The Husband:

While we, the children of Saint Clare, have found the time to write about many of the biggest shows on television (and even some small ones), there is only so much time and energy we can spend on this site. The truth is, we watch a whole lot more than what ends up on the site, and since I watch most of these on my own and yet never find the ability to write about them, their absence is mostly my fault. But no matter. For those that fall through the cracks, I have here a grab bag of the 30+ shows I watch in addition to whatever ends up on the site. These are the ones that slipped through the cracks. And hell, I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting (and also not even bothering writing about, which tend to fall under instructional/educational stuff like anything on Discovery), so if you think I’ve forgotten something, please let me know. (And no, I don’t watch any CSI or L&O shows, so don’t even try to get all up in my grill.) Here they are, the missing shows of the 2008-2009 television season, in alphabetical order.

24

I really should have written at least some criticism on this season, but work piled up and I simply didn’t have the time. It started off as the most intelligent season with some of the most compelling political questions being thrown around (welcome to the show finally, “debate on torture”), but by the fourth time Tony twisted his alliance and Jack was infected with the disease, I kind of stopped caring. Great first half of the season, though, and I think Renee is the best new character in a very long time.

Adult Swim (Xavier: Renegade Angel / Superjail! / Squidbillies / The Drinky Crow Show / Metalocalypse / Delocated / Robot Chicken / Etc.)

Thank you, young people of Adult Swim (who I have spent some time with, don’t forget) for freaking my mind week after week, and giving alternative comedy a major boost in America. And for freaking out my wife.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

Better Off Ted

It took me a couple episodes to latch onto the tone, but once I did I simply couldn’t get enough from this latest product of the mad mind of Victor Fresco. Check out some episodes online, then watch Andy Richter Controls the Universe (his previous show), and I guarantee you some of the oddest network comedy in a very long time. I still think Portia DeRossi is trying to hard, though, and should take a page from the book of Fresco mainstay Jonathan Slavin.

Castle

Bring it on, Nathan Fillion. Hypnotize me with your nostrils and your addictive but borderline-stupid mystery writer-cum-detective series. (Although how weird was that Judy Reyes episode? What the hell, Carla Turk?)

The Celebrity Apprentice 2

So sue me, I liked Joan Rivers. And the addition of the phrase “Whore Pit Vipers” to the television lexicon.

Celebrity Rehab (Sober House) with Dr. Drew

So help me, I can’t stop watching. It’s just a disaster. I will say, though, that I like the drama in the rehab far more than the sober house, as the latter seems to exist simply to destroy any progress the celebrities made in rehab. And now having seen all three of his seasons of Taxi, Jeff Conaway’s fall from grace is fishbowl television at its finest.

Dating in the Dark

Really fun, actually. I hope it gets a second season. I also hope that more matches will be made, and that people stop being massive failures.

Dirty Sexy Money

Everything I needed to say about the failure of the second season of this show can be found on this blog, and it ended its truncated run by turning itself inside-out by revealing that the show’s central mystery, who killed Peter Krause’s father, was a bust since he wasn’t dead after all. What the hell, Dirty Sexy Money? Oh well, your cancellation made room in Krause’s schedule for the much anticipated (by me) adaptation of Parenthood coming to NBC mid-season.

The Goode Family

It took a few episodes to find its footing, but by the end of its sped-up summer run, I was a major fan of the latest Mike Judge effort. (R.I.P. King of the Hill.) Vastly misunderstood by viewers who only watched the first episode, it, just like KOTH, found a middle ground between conservative America and liberal America and found the ability to make fun of both without drawing blood, choosing to love instead of hate. Some of the voice cast was misused (why was my beloved Linda Cardellini in the cast?), but as a Berkeley native, I had a blast relishing in mocking the stereotypes of my own people while rediscovering what it is I love so much about them. The bull dykes were also two of the most original characters of the season.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

The Great American Road Trip

Any show that has two contestants debating over which is more correct, “y’all” or “youse,” gets major points in my book. A nice and forgettable summer trifle after a long, way-too-hot day. Silly, yes, but I can’t say it was bad. And it was a definite improvement over the similar family-based season of The Amazing Race. (I’m sure The Soup is really grateful for this show, too.)

