I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Living in the day of streaming, binge watching dramas can be exhausting. So if comedy is more your speed, look no further than Wednesday night’s comedy slate with IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and MAN SEEKING WOMAN.
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
10/9c on FXX
Preston Barta // Editor
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY is no stranger to causing a ruckus that follows with uncontrollable laughter– a rare thing to say when a show is entering its eleventh season. Usually after a few seasons you will see major signs of wear and tear, and while SUNNY ran out of steam occasionally during its run, it never came to a full stop. And with tonight’s season premiere episode, it definitely shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Tonight brings back the beloved Chardee MacDennis, the crazy game of nonsense created by our friendly group of sociopaths (Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olsen and Danny DeVito) . This time, instead of playing merely for fun, they have the chance of going global with the game. They’ve managed to catch the interest of an executive from Mattel, played by guest star Andy Buckley (THE OFFICE), who may be able to help them break out of Paddy’s Pub. Filled with the usual craziness – including an IV drip full of wine, drugs and laxatives – the opener appropriately titled “Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo” is a solid return for the series.
From there, in the next few episodes we travel back in time to 2006 with Frank Reynolds (the always disgustingly great DeVito), we go back even further with the gang in a totally awesome ’80s ski trip (think a mix of OUT COLD with every ’80s dude-bro film), we see Dee (Olson) enter a smut film (otherwise known as porn) and Mac & Dennis try their hand at suburban life (the best episode of the new season).
For die-hard fans of the show, its formula will remain appealing. However, it’s also competing with MAN SEEKING WOMAN and the upcoming Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis show BASKETS. But, then again, SUNNY doesn’t need to change a damn thing. We’ve hung out with these characters for over a decade and they continue to prove their worth of keeping around.
So stick around for another season of charming and vulgar debauchery, even if it is a little more reserved than we’re used to (except for episode 4 and 5 of this season– I can’t stress that enough).
MAN SEEKING WOMAN
10:30/9:30c on FXX
James Cole Clay // Film Critic
Entering its second season, MAN SEEKING WOMAN is an even more isolating experience to watch. The show chronicles the misadventures of a hapless single gentleman Josh (Jay Baruchel) while he navigates the ever changing dating world.
Last year, the visual metaphors taken literal worked such as “dating a troll, or being on trial for boyfriend misconduct.” These concepts were able to be stretched to full episodes that were pretty damn funny. Simon Rich created a show that’s dark, funny and truthful, but with nowhere to go story-wise.
MAN SEEKING WOMAN is a good show, there’s no doubt there, but incessant cheekiness in the tone hold it back from obtaining the truth that’s sprinkled throughout each episode. The season premiere titled “Wings” has Josh with yet another coveted girlfriend of the week, only this time he’s gone “full-time” as his best bud Mike (Eric Andre) puts it so passionately.
This is the kind of truth that works in the favor of the series. We’ve all gone through losing time with a friend in favor of a significant other and to see that spoofed can go along way in terms of belly laughs. However, the writer’s room doesn’t seem to have any vested interest in moving the characters forward in anyway. Relying heavily on vignettes only has gone so far and while it’s entertaining watching Baruchel cross the frontier in numerous attempts to plant a flag down in a romantic partnership, the result is too detached to become emotionally invested.