TV for the kidnaped Cooper. (The whole plot actually takes years and involves a framing device--all unnecessary and annoying.) Along the way, we meet the cute girl who may or may not become Cooper's girlfriend.

It's pretty by-the-numbers stuff.  The cast is game but they'll need better material and more imaginative plots if they want to last.

Next up is Bordertown, and if Cooper Barrett did The Hangover, this one does All In The Family.  It's an animated sitcom from Mark Hentemmanm of Family Guy, and also lists Seth MacFarlane as an executive producer (because I guess he needed more money).

It's set in the American border town of Mexifornia.  Bud Buckwald works as a border agent and is, in general, a stupid American reactionary--a common figure in MacFarland..  Bud's wife is loving but dim, and he's got three kids, including liberal daughter, Janice, who wants to be with the college-educated, politically correct Mexican boy who happens to be the nephew of the Mexican family living next door.

Like Family Guy, the gags fly fast, and some are decent, but the politics are heavy-handed.  The voice work is done by some familiar names--Hank Azaria, Alex Borstein, Missi Pyle, Judah Friedlander--but the cast can't overcome how unlikeable the characters are as written.  Perhaps the show will calm it down, but I won't be around to find out.

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