Heroes

Oh god, kill me now. Volume 4 was a marked improvement over #3, for sure, but I just don’t care about anybody anymore. And yet I feel that I need to keep watching. It’s too late to give up now. There was one great episode this season, though, and that was the flashback one surrounding Angela Petrelli’s stint at a mutant internment camp. Why can’t they all be this good?

Howie Do It

Yeah, I watched it. Shut the fuck up. About one-third of it was funny, and as I watched it on Hulu at work, it’s not like I wasted any of my own time. Howie Mandel is savvier than you think, but I wish he would return to his wilder roots.

How’s Your News

This Parker-Stone produced MTV show revolving around reporters who are developmentally delayed confused the hell out of me initially, but once I realized there wasn’t a mean bone in its body it became a warm bit of fun. I want a second season, dammit. These are some of the most joyful television subjects I’ve ever seen.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Better than the first season, but I’m still glad I only watch this online while doing something else.

In the Motherhood

Worst opening credit sequence of the year. Some pretty funny material hidden underneath unfunny slapstick. Horatio Sanz got thin. Megan Mullally couldn’t find a rhythm. I still think Cheryl Hines is oddly hot.

Lie to Me

I unfortunately didn’t start watching this until July, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. While gimmicky to a fault and not nearly as intelligent as it pretends it is, this Tim Roth vehicle about an FBI specialist who studies the subtleties of the face (OF THE FACE) is clever, compelling and well drawn. I’m not sure about the addition of Mekhi Phifer’s character, but we’ll see how it works out next season, especially with Shield creator Shawn Ryan at the helm of season two.

Life

This cancellation reallllly hurts. One of the unsung gems from the 2007-2008 television, this, the smartest network cop show in recent memory, took its great season one energy and hit the second season with all it had and came up with a compelling, hilarious, devilishly clever and gleefully violent run that was only marred by a major cast shift during the final few episodes. (I’m looking at you, Gabrielle Union. Your presence was what I like to call a massive failure.) A Zen-obsessed cop recently released from prison after serving over a decade for a murder he did not commit, this show had the best cases of them all. It also gave me one of my favorite hours of television of the year in an episode that revolved around a seductive assassin, fertilizer and pigeon aficionados. And at least the major serialized storyline (who framed Damien Lewis and why) got paid off in a major way thanks to the ever-reliable Garret Dillahunt.

lifeshot

My Boys

Putting PJ and Bobby together was a great idea, but your nine-episode seasons are too short to gain any momentum, and the spring training season finale was a bust.

Nitro Circus

Moronic glee.

Numb3rs

Man, did they put Charlie through the ringer. First, he nearly gets his brother killed with a miscalculation on his part, he questions his own validity as a mathematician and then Amita gets kidnapped just as he decides that he wants to marry her. Otherwise, another fine, if somewhat uneventful, of this show that never captured the glory of its über-nerdy first season. Also, thanks for all the great guest star work, but sometimes it gets laid on a little too thick, such as in “Sneakerhead” which brought together Bruno Campos, Patrick Bauchau, Dr. Edison from Bones and Eve. (And points for making the Liz Warner character actually bearable. I fucking hated her in season 4.

