TV picks: comedy sitcoms


Recent magazine covers, radio spots, and the majority of network commercials have been solely devoted to one thing: the new TV fall lineup.  Various pilots premiered this past week in the vein of both comedies and dramas.  With so many newbies entering the picture, it's difficult to know which network you can trust.

Since time is scarce for college students, consider this the Cliffs Notes version of fall TV. For the first week of new-show overload, we will focus on the sitcoms.  Did any fail miserably or is everyone off to a great start?  

Monday, "Mike & Molly" hit CBS with a bang.  When Mike (Billy Gardell) meets Molly (Melissa McCarthy) at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, the game of cat and mouse ensues.

The pilot was undeniably laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly sentimental at moments. Judging from the strength of a few of the more vulnerable scenes with the lead characters at their weight loss meeting, "Mike & Molly" has mighty potential.  This endearing sitcom has some stiff competition against "Gossip Girl," "Dancing with the Stars," and the new series, "The Event," but it definitely stands a strong chance to outweigh the odds.  

Tuesday evening was dedicated to "Raising Hope."  It's very early to tell, but "Raising Hope" is likely to stand the test of time.  The cinematography, the setting, and the refreshing acting all work, and they work well.  It's not your typical sitcom; the humor is subtler and darker.  After melancholy and frustration set in, Jimmy (Lucas Neff) quits his job and has a one-night stand with a girl he later discovers to be a felon.  Jimmy turns her in and after eight months in prison, she unveils she is pregnant with his daughter.  The pilot is filled with sentimental comedy when he decides he is going to raise baby Hope but realizes he has no clue as to how.


On Wednesday nights, ABC's "Better With You" will keep you laughing.  When Mia (Joanna Garcia) meets Casey (Jake Lacy) and gets engaged after two months, her family's concern provides a lot of laughs.  Part of you wants the show to succeed just for Garcia's sake.  Her shows have been pretty hit-or-miss in the past.  As much potential as "Better With You" has, it likely won't be the top sitcom of the season.  It's funny but some of the other comedies offer a few more laughs.  


"$#*! My Dad Says" started a little rough, but by the end of the episode things seemed to fall into place pretty nicely.  The writing is slightly bizarre, but the overall plot was charming. The episode revolves around Henry (Jonathan Sadowski), the son, mustering up the courage to admit he needs financial help to his estranged father, Ed (William Shatner).  Shatner and Sadowski have a solid chemistry on-screen.  The humor is a little out there, but nonetheless it's worth checking out.  


Next week we'll explore the new primetime dramas and see how they measure up.