New US fall schedule comedies: mid-season review

'The New Normal'. Image courtesy of NBC.

The flurry of 2012’s new US fall schedule comedies are close to the mid-season mark. But how many have been chosen to continue along the conveyor belt, and which have already gone past their sell-by dates?

Animal Practice, NBC

H6 test

What do you mean you don’t want to watch a programme where one of the leads is a monkey called Dr. Rizzo? That would make you part of a wise majority who didn’t warm to the now-cancelled Animal Practice. Hopefully Joanna Garcia’s next role will be signed for more than a single season and ferry her to the promised realms beyond. A ‘hot girl’ surrounded by a hoard of animals playing the corporate ying to Justin Kirk’s veterinary yang certainly explains why ITV2 picked this up before the axe fell. This has probably worked out best for capuchin monkeys. Extremely intelligent they may be, but ready for an adoption/kidnapping surge they were not.

Trailer trash

 

Ben and Kate, Fox

H6 test

Train-wreck of a brother moves home to live with his barely more stable sister and her six-year old daughter. Add in a best friend on either side, and PING! The recipe for mediocrity is complete. Highlights included a family scavenger hunt with untold levels of glory as a reward, and a fake zombie apocalypse. Another fortunate cancellation, but pray that someone has noticed British actress Lucy Punch (best known as Amy Squirrel in Bad Teachers), who played the aptly-named BJ. She kept her accent. Integrity confirmed.

Trailer trash

 

Go On, NBC

H6 test

A sitcom/drama about an egotistical sports radio host who joins a support group after the death of his wife. ‘Finally! The precise TV concept I’ve been waiting for!’ cries Matthew Perry. Mr. Chandler returns as Ryan King, very much on form, accompanied by a motley therapy crew including a woman mourning her cat’s death, an uptight jilted-at-the-altar anesthesiologist, and a tough lovin’ lesbian lawyer. There are more enough characters to distract from any lagging plotlines, and with so many underdogs (everyone, except Ryan’s boss), it’s impossible to not get carried away with the grief-stricken tide.

Trailer talk

Guys with Kids, NBC

H6 test

It could have been cute. It could have been sensitive without being sentimental. Guys With Kids could have been many things, but emerged from the conveyor belt as three men with baby-carriers who could rival the How I Met Your Mother crew with the amount of time they spend hanging out in their local bar. With the babies. Although developed by Jimmy Fallon, if this miraculously gets renewed the only interesting part will be to see what will happen when the babies outgrow their front-facing transportation. Which, by the way, are so last season. It’s all about baby-gami now.

Trailer trash

 

The Neighbours, ABC

H6 test

When an alien clan named after US sportspersons – Larry Bird, Reggie Jackson – land on earth and take on human form, categorical weirdness somehow morphs into being weirdly charming. Befriending the human Weaver family is fortuitous for these particular aliens, since they don’t understand the concepts of Hallowe’en or the common cold and read books instead of eat. Three of five younger actors even manage to fall into the ‘not wholly irritating’ category, including ‘one-to-watch’ Clara Mamet (sister of Girls’ Zosia). As this Meme gallery proves, abundant pop culture references ricochet like marbles off of Bruce Willis’ head, but praises to whoever brought the jokes up to 2013-speed. My Parents Are Aliens, step aside.

Trailer talk

 

The New Normal, NBC

H6 test

Snapped up straightaway by E4 (no doubt for forcing ‘uncomfortable’ topics into the spotlight in a way that not many American comedies dare), single mum Goldie moves from Ohio with daughter Shania to become a surrogate for Cali couple David and Bryan. With Shania (Bebe Wood) comes a more coordinated Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, a nine year-old who is delightfully proud to just be herself. The real greatness lies in her and the other supporting members: one of Atlanta’s Real Housewives, NeNe Leakes, as Bryan’s assistant who says it like it is and even calls out Goldie’s Nana (Ellen Barkin) for her unforgiving points of view on homosexuality, race and lean cuisine.

Trailer talk

 

Partners, CBS

H6 test

Sitcom legend James Burrows’ latest creation, starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty’s Marc) and One Tree Hill it-girl Sophia Bush was, sadly, not destined for success. Not alot happened to long-time best friends, architects and business Partners Louis and Joe in the seven episodes before CBS pulled the plug. The risk of Will and Grace 2.0 with beige characters was evidently too high. Any triumph goes to Imagine Dragons, who recorded the excellent – yes, I’ll go that far – theme tune and made it into the UK Top 40. But unless you’re reading this from South Africa, where the remaining episodes will be broadcast, architecture has dodged becoming the next career rage.

Trailer talk

‘The New Normal’. Image courtesy of NBC.