Privileged

So apparently the CW thought that their best idea ever was to get rid of this show, the smartest show on the UPN/WB merger since the Buffyverse, one that was technically pulling in bigger numbers than 90210, one that was a delight to watch and deeply addictive, and make room for what is sure to be one of 2009-2010’s worst new offerings, Melrose Place. I gotta tell ya, this cancellation hurts. While I wrote recaps and reviews of the episodes way into its freshman (and only) season, the looming axe, as well as a more heavily serialized structure, turned me off from writing on the final stretch of episodes, and I told myself that I’d only recap them if the show came back. Lo and behold, another Joanna Garcia vehicle has gone down the tubes. I’ll miss you oh so dearly, Ms. Too-Smart-For-The-CW Palm Beach satirical melodrama known as Privileged.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

Rescue Me

I thought it was a great season, and thanks to an extended number of episodes (it didn’t air in 2008 thanks to the writer’s strike), the show was able to focus much of its energy on pages-long dialogue-happy battle-of-wits in nearly episode, which to be is melodrama heaven. Gone is the maudlin tone, returned is all the comic energy, and the stories seem to actually progress instead of just flopping around like a dying fish. Leary and Tolan deserve major praise for bringing the show back up to snuff. And now having seen all of Newsradio, I love any chance I get to watch Maura Tierney, although I’m still not going to watch ER. (I am proud to have only seen three episodes of that show ever, being a Chicago Hope fan.) Special shot-out to the Sean cancer storyline, if only to allow Broadway actor Steven Pasquale (husband of Tony winner Laura Benanti) the opportunity to belt out some songs in a handful of hallucination scenes.

Samantha Who?

One of the biggest upsets of the last two years was the rise and fall of this light-hearted, occasionally gut-busting amnesia sitcom that started off the talk of the town, only to waste away its final episodes after the conclusion of the actual television season. Ending on a shitty cliffhanger (Sam’s parents are getting divorced, so Mom is going to live with you and your formerly-estranged-but-now-love-of-your-life lover), we nevertheless found out who caused the accident that brought about Sam’s amnesia, Jennifer Esposito finally made it with the towel boy, and Melissa McCarthy continued to be one of the brightest stars of the year.

Scrubs

Like Privileged, I hesitated to continue writing due to the threat of its cancellation, but now it’s continuing on into yet another season (albeit with some major changes), so I really have no reason to stop writing about it. But let’s just say that while the hurry-up to conclude its many disparate storylines often felt rushed (those two Bahama episodes felt especially odd), the conclusion to J.D.’s years-in-the-telling tale was a lovely way to conclude the season. (No props for the awful awful Peter Gabriel song that accompanied his final walk down the hallway, as laughably bad as it was when I heard it in the remake of Shall We Dance?)

The Shield

I don’t have to tell you how amazing the final season was. Watch it. Seriously. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the hardest hitting cop shows of all time. Like The Wire, a Greek tragedy hammered into modern-day policework with some of the most finely drawn characters around. And oh man, did those final three episodes pack a major punch. Ouch, indeed.

Southland

Quite a bit like The Shield, really, had it followed Michael Jace’s beat cop instead of the Strike Team. A little too dour at times for me to really give a crap, and the sprawling ensemble needs to be cut down (which is what I hear it’s doing for the second season), but this L.A.-centered procedural has a lot going for it, not least of which its pitch-perfect direction. (I especially dig the long shots, including my favorite, which involved a cabin and a K9 unit bringing down a perp.)

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Surviving Suburbia

A sitcom in serious need of finding one tone and sticking with it, this sometimes-sweet-sometimes-brutally-cruel suburban comedy worked as well as it did because of Saget as well as G. Hannelius’ performance as the precocious daughter. Still, all the jokes about disabled people, pregnant teenagers and strip clubs really didn’t mesh together with the clichés of the genre.

Survivor: Tocantins

I love Survivor, but this was one of the most boring seasons in its ten-year run. I don’t think I gave a shit about one person, and I simply couldn’t find anything compelling to write about. A waste of a good location.

True Beauty

The right person won, the losers got (mostly) schooled in this trick show designed to expose the douchery involved in modeling, Ashton Kutcher made another heroin-like show, and I concern myself for months with how they can pull the trick off a second time in the next season.

