Sitcom Superlatives – Imports, Cameos, and Bromances
It’s time for this week’s Sitcom Superlatives, where we discuss the best, worst, and all-around most notable happenings in the world of TV comedy.
Best Import – Miranda
If you’re suffering from the mid-winter blahs like I am and find yourself in dire need of new laughs, I’d definitely suggest checking out the charming British sitcom Miranda. Think if a Liz Lemon-like character of similar failure-prone relatability in a sitcom with a mixture of the goofy sensibility of Happy Endings and the distinctly British embarrassment factor that the original Office had, and you have Miranda. The basic plot is of a large, very silly woman (played by the stellar Miranda Hart, who also writes the show) struggling to be mature and composed as she struggles through dating, work, and polite social interaction. Miranda also boasts a stellar cast of supporting characters that include her Lucille Bluth-ian mother, her best friend and co-worker Penny, and her longsuffering mutual crush Gary (played by the dreamy Tom Ellis, who Merlin fans will recognize as old baddie Cendred). It’s delightfully sweet, absurd, and poignant by turns. There is no technically legal way to get your hands on this show outside of the UK, and I don’t want to encourage anyone to break the law, per se, but if there’s a show worth finding a creative solution to watch, it’s this one.
Best Cameo – Michelle Williams on Cougar Town
I came extremely close to just declaring this a three-way tie and throwing the towel on this category, but that is not how we do it here at Sitcom Superlatives! Choices – even impossible ones, must be made. And so eliminated was poor, finally looking more his age and less like he was kept in a time dilation field between Olympics Bob Costas, despite his superlative job this week on Go On. Also sadly eliminated was the hysterical Octavia Spencer on 30 Rock doing her best impersonation of Tracy Jordan. (She will not have anything to do with Maryland because of her feud with Cal Ripken Jr.) But the ultimate winner had to be Michelle Williams’ blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo at the end of Cougar Town as Laurie’s foster sister. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Michelle Williams in a comedic role before, which is a damn shame. Between her boob shimmy at Laurie and her pitch-perfect delivery of “no, bitch, what what,” I can’t help but hope this is a recurring thing.
Also, Bob Costas excepted,it seems to me that more Oscar-nominated (or Oscar-winning) actresses should cameo on sitcoms For my sake, if not for theirs.
Best new bromance – Mark and James van der Beek on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23
There’s a beautiful new relationship blossoming on Don’t Trust the B, and I’m not talking about Mark and June (because where did that come from?). No, Mark has far better chemistry with his new bro, a one Mr. James van der Beek.
I think the secret to what makes these two so delightful to watch together is that they mimic what makes June and Chloe so good. James, like Chloe, is ridiculous, spoiled, needy, and overly-dramatic. He and Chloe need the boring practicality of a June or Mark. And James’ horrible loss of confidence after his Dancing With The Stars career and subse was cut short and subsequent bravado jives well with Mark’s constant on-again, off-again relationship with his horrible girlfriend Jennifer. They both need someone to pick them up and make them feel good, as well as temper their more ridiculous turns (James) and their tendency towards Eeyore-like irritating self-loathing (Mark).
There are some shows where I simply don’t want anyone to have a romantic relationship with anyone, and Don’t Trust the B is one of them. But more quirky friendships like Mark and James’? Yes please; bring it on.