Tuesday, August 23, 2005

These Shows Bring the Funny. But Who's the Funniest of Them All?

I know it seems like there isn't a whole lot of funny on television lately, but the key is knowing where to look. Sometimes the funny is in the form of slapstick, satire, irony, quick quips, or all of the above. The sitcom has a history of bringing us hours of laughs, and for that, we are all very appreciative. I keep hearing over and over again that the new crop of comedies are hysterical (maybe this is the much anticipated comeback), but there are a number of quality, funny sitcoms currently on television. Here are my picks:

4. Arrested Development (Fox)- I've only seen a handful of episodes of this crazy show, but every episode I have seen has made me laugh out loud. It definitely has a humor all its own, which is why many people aren't tuning in. It's a smart show that employees sight gags and the assumption that the viewers will get a lot of its inside jokes. Take the episode where one of the characters literally "jumped the shark." A term that's used to refer to the moment when a television show crosses over into the ridiculous and no longer watchable territory. At the heart of Arrested Development is the off-beat Bluth family and all their unbelievable antics (like Tobias joining the Blue Man Group). The Bluth family is funny enough to keep me laughing for days!

3. Gilmore Girls (WB)- I know most people consider this charming show a drama, but it entered itself into the best comedy category for the Emmys, and it's definitely one of those "dramedies" I spoke of last week (the same holds true for my number two pick). Like Arrested Development, I've only seen a handful of episodes, but the show definitely had me laughing. Each of the characters in the quaint town of Stars Hollow has their hysterically funny moments as well as their more serious moments. It's a feat that the show's talented cast led by the brilliant Lauren Graham pulls off very well. Even when Gilmore Girls is having one of its more dramatic scenes, the show still manages to find the humor and make us laugh.

2. Desperate Housewives (ABC)- When Housewives is having a funny moment, it's the funniest show on television. Take the pilot episode: Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) hurries back to her house to mow the lawn in her evening gown just to prevent her husband from finding out about her affair with the gardener or Lynette (Felicity Huffman) walking into a swimming pool to fetch her unruly boys all while the neighborhood is gathered around to mourn the suicide of Mary Alice (Brenda Strong). This show manages to weave us through intensely dramatic moments and insanely comedic ones effortlessly. Even a dark moment like the funeral for Carlos' (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) mother turns funny when Gabrielle and Carlos fight. There are countless funny moments in Housewives, which is why this dramedy ranks on the comedy list.

And finally...drum roll....

1. Scrubs (NBC)- This show is the funniest show on television because it relies on satire, sight gags, hilarious dialog, and interesting characters. The antics of J.D. (Zach Braff), Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley), and Turk (Donald Faison) keep me in stitches (bad pun, I know). McGinley has the best comedic timing on television, and his monologues are jam packed with hysterical comments. Elliot (Sarah Chalke) is funny without trying to be, and Carla (Judy Reyes) keeps all of the boys in line. Janitor (Neil Flynn), Jordan (Christa Miller Lawrence), and Ted (Sam Lloyd) round out the talented cast. Scrubs is pretty much guaranteed to make you laugh, and it's a shame it has taken this long for the show to finally get some Emmy recognition.

Okay, so those are my picks for the funniest comedies. Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your picks.


*FX wants another season of Rescue Me per zap2it.com. The Dennis Leary drama about firefighters picking up the pieces after 9/11 earned two Emmy nominations this year. The third season is set to start filming early next year and will premiere next Spring or Summer. You can catch this season's remaining four episodes until the September 13th finale.

*Soap veteran Cynthia Watros is joining the cast of Lost per tvguide.com. She'll play a mysterious passenger (aren't they all?) who might have been in the plane's tail section during the crash. Watros is best known for her stint on Guiding Light.

*Want to listen to what those Desperate Housewives listen to? Music from and inspired by the hit show will be featured on the soundtrack set to hit stores September 20th per zap2it.com. Artists include Shania Twain, Liz Phair, Martina McBride, The Indigo Girls, and Joss Stone. Twain will contribute an all-new original song, while the others will sing covers of classic songs. The show's popular theme music will also be included.

*And finally, there's a whole host of premiere news today. ABC bumped Hope & Faith's premiere back to September 30th in order to air an extra episode of Super Nanny. Fox will hold off premiering That 70s Show and Stacked until after baseball season. Look for each show to premiere with a special one hour episode November 2nd and 9th, respectively. Finally, CBS has given a premiere date to its first Walker, Texas Ranger movie. Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire will debut on October 16th with show stars Chuck Norris, Sheree J. Wilson, Clarence Gilyard, and Judson Mills. Janine Turner will also star.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow as I run down my favorite characters (oh, so many to choose from!). And as always, all the latest television news.


tati said...

Of those shows you mentioned, the only one I can speak with knowledge about is Gilmore Girls, which I've been watching since day one with much pleasure. Without getting into the philosophical discussion "is it a comedy or a drama, or a dramedy?" it's the show that most inspires true feelings at the same time it entertains, and leaving you with a good and happy feeling (most of the time, at least). I've watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of Desperate Housewives and I haven't been able to jump into that train. It's certainly intelligent and sarcastic (which I love) but it sure gets, uh... "bizarre" every now and then. Anyway, outside your list, I also enjoy Two and a Half Men, even though I don't follow it. But the three men got an amazing comedy chemistry IMO. And I'll miss Everybody Loves Raymond... that's a show that has sent me into fits of laughter more than once.

1980champs said...

Scrubs wihout a doubt...but everyone knows if ABC had any...even the slightest bit...of intestinal fortitude, the best comedy in recent past would still be on tv...Sports Night. I mean, c'mon, have you ever seen anything as funny as SN? Housewives ranks up there as well...and I definitely think it's much more a comedy than a drama.

Instant Ignorance said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Though I can't speak with propriety about Arrested Development. All the others have really great comedy moments, though I'd have to say Scrubs is probably the funniest of all. Or maybe it just seems that way to me because I'm in health care. The characters are exaggerated, of course (thus the parody), but people like them do exist within the hospital environment, and it's always nice to see a lighter side of what you have to put up with all the time.
Gilmore Girls I consider mostly a drama, but it does have its funny moments, and they're great. It's such a special, hysterical humor, too--poor Lorelai trying to make the best of all the crap life has plumped down on her (beginning with mommy dearest).
Desperate Housewives is DEFINITELY funny. I almost wouldn't consider it a drama. It's a parody, closer to Scrubs, I'd say; and never fails to reel me in.