The Unusuals

When grading a cop show, I tend to focus on three things — the tone, the characters and the cases. A bizarre, pessimistic yet comedic take on all those wacky cops we’ve seen throughout the years all thrown together (one is deathly afraid of…death, one has a brain tumor, one talks in the third person, one is a closeted socialite, etc.) pushed into some remarkably dark territory, The Unusuals had tone and characters down pat, but suffered at the hands of some DOA storylines. But oh man, did the tone ever make up for most of the show’s shortcomings. Great ensemble cast, too, although I would have recast Eddie Alvarez.

Rather unusual.

Rather unusual.

Worst Week

A breezy and often hilarious slapstick comedy based off of a British hit, it could never regain its momentum after moving away from the initial “week” of the title. Kyle Bornheimer is a true find and made the more unbearable misunderstandings and embarrassing moments of the show (of which there were many) all the more palatable. I’m not the biggest fan of comedy based around humiliations, but this show found a likeable ability to have its characters not completely despise each other at every moment. This was, to say the least, very refreshing. Big points for giving me the biggest network TV laugh of the year (when Bornheimer wakes up his brother-in-law only to be thought a murderer) but major negative points for pushing back a major character-based episode into a weekend spot months after the show had already ended its run.

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The Husband:

After four hilarious, heartfelt and slyly subversive years, Everybody Hates Chris has come to an end, and while I wish it could have gone on for years to come, I absolutely understand its cancellation. As Chris Rock, in real life, dropped out of high school at the time that this season ended, the show would have lost its focus, shifting away from the family and his junior high/high school stories and moved into the world of unpopular stand-up, a short run on SNL and then ultimately becoming one of the biggest comedians in the world. But those are stories we already know, and this show was about the stories we didn’t know.

So Rock ended the show the way he wanted to, and in a glorious homage to the Sopranos finale that had every member of Chris’ family sitting in a diner and waiting to open an envelope that would say whether or not Chris was to be held back a year due to excessive tardiness, the screen cut to black. (For those few who are both Sopranos fans and Everybody Hates Chris fans, maybe this ending can prove to you that Tony Soprano was not killed at the end of the series, nor did he live his life, because the answer, as it would be in this context, was both. Conspiracy theory assholes ruining my television blogs with inane chatter.) It was an appropriate ending to a show that never let any of its characters off the hook, a remarkably dark program that still managed to somehow appease the PTC by simply not being vulgar about it. (Although it did condone beating your children on a regular basis, which has always rubbed me the wrong way. It turned into a pretty consistent running gag, though, so I can’t really knock them for that.)

Not hating the ending of Everybody Hates Chris.

Not hating the ending of Everybody Hates Chris.

What episodes hit my chuckle button the most since we last checked in on this show? I loved loved loved Tichina Arnold’s performance in one of the final episodes, “Everybody Hates Tasha,” when she found out that Julius was still technically married to his previous wife thanks to a legal snafu. Arnold is one of the funniest actresses on television now, and I’m hoping for a return to film, but instead of being a singer (see Little Shop Of Horrors) she can be the scene-stealing comedienne.

Other funny episodes included “Everybody Hates Varsity Jackets,” where Chris joined the wrestling team and was only a success because their competition never had anybody in his weight class, “Everybody Hates The Car” which chronicled everything that could have possibly gone wrong with Chris buying his first car, and everything revolving around the pretty woman in the window, which Drew exploited for cash, in “Everybody Hates Boxing.”

The rest, however, were not as great as the show has been in the past, but they can’t all be gems. What worked about this show was tone tone tone, a frothy high about pretty damn serious things. And little things, like casting great character actors from previous African-American based shows such as What’s Happening? and 227, gave the show a considerably welcoming touch. (And if you’re looking to revisit some of those shows, there’s a cable channel, way late in the numbers, called TV One that airs a good deal of this classics in a great chunk each evening. Just say away from the Christian crap in the middle of the night, so don’t forget to turn off your TV before you doze off, lest you get inducted into the faith against your will.) Also a nice touch was having Drew perform at the Apollo during the finale, as he is based on Chris’ brother Tony who has a comedy and television career completely outside of Chris’ shadow.

