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'That '90s Show' and 'Night Court' breathe life into a dying form – Rolling Stone -
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'That '90s Show' and 'Night Court' breathe life into a dying form – Rolling Stone

‘That ’90s Show’ and ‘Night Court’ breathe life into a dying form – Rolling Stone

Depends on season, the opening credits sequences for night yard and That 70s show lasted between 30 and 40 seconds. Their New Legal Sequels – NBC’s night yard and those of Netflix That 90s show – use intros that are around 15 seconds long, with updated versions of familiar theme songs that are either much less complex (night yard) or greatly accelerated (That 90s show).

On the one hand, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Sitcom credits have gotten considerably shorter since That 70s show debuted 25 years ago, especially on the TV broadcast network, where commercial breaks continue to eat away time for the actual content of each episode. Yet something is wrong with both, in a way that carries over to much of what follows the familiar guitar riffs. Each focuses on the children of the main characters from the originals, and each brings back familiar faces in supporting roles, but none feel quite right.

That 90s show. (L to R) Mace Coronel as Jay, Callie Haverda as Leia Forman, Ashley Aufderheide as Gwen Runck, Reyn Doi as Ozzie, Maxwell Acee Donovan as Nate, Sam Morelos as Nikki in Episode 101 of That ’90s Show. cr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

PATRICK WYMORE / NETFLIX

Let’s start with That 90s show, which just launched its first season on Netflix. This has the participation of 70s show creators Bonnie and Terry Turner, and their daughter Lindsey Turner, though the showrunner and head writer is Gregg Mettler, who wrote for the original series for many years. The series begins in the summer of 1995, approximately 18 years since the series began. Our main character this time is Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), and granddaughter of Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp). Frustrated and lonely after being a good girl all her life, she decides to spend the summer at Red and Kitty so she can finally have friends and experience a teenage rebellion. His new crew includes next door neighbors Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) and Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan), Nate’s smart girlfriend Nikki (Sam Morelos), the sarcastic and semi-closed-off Ozzie (Reyn Doi) and Jay (Mace Coronel) – aka the son of Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis), who keep getting divorced and remarried every few years.

The children of the original series are recurring players at best – Grace, Kutcher, and Kunis are only in the premiere, and Prepon and Wilmer Valderrama appear in a few more episodes. – which makes a good degree of sense. The focus is on this next generation, and Smith and Rupp have always been the most reliable laughs on the original series, and still have those muscles in great shape all these years later. But the new kids are largely forgettable, with Ashley Aufderheide the only one whose facility with verbal or physical comedy seems anywhere in the ballpark of the old band. Because during That70s show

was never a great comedy, its young ensemble was quite remarkable. Grace never proved to be the next Michael J. Fox, career-wise, but her timing and delivery were always impeccable, and Kutcher, Kunis and the others brought much more than was necessarily on the page. . No one is actively bad this time around, but no one is raising soft enough punchlines either. Every once in a while, Smith will be able to have a good rant – “In hell, there’s this room on the way home where the devil spits fire in your mouth,” Red says. “It’s the DMV!” – but not often enough.

Fortunately, Danny Masterson is nowhere to be found and Hyde is never mentioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F36HBFGxWkg The studio audience, meanwhile – or, perhaps, studio audience recordings ofThat 70s show– goes wild whenever someone from the original series appears, whether it’s a full-fledged player like Valderrama, a recurring player like Don Stark or Tommy Chong, or even someone whose I can’t name the presence, but who has appeared a total of six times, and who is much better known for his later work. But the audience’s applause is only occasionally rewarded by all of the ghosts. Grace in particular seems to have either forgotten everything he knows about acting in a multi-camera sitcom after years in movies and now two and a half seasons on ABC’s single-camera.

