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Sitcom Round-Up: 'Abbys,' 'A.P. Bio,' 'Brockmire,' 'Schooled,' and 'What We Do In the Shadows'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 12, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 12, 2019 |


Abby’s — Created by Josh Malmuth and exec-produced by Mike Schur, Abby’s is only a few episodes in and hasn’t yet found its bearings, or its identity. But it’s amusing, especially for a laugh-track sitcom (and this one is filmed outside). Natalie Morales is a great lead for what is essentially Cheers set in a backyard bar, featuring a fine supporting cast, including Neil Flynn from Scrubs and The Middle, and Nelson Franklin. It hasn’t hit its stride yet, but I feel confident that it will, and it has the potential to blossom into a terrific sitcom. It’s just not there yet. (Current Grade: B-)

A.P. Bio — I’ll admit that I kind of gave up on A.P. Bio midway through the first season, because it was a little too Dennis Reynolds, but now that it has largely shed its gimmicky premise, brought in a fantastic love interest (Elizabeth Alderfer), and given the rest of the ensemble some more screentime. It’s less sociopathy, and more humane, and it’s settled into one of my favorite sitcom staples, usually the first one I seek out on Thursday nights. (Current Grade: B+)

Superstore — With Abby’s, A.P. Bio and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (as well as Good Place when in season), NBC has gotten its Must-See Thursday vibe back. Superstore is the anchor, and low-key one of the best sitcoms on television right now, a sitcom that’s only gotten better as it nears the end of its fourth season. I absolutely adore this show and admire it for also tackling so many real-world issues facing low-income workers. (Current Grade: A-)

Better Things — As good, if not better, than it was when Louis C.K. was in the writer’s room, season three actually feels even more relatable than previous seasons (the cold open in last night’s episode was parenting a teenager to a goddamn tee). There are also not a lot of shows (OK, no other shows) that explore the aging process for a woman approaching menopause (last night’s episode, in fact, revolved around a colonoscopy and the hours spent on a toilet). (Current Grade: A)

Single Parents — This ABC sitcom has hits its stride, but I think that its stride is probably mildly amusing but fairly forgettable, although Brad Garrett is the stand-out along with the fabulous kid, Devin Trey Campbell. (Current Grade: C+)

Brockmire — Brockmire is dealing with sobriety now, and while I thought the genius of the show was seeing a character enthusiastically embrace his alcoholism, it’s actually managed to find a new speed in its third season. I love that Brockmire also makes fun of the entire sports announcing profession, and dig how so many announcers have embraced it by playing horrible versions of themselves (including Bob Costas, Joe Buck, Rich Eisen, and Kenny Mayne). I do miss Amanda Peet’s presence, although she made a return visit in last night’s episode (I hope she sticks around, although it’s fantastic that she’s in a relationship with George Brett, who inspired a lot of Lorde jokes in this week’s episode). (Current Grade: A-)

What We Do in the Shadows — I was excited about the FX sitcom version of the film, but also a little skeptical about how well it would work in a half-hour format. It works exceedingly well, although Mark Proksch is so far the stand-out, as an energy vampire playing basically a version of Gary Cole’s character in Office Space. He bores people, and feeds off their energy. It is one of those comedies where the jokes are so low-key it might take a second viewing to catch them all. It’s worth it. (Current Grade: A-)

Schooled — To be honest, I have come to prefer the ’90s spin-off of The Goldbergs to The Goldbergs itself. It’s family-oriented, and very much has the throwback feel of a ’90s sitcom with valuable lessons learned in each episode. However, AJ Michalka and Brett Dier are great in a very low-maintenance sitcom that’s already settled into a formula, but at least that formula feels fresher than The Goldbergs’ formula after six seasons. (Current Grade: B-)

The Kids Are Alright — Sadly, this show is getting very little attention, but I love that there’s a family sitcom where the parents show their affection by being hilariously cruel (but still loving) to their children. The kids are good, but this show works best when its focus is on Mary McCormick, Mike Cudlitz, and the girlfriend character played by Kennedy Lea Slocum. She should get her own spin-off. (Current Grade: B)

Splitting Up Together — Look: I just like Jenna Fischer. A lot. And Splitting Up Together is basically an opportunity to spend 22 minutes a week with Jenna Fischer. She has a very ‘Michael J. Fox I’ll watch her in anything’ vibe going. Is it great? Not really. But it’s terrifically watchable. (Current Grade: C+)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: NBC