Previews: The new Fox comedies
One of those truly lame sitcoms Fox seems to come up with about five times as often as its truly inspired sitcoms. Remember, the same network that gave us "The Simpsons" and "Arrested Development" was also responsible for "The War at Home" and "Nuked."Some minorly funny ideas floating around here -- 4 o'clock happy hour being pretty appealing more days than not -- but the acting, writing and laugh track are all subpar.
This is the kind of sitcom I absolutely hate: Ugly guy, hot wife, laugh track and cheap humor about marital discord. "According to Jim" is not a model for anyone to follow. So understand how difficult it is for me to say this: "'Til Death" is the best new sitcom of the year. Brad Garrett (Ray's brother from "Everybody Loves Raymond" is very good as the disillusioned history teaching hubby. Joely Fisher plays his not so understanding wife. And Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch from the "American Pie" trilogy) is surprisingly effective as the not-so-naive neighbor next door. The writing is occasionally outstanding, playing off of sitcom cliches instead of conforming to them.
When Rob Corddry, formerly of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," first shows up on screen, I was tempted to stand up and applaud. It didn't hurt that it's a pretty funny scene. From there, however, "The Winner"is a wildly uneven ride. Mixing voice-overs from future Rob, a la "How I Met Your Mother," with some Chris Elliott arrested adolescent humor (Corddry plays a 32-year-old living at home), "The Winner" veers between ancient sitcom tropes and a few offbeat laughs. The real winner here, though, is Keir Gilchrist, the kid who plays Corddry's next door neighbor's son. He's just as uneven as the rest, but he manages to steal a few scenes from his elders. I'd like to say this one has potential, but there's really nothing here to make me stick around to see how it develops.