On the same note as Ms. Tichina Arnold, Tyler James Williams, who carried the entire show on his shoulders this whole time, deserves a long career after this. He’s a star. He’s reliable, he’s adaptable, and he’s hilarious. And he deserves a hell of a lot better than Unaccompanied Minors. (I’m sorry, Paul Feig, I love your TV baby known as Freaks & Geeks and absolutely adore your books, but that was not much of a movie. Why can’t you find better projects for yourself? Grab your Sabrina The Teenage Witch co-stars Melissa Joan Hart and Soleil Moon Frye and make the greatest Woody Allen/Judd Apatow-type female neuroses movie ever.)

And as for you, funny-looking Vincent Martella, you should take all the free time you have now since you’re no longer playing Greg and convince Disney to make a full-length film version of the glorious show you voice for, Phineas & Ferb. The world needs it.

And, of course, Terry Crews is the motherfucking man as father Julius. A former NFL player, he has completely proven himself in every role I’ve seen him in. Now it’s time to rock in some action films in major roles. (It was a major shame to see that his entire role in Terminator Salvation had been cut save for one shot of him as a dead body.) And between this, Idiocracy and Balls Of Fury, you’re a gut-bustingly good comedic actor.

Okay, Everybody Hates Chris. You were a goofy, absurd, heartwarming and raw family show, something that doesn’t really exist anymore, and maybe 20 years ago you would have been a major hit. Unfortunately, you were on UPN and the CW, and the story is different. Your legacy shall live on in syndication, and I’ll catch you every once in a while down the road.

The Wife:

Official: 90210‘s prom was much more prommy than Gossip Girl‘s prom. Let me count the ways! “9 Promtastic Things About This Week’s 90210“:

1. Principal Wilson’s Zero Tolernace Policy. I totally love the video he forced Annie to do to promote his anti-afterparty stance. What else do I love? His message tee: “One party can ruin your whole summer.” Since, you know, anyone caught at an after-prom party serving booze will automatically get summer school, regardless of any alcohol they consume. Silly!

2. Annie’s Geek. Because Liam thinks Annie is a volcano, she accepts when a geeky kid asks her to prom. Later, at prom, when he asks if she’d like to go on another date, she tells him she’s just not interested and that she said yes to his request because it seemed like he really wanted to go with her. Geek mad! Geek yell! Geek would have rather gone with someone else! Geek narcs on Annie to stupid girl who broadcast her afterprom party in earshot of Principal Wilson and stupid girl then yells at any! Prom hath no fury like a geek scorned. Especially a geek in an adorable skull bowtie. (Although, really, if I didn’t have a date to a dance, I would go with someone who wanted me to go with them because I like going to those things and dressing up. Why would anyone have a problem with going to a dance with a girl they like? Even if she isn’t planning to date them afterward? It’s just a dance, not Match.com.)

3. Jen’s spending habits. When Naomi can’t buy three prom dresses because her AmEx Black is maxed out thanks to Jen putting all of the house furnishings and a couture dress to be Matthews’ date to prom on it, Naomi confronts her sister about her spending and she admits to lying about having no money. Well, almost. She tells Naomi she made some bad investments, but that the market is bound to turn around and so she won’t live off her sister forever. And why didn’t she tell Naomi about this? Because she didn’t want her little sister to take care of her . . . except that’s exactly what happened. What? I love Jen because she’s a sociopath, but that argument makes no sense.

At least she looks fierce.

At least she looks fierce.

4. “Poker Face. ” I can’t decide if it was brilliant or idiotic to use that song to highlight Silver’s pre-prom anxiety.

