Returning Shows Worth Watching and The (New) Daily Show

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Too cute to fail?
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Ms. Kristen Schaal

It’s very hard for me to let go of Jon Stewart. As a lactose-intolerant 50-something Jewish liberal from the East Coast, I felt truly represented by him. I knew it was going to be a stretch for me to switch allegiance to a smoking hot millennial from South Africa (see above). What do I have in common with Trevor Noah? What does he know about American politics — and why should I care what he thinks about our politics anyway?

And his first night was rough. At times I felt like he was doing an impression of Jon Stewart. I was offended when he explained what the Speaker of the House of Representatives does. Does Comedy Central think the audience has dumbed down overnight? Noah’s first interview (with Kevin Hart) was missing the questions part, but I was raised on Dick Cavett, the Prince of Interviewers, so my standards are very high.

But by night two, Noah was already finding his footing. His interview with a woman who heads up a Sadie Hawkins-style dating app was utterly charming. Roy Wood, Jr., one of the new correspondents, actually cracks me up. Most importantly, Noah seems to be using his own voice finally and it’s a smart, funny one. I have high hopes.

Returning Shows With Gas Left in the Tank

  • The Middle, Modern Family’s under-appreciated lead in show, has found a fun new vein to mine. The parental nest is empty with Eden Sher’s delightful character off at college, because they have decided to ignore Brick, their youngest. To be fair, he is entering 8th grade — a year the show accurately points out is better ignored anyway. Somehow they manage to walk the line between child abuse and amazing parenting — just as we all do in real life!

    The Middle's Charlie McDermott and Eden Sher
    The Middle’s Charlie McDermott and Eden Sher
  • Awkward, a teen show on MTV with an appealing edge I have always loved, continues to come up with great storylines. It can’t be easy to keep things fresh when writing about high school kids, given how repetitive my personal traumas were at that age. Kudos to them. (In a related note, the hilarious actress who played their guidance counselor has run off to be a new correspondent on the Daily Show.)
  • The Last Man on Earth has possibly the toughest concept to keep going past a single season. Will Forte, who writes and stars in it, has postulated that everyone is dead of a virus. As the last living human, he can use a gun to open doors and decorate his house with art from every museum on earth. Anyone who has tried to write a play knows you need at least three actors to create “conflict” but Forte bravely introduced people sparingly and waited to run credits until the end of each show so he wouldn’t spoil the surprise. I continue to be pleasantly surprised at his clever plotting and I love comedian Kristen Schaal, his co-star (and a former Daily Show correspondent). I’m in.

Stalled Out

  • Castle was always badly written if I’m honest, but the two-part season premiere scaled new heights of bad. It literally felt as if it were cobbled together from previous episodes. I love me some Nathan Fillion, but maybe even I have to draw the line somewhere?hot-nathan-fillion-photos
  • Doctor Who. Every season, I have waited for them to run out of story. I’m sad to report, it finally happened. They have been pulling new ideas out of their butts, year after year. The butts have now run dry. Though I’m only judging by the first two eps of the new season, they were as tasteless and limp as fish fingers left too long in custard. (If you didn’t get this reference, you don’t care about the Doctor anyway.)
  • I was wrong about Longmire in my earlier post. Now that I’ve seen all 10 episodes, I’m happy I don’t have Netflix. It was that bad. I’m most offended that the female characters have been reduced to crying cartoons. What were they thinking?

There’s too much good new TV for me to waste another minute on these losers. New shows reviewed soon!

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