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Two sitcoms stand out so far

September 25, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

I've been eagerly anticipating the new fall TV shows that started to air last week.

Although summertime used to mean reruns only, many cable TV networks have launched new series during the summer to help fill in the time for staunch TV viewers like myself. Some of them, such as "Royal Pains," "Necessary Roughness," and "Rizzoli and Isles" have become personal favorites. Others?- like "Suits," "Burn Notice" and the SyFy series "Eureka," "Alphas" and "Warehouse 13" - appeal to Herman and other fantasy-mystery-action-science fiction lovers, but not to me.

As for the new fall shows I've seen so far that appeal to me, two sitcoms stand out. One is "Up All Night" starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as new parents who are stumbling through the ups and downs of baby duties.

I've known from a young age I never wanted to have kids of my own, although I do love kids and tend to react to them on "eye-level basis" rather than as an adult. Since I tend to be on more of a "kindred level" with children, I find they are often drawn to me and open up to me. At the same time, I can well understand the mixed feelings of new parents caught in a supervisory mode with a new baby.

As new parents on the show, Applegate and Arnett are able to show both their love and frustration for their new baby, Amy. The pilot episode showed both parents feeling like they each bore more of the overnight duties than the other one and this looks to be a regular theme that will carry on through the series.

"Free Agents" appears directly after "Up All Night" on NBC, and stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as co-workers who sleep together and try to keep their jobs separate from their love lives.

Both these two shows are set up to display modern sit-com problems in the work life when mixed with personal lives. I can appreciate both story lines purely from the entertainment value, although I can't relate to either as a personal experience.

A renewed series I've been enjoying and looking forward to the changes in is "Two and a Half Men" with Charlie Sheen replaced by Ashton Kutcher. The opening segment shows Charlie Harper's funeral with acerbic comments from the many girlfriends and family members Charlie has offended in his life, much as Sheen's demise went out with some definite mixed feelings all around.

I thought Ashton Kutcher was a great choice to carry on the show with a different spin on the rich babe magnet with a sweeter disposition than the Sheen character, but with much of the same painful effect on Charlie's brother's life of no romance, money or happiness.

As Lisa de Moraes reported in the Washington Post, "Nearly 28 million people caught the expunging of Charlie Sheen from the CBS sitcom last Monday night. That's the long-running sitcom's largest audience - ever."

Apparently, Sheen's loss was mostly his own and not the shows. We'll see if Kutcher and the series crew can keep up the good work.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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