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Wednesday Comedy Roundup: Back in the Game 1.06, Super Fun Night 1.05, Always Sunny 9.09

FRONT ROW: AUGIE ISAAC, SEPEHR PAZOKI, BRANDON SALGADO, HECTOR SANTIAGO; BACK ROW: BENJAMIN ROYER, MATTHEW ROYER, JJ TOTAH, KENNEDY WAITE, GRIFFIN GLUCK, MATTHEW ZHANG, THEODORE BARNES

Back in the Game, Season 1, Episode 6, “Night Games”
Directed by David Katzenberg
Written by Scott Boden Hodges
Airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm EST on ABC

Back in the Game loses its way again this week as it continues to stick to a structure that simply doesn’t work. Once again we see those horribly distracting titles at the beginning of the episode that introduce characters we should already know by now. This show is quite similar to some of its competitors, Trophy Wife and The Goldbergs in particular. With each of these shows airing Halloween episodes this week, and each being family-driven comedies, these similarities stand out. “Night Games” is a combination of the two story lines that can be seen in both last night’s episodes of Trophy Wife and The Goldbergs. Similarly to Pete from Trophy Wife, The Cannon is motivated by his annoyance of youngsters on Halloween. The only difference here is his reason for wanting to discipline at such an extent is more understandable. The other familiar storyline is the changing of Halloween traditions, the difference here being that Terry accepts it. All three episodes have a similar outcome and make for pleasant half-hours of family Halloween fun. Out of the three though, Back in the Game‘s is the weakest and here’s why.

Once again the show continues to send mixed messages as each week a character does something questionable in order to achieve some personal gain. Although there is nothing wrong with doing things to make yourself happy, Back in the Game puts its characters in situations which suggest that this is only logical thing to do. By the end the episode, the right message is presented when the character will realise they didn’t need to do what they did earlier. Not only is this format unentertaining, boring, and frustrating, it fails to move the story forward. Even when we do see progress, it’s so slight as to render such an elaborate buildup rather pointless. This week we see more of Terry’s competitive nature as she is reunited with a high school nemesis. Watching her let an old school rival get the better of her is a little disappointing; she’s never let anybody get a rise out of her before. Hopefully this will be an exception to the rule, rather than a shift in her character.

REBEL WILSON, KATE JENKINSON

Super Fun Night, Season 1, Episode 5, “Go with Glorg”
Directed by Rodman Flender
Written by Hannah Friedman
Airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm EST on ABC

This week’s episode of Super Fun Night isn’t particularly entertaining but does hint at some interesting future narratives. With Richard nowhere to be seen this week, Kendall and Kimmie spend a bit more time together. The show introduces a little depth to Kendall’s character as we see her cry, alone in the toilet. The telephone call she has with her father suggests she had a very stern upbringing and has suppressed feelings about this all her life. It’s good seeing a mean character act a little human and it’s even more satisfying watching Kimmie be a genuinely good person when she isn’t feeling great about Kendall right now. However, the episode is uncomfortable throughout because savvy TV viewers know exactly how it’s going to play out. With Kendall being nice (for her) under the influence, it’s clear she will change when she sobers up. Another outcome the audience can see coming is Kendall finding Kimmie’s letter. What’s surprising about the situation in the end though is Kendall’s new-found respect for Kimmie. Her relationship with Richard doesn’t get in the way or make things awkward this week. If he returns next week, this dynamic should be more interesting to watch.

Super Fun Night continues to focus on Helena Alice and Marika away from Kimmie. While they are getting the more entertaining stories, it’s a little odd that none of the characters have addressed this matter. Three weeks in a row now Kimmie has ditched her friends for work-related plans. Although it’s great that they support her anyway, the show could benefit from some form of confrontation between the trio of friends. Helena Alice and Marika’s friendship continues to deliver a heart-warming aspect to the show and it is always a delight to watch. While Super Fun Night is quite rosy at the moment, it’s not all that exciting to watch. If it incorporates some more drama or conflict, it could be a lot more entertaining.

IASIP S09E09

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 9, Episode 9, “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6”
Directed by Dan Attias
Written by Scott Marder
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FXX

This week’s episode of It’s Always Sunny in Phildadelphia is a perfect treat for many long-time fans of the show. Staying true to a particularly hilarious running gag, the gang finally make Lethal Weapon 6 and it’s even more ridiculous than the previous attempts. The episode is extremely rewarding as each Lethal Weapon movie grows even more badly made. As of late, episodes of It’s Always Sunny have not paid a great deal of attention to moving the narratives forward but the quality of comedy has still been as great as ever. While this is definitely a problem with the newer sitcoms and some of the current shows, it has never really been an issue when it comes It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  This may be because It’s Always Sunny is such a distinctive and established show. It has always been sure of itself from its very first season and it has remained extremely rewarding throughout. A lot of these newer sitcoms are struggling to find their footing during their hit and miss first seasons but It’s Always Sunny achieved this almost immediately. It’s still surprising that even in it’s ninth season the show is successfully delivering solid installments week after week. This week’s episode is presented through an extremely creative device as we see clips from the movie and cuts in between of The Gang justifying their terrible filmmaking, the highlight being when Mac and Dennis swap characters once again. Despite the narrative coming to a bit of a standstill at the moment, the current season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the show’s best, delivering outstanding episodes each week.

– Catstello


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