5. Ethan. So, he got accepted to the American Lacrosse Special Jock Summer Training Camp thing, which would be really good for him to do because college scouts will be there. But he doesn’t want to do it. And he doesn’t want to go to prom. Silver convinces him to be excited about at least one of those things and join her and Dixon at prom, but he turns down the lacrosse thing to spend the summer in Montana with his dad. Look, I know he’s not coming back next year, but every time he makes a strange decision, I assume he is one step closer to dying in some horrific way or killing himself. I partially expected him to kill himself at prom. But that’s too dramatic for 90210. He’ll probably just die quietly over the summer, eaten by a bear in Montana like that dude from Grizzly Man. Or, in a less grisly alternative, he’ll love the wilderness so much that he’ll decide to stay in Montana and fly fish every day. Oh, God, now I’m thinking about A River Runs Through It and getting misty. DAMNIT!

6. Navid takes on Ty. And, really, nothing breaks up a fight between your baby daddy and the dude who wants to marry you like going into labor. Perfect timing, Adriana!

7. Kelly’s beef with Jen Clarke. Sooooo . . . Jen hates Kelly not because Jen is now sort-of seeing a dude Kelly slept with once and has apparently never dated again (good job with that storyline, RRKS), but because, back when Jen was in high school, she stole a girl’s term paper and passed it off as her own! Le scandale! What’s more, Kelly wrote her an un-recommendation for Princeton because of that incident in which she assessed that Jen was a narcissist and a sociopath who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. But, you see, Princeton let her in anyway because she was student body president and had good grades and was rich and shit. Also: who the fuck would even ask a guidance counselor for a letter of recommendation? That is the most insane part of that story for me.

8. Liam admits he likes Naomi. After basically spending prom ignoring her and listening to his iPod, he admits he likes her when they explore the backlot and they make out in the conveniently falling snow on a New York stoop. I only care in the sense that I wish I’d been to a high school dance held at Paramount Studios. Because that’s super awesome.

Id also like to not have plastic on my hands!

I'd also like to not have plastic on my hands!

9. Silver for Prom Queen! Ummmmmmmmmmmm! Best speech ever! The old Silver is back! Her write-in for Prom Queen was all part of Dixon’s scheme to get her back to WestBev by proving that everyone still liked her, and it worked, because she also realized that she didn’t want to conform to be liked. Rather than squeezing her feet into Cinderella shoes, she wholeheartedly admitted that she wanted to feel her toes. Best line ever. Best metaphor ever. Too bad Dixon thinks she hates everything he loves now. That dude has gotta stop taking things that don’t mean anything to heart. I mean, jeez, she still went to prom FOR YOU, dawg.

The Husband:

I’ve been on most of the major lots in the Los Angeles area, save for ABC/Disney, and I can say that without question, Paramount is my absolute favorite. While Warner Bros. is too sprawling and 20th Century Fox is too tight (CBS Television City, CBS Studio City, Raleigh and Sony/MGM all fall somewhere in the middle in varying levels amongst many others), Paramount is just right. It’s not too intimidating, but the soundstages also stay very close together so as to give it a very cool community aspect, as if you could wander past several different worlds much better than anything WB can cook up. (Although, at WB, knowing that ER and Gilmore Girls were mere feet from each other was pretty gnarly.) In fact, I did that very thing at Paramount, as I wandered away from a slate press junket to walk past open soundstages, seeing, within a few short minutes, much of the sets for the Lemony Snicket film. And yet, I also know that former UPN-now-CW shows were close by. And so while it’s kind of absurd that the prom would be there, it’s fine that they didn’t even bother to pretend like they don’t film 90210 there.

Hooray for backlots!

Hooray for backlots!

And that backlot is so much less claustrophobic than that at Fox, which you see pretty much every week on How I Met Your Mother. (Yes, it’s a CBS show, but it films at Fox. Creative vs. distribution studio wars are too complicated to get into right now.)

