The laugher curve

Fall comedies: How do Chris Rock, Heather Graham, Ricky Gervais and NBC's new "Friends"-alike score?



Heather Havrilesky
September 14, 2005 7:52PM (UTC)

We told you about the fall season's new dramas, and focused specifically on the shows determined creep you out. But what about the new sitcoms? There are plenty of established names (and a few really deliver), but will they break as big as Raymond or Roseanne?

SHOW PREMISE STARS TYPICAL JOKE CRUX OF THE STORY FUNNY?
Fox's "The War at Home" A modern, less funny Archie Bunker Michael Rapaport Dad to son, who's visiting a friend's house: "Is that the kid whose mom just had a boob job? Call me when you need a ride home!" "Aren't teens nutty?" A little
NBC's "Thick and Thin" Thin sister and fat sister discuss dieting constantly Jessica Capshaw, Sharon Gless Fat sister: "That soup was goooood." Waiter: "That was barbecue sauce." "I ate the whole box!" No
UPN's "Love, Inc." Female matchmakers teach men to get women Busy Philipps, Holly Robinson Peete "Our job is to put couples together, but we're both alone!" "Yeah, let's not put that on the commercial." "Aren't men pathetic? So then why can't I find one?" Painful
WB's "Twins" A smart, plain twin and a dumb, hot twin! Sara Gilbert, Melanie Griffith "Mitchy, stop. We're twins. One of us has to be the evil one." "Don't brains matter?" "Look at my ass!" Almost
ABC's "Freddie" Dumb cheeseball lives with his extended family Freddie Prinze Jr., Brian Austin Green "Dude, I just hit on your sister and she gave me a riddle!" "'Go away?' in the form of a question, is not a riddle." "Can't dumb guys get laid, too?" Ooof
HBO's "Extras" Unsuccessful actors try to win roles Ricky Gervais "Who are we using for the girl by the carriage? This one? Oh no. I said I needed some decent tits, and they're rubbish." "Actors deserve constant humiliation." Yes
CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" "Friends"-alike in which bland guy seeks love Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris "Son, when you go on a first date, you really don't want to say 'Smurf penis.'" "Dating sucks, but it all works out in the end!" Not yet
ABC's "Hot Prop- erties" Three hoochie mamas run a real estate business Gail O'Grady, Evan Handler "You're lucky! The only times I ever hear from my old boyfriends is when they star-69 me." "Some sluts go on to become successful business- women!" Never
CBS's "Out of Practice" A zany family of doctors locks horns Stockard Channing, Henry Winkler "You need to get out. You're bored, you're between girlfriends." "Trust me, if I were between girlfriends, I wouldn't be bored." Doctors without (healthy emotional) borders. Sometimes
NBC's "My Name Is Earl" Screw-up attempts to reverse bad karma by paying it forward Jason Lee, Jaime Pressly "Some people might think gettin' so drunk you accidentally marry a woman who's six months pregnant is a good reason to stop drinking. Personally, I think it's a good reason to keep drinking." "Everything's funnier when you're a no-account bozo who lives in a motel!" Often
ABC's "Emily's Reasons Why Not" Desperate, irritating single white female seeks Mr. Right Heather Graham "He has a subscription to Martha Stewart Living!" "Holy implied homosexuality!" "Can't dumb, annoying, unfunny women get laid, too?" Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch...
Fox's "Kitchen Confid-ential" Former alcoholic/ horndog chef starts a hot new restaurant Bradley Cooper "Look at this veal. This veal is gorgeous. If I were another veal, I would be making love to this veal." "I'm not a nice guy, but I'm cute and I make a mean beef tenderloin." Not all that funny, but pretty fun
UPN's "Every- body Hates Chris" Chris Rock as a kid, growing up with no money, getting his ass kicked regularly. Say no more! Chris Rock (narration), Tyler Williams Rock's dad, who always knew exactly how much wasted food cost: "That's 49 cent of spilt milk drippin' all over my table. Somebody gonna drink this milk!" "Being a kid sucks!" Very very funny

Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky.

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