Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

CBS’s classic heartfelt comedy hit parade runs from The Honeymooners in the 1950’s, through The Andy Griffith Show in the 60’s, All in the Family in the 70’s, M*A*S*H in the 70’s and 80’s, Everybody Loves Raymond in the 90’s and into the 2000’s, the recently-ended Big Bang Theory through the blessedly still-running Young Sheldon and Mom. All of those shows are absolute classics that stand the test of time and among the best series the medium has ever produced. They expertly balanced laugh-out-loud comedy with genuine heart. They also somehow managed to impart life lessons and wisdom without (usually) coming across as preachy. Sure, there have been other such classics on other networks (NBC’s Frasier immediately comes to mind) but, as a network, I think it’s fair to say that CBS has produced more than its fair share of the greats.

This week the network introduced three new sitcoms hoping to join that pantheon. So, how do they measure up? My thoughts:

Bob Hearts Abishola (Mondays, 8:30 PM ET)

IMHO: Of the three sitcoms CBS premiered this week, this one is the strongest out of the gate. Be warned, there are moments in the first episode where Bob (nicely played by Mike & Molly’s Billy Gardell) seems dangerously close to coming across as a stalker, though he does nothing that hasn’t been portrayed as cute in countless pre-Me Too era romcoms. But that, perhaps, culturally out-of-step aspect of the script doesn’t erase the show’s laugh-out-loud moments and positive potential to portray both the American immigrant experiences through the eyes of Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku) and her family and a growing affection between two people of diverse backgrounds. Plus, the fact that Chuck Lorre, producer behind the aforementioned classics Young Sheldon, Mom and The Big Bang Theory is behind the show can’t hurt. I’m definitely on board for more.

The Unicorn (Thursdays, 8:30 PM ET)

IMHO: Gag me with a spoon. I can’t begin to express how annoying I found these characters and the subtly insulting premise that a decent man is so rare that he’s like a unicorn.  Besides that, I actually fell asleep during the pilot. The worst part is they scheduled this smug mess between Young Sheldon and Mom, the two best scripted shows currently on network television.  Did you get that I don’t like this show?

Carol’s Second Act (Thursdays, 9:30 PM ET)

IMHO: A great premise that I suspect would work better as a half-hour single-camera dramady. The idea of an older woman who decides to become a doctor is really appealing and works as sort of the flipside of the classic Steven Bochco/David E. Kelley show Doogie Howser, MD (about a teenage medical prodigy who becomes a doctor).
However, the multicam format doesn’t quite work (so far) for this particular premise. Patricia Heaton (of the classic Everybody Loves Raymond) as Carol Kenney, Loyola Memorial Hospital’s oldest new doctor is, as usual, exceedingly likable and so is her mostly younger cast of characters (Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlanas as veteran doctor Stephen Frost being the exception regarding age) .
One suggestion I would have made if anyone asked, would have been to write Carol as a widow rather than divorced. While the former situation may provide a sitcomey punchline or two, there would have been more compelling character motivation if her husband had died at the hands of a cold medical system – with that having  inspired her to become a doctor.

In any event, there’s some good potential here – and the show is well-paired with Mom. I’m going to give this one a chance to grow on me.

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard on impeaching President Trump.
IMHO:
Gabbard shows a restraint and balanced wisdom that is, unfortunately, in short supply from either Trump or the majority of his Democratic opponents.