The Husband:

I’ve always been very curious about shows that, according to the Nielsen Ratings, nearly nobody watches, and yet they live year-after-year-after-year. Smallville is one of these, and despite my fluctuating appreciation for the show (I used to love it, now it’s just kind of a habit), I recognize that much of its survival (it’s in its eighth season now) is based off of Warner Brothers wanting to protect its property, as well attain as a guaranteed couple hundred episodes prime for syndication. (Those DVD sales aren’t too shabby, either.) One whose continued existence I really don’t understand, though, is Everybody Hates Chris.

Now, let’s not get off on the wrong foot. I think EHC is a great family sitcom, funny and surreal without being too wild, sweet but not without a sense of bitter life experience, subversive and yet written for the whole family. And I think Rochelle (Tichina Arnold) and Julius (former pro football player Terry Crews) may just be the best parents on television, despite all their shortcomings.

But nobody watches EHC, and it has shifted around at least four times in four seasons, first on UPN and now on the confusing grid that is the CW. Maybe the company just wants to hold onto narrator/producer/inspiration Chris Rock as long as they can, and maybe it’s one of the highest scoring African-American shows out there (a ratings list to which I have no access), but whichever way you swing it, the show is not a ratings success.

Truly, everyone does hate me.

Truly, everyone does hate me.

This season, the show is finally starting to show its seams. Now that Chris (Tyler James Williams) has graduated middle school, he has been thrust only mildly into high school. So far, the writers haven’t really known what to do with the new setting other than make him the manager of the football team, which in itself hasn’t really paid off in any big way, either. Best friend Greg (Vincent Martella, a.k.a. Phineas on Phineas & Ferb) has pretty much been shafted as far as any kind of story is concerned, and so have most of his classmates (save for that one episode where Chris becomes friends with a very effeminate man named Angel). Even Caruso the bully and Ms. Morello the unintentionally racist teacher-turned-principal have barely had any screen time.

This leaves us with the family itself to be the main catalyst for everything, and while Rochlle and Julius have had some great focus in several of the episodes here in s4, especially when they begin to butt heads over gambling for opposite New York football teams, or when Julius begins working for Mr. Omar and his happiness begins to rub Rochelle in the wrong way. But younger brother Drew (Tequan Richmond) and younger sister Tanya (Imani Hakim) have become almost completely irrelevant, either because the actors have other things to do, or that their defining features (his ability to draw in any woman into his orbit, her brattiness) have simply worn out their welcome.

There’s really nothing wrong, per se, with the season, but some of the episodes have seemed to just exist instead of breathing life into the dying form of the sitcom, which is something I felt the show always excelled at. One middling episode was taken apart piece-by-piece in Entertainment Weekly (that one being “Everybody Hates Big Bird,” in which Chris cruelly ignores a pretty cute girl at school because others make fun of her), but I save my disappointment for the very unfunny “Everybody Hates Doc’s,” where Chris goes into a battle of wits with his employer’s needy girlfriend.

There has been one absolute gem of an episode, though, called “Everybody Hates Homecoming,” when Chris finds a very worthy date for the titular dance, but first has to meet her parents. In a combination of homage and mockery, her family turns out to be the Huxtables, with Orlando Jones as Bill Cosby, complete with accent and sweater, spewing lame quips and puns in front of a live television audience. (If you haven’t seen the show yet, EHC is a one-camera non-laugh track show, so the change is especially jarring.) While looking back on a seminal 1980s African-American sitcom with reverence, it nonetheless showed that times have changed and that the rose-colored-glasses world of the Huxtables simply doesn’t fit in the new millennium.

I hope for the best with EHC, because it can continue to be this little cult hit that could someday be seen as a small classic. I just wish that they’d return to the more original tone of the first two seasons and stop relying so much on sitcom clichés. I know you’re better than that, Chris Rock, and that you care enough about the show based on your own life to do something about it.

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