or he just makes an appearance out of obligation. RelatedThe former seems more likely, simply because multi-camera has largely fallen out of fashion outside of the Disney Channel and Nick sitcoms for kids and tweens. The vast majority of comedies on cable and streaming are single-camera – some pure comedies like What we do in the shadows others mix humor and pathos like Reservation dogs — and network television is even experiencing something of a sitcom renaissance, with two bona fide hits in Abbott Elementary Schooland Ghosts both single cam . There just aren’t many people, either as writers or as actors, who are still skilled and well trained at throwing edits and punchlines on a stage in front of a studio audience in direct. That Smith, Rupp, and some of the other grown-ups can still do that is impressive, and there are occasional inspired bits, like a stoned Leia imagining her grandparents as 8-bit video game characters, or a Beverly Hills, 90210parody with one of the original actors in a deliberately bad wig. It’s not enough to keep That

90s show to feel like being presented in a foreign language that only a few people involved can speak fluently, rather than pronouncing the words phonetically. That said, there still seems to be an appetite for the form from the public. Tuesday night series premiere of night yard was NBC’s most-watched first comedy since the return of

will and grace

in 2017. At this rate, a

Carolina in the city is the revival far behind? NIGHT COURT – Episode 101 “Pilot” – Pictured: (lr) Melissa Rauch as Abby Stone, John Larroquette as Dan Fielding Jordin Althaus/NBC/Warner Bros.The two main players in night yardare themselves versed in the rhythms of the multi-camera. Star and executive producer Melissa Rauch spent a decade as Bernadette on

The Big Bang Theory

and John Larroquette won four Emmys for his role in the original

, and spent four more seasons running his own self-titled NBC sitcom. It’s no coincidence, the main reasons to watch the sequel series, which has occasional moments, and a pretty good episode (the fifth, which takes place on the night a blood moon brings a peculiar madness to the court) which truly evokes the anarchic feel of the Harry Anderson-directed version. Rauch, using her normal voice rather than Bernadette’s high-pitched squeal, is Abby Stone, daughter of Anderson’s Harry. After growing up and working upstate, she moved to New York to preside over her father’s old courtroom and recruited misanthropic former Larroquette prosecutor Dan Fielding to return to the work, this time to represent the defendants. It’s a reasonable setup. Dan has had to be significantly transformed from the misogynistic user of women he was in the 80s and 90s, and while he largely looks like a new character, Larroquette remains incredibly well suited to the specific demands and challenges. multi-camera. Rauch, meanwhile, is gregarious and enthusiastic enough to bring up Anderson. She is unfortunately bothered by the fact that Dan is no longer the only character who does not want to be there. Court Clerk Neil (Kapil Talwalkar) and District Attorney (India de Beaufort) clearly have their sights set on better things, which leaves Bailiff Gurgs (Lacretta) as the only character other than Abby who seems to be genuinely having fun in this frame.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEOeJEFKs0E Half the fun of the old show was the feeling that it was all one ridiculous party that the viewer could visit once a week. Without, say, the presence of cheerful hype like the late Charles Robinson as Harry Mac’s clerk, that contagious spirit is absent. So when things get more cartoonish – say, Neil dresses up like an extra from

Fat

in a misguided attempt to endear herself to Abby’s mother ( Murphy Brown alum Faith Ford, also demonstrating well-rehearsed multi-camera chops in a guest appearance) — he feels dumb in a way he wouldn’t have over 30 years ago. Tendency The multi-camera was a difficult and unforgiving beast to tame even in the 90s, when there were so many of them. It’s even harder now that the format has shrunk so much. Credit these two for at least offering genuine links to the originals – as opposed to the deservedly short-lived, totally unrelated

That 80s show — but like most of the revival and reboot trends that have consumed TV over the past decade, they exist much more to exploit a familiar brand than because they’re good enough to exist on their own. But hey, at least someone in the night yard the pilot has to say, “Maybe I’m really Gary Buttmouth!” The first season of

This ’90s show is now streaming on Netflix; I’ve seen all 10 episodes. Night Court airs Tuesdays on NBC; I saw the first six episodes.