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

Depending on season, the credits sequences for Night court and That 1970s show ran between 30 and 40 seconds. Their New Legacies – NBCs Night court and that of Netflix Which 90s show – use intros that are about 15 seconds long, with updated versions of well-known theme songs that are either much less complicated (Night court) or greatly accelerated (Which 90s show).

On the one hand, this should come as no surprise. Sitcom credits have since drastically shortened Which 70’s show debuted 25 years ago, particularly on broadcast TV, where commercial breaks continue to eat up time for the actual content of each episode. Still, something doesn’t feel right in either case, in a way that carries over into most of what follows the familiar guitar riffs. Each revolves around children of the main characters of the originals, and each brings back some familiar faces in supporting roles, but neither feels 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. kr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

PATRICK WYMORE/NETFLIX

Let’s start with Which 90s show, which just premiered its first season on Netflix. This one has the involvement of 70’s show creators Bonnie and Terry Turner, plus their daughter Lindsey Turner, though the showrunner and head writer is Gregg Mettler, who wrote for the original series for years. The series begins in the summer of 1995, about 18 years after the start of the series. 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 a lifetime of being a good girl, she decides to spend the summer with Red and Kitty so she can finally have friends and experience her adolescent rebellion. Her new crew includes neighbors Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) and Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan), Nate’s smart girlfriend Nikki (Sam Morelos), the sarcastic and closeted Ozzie (Reyn Doi) and Jay (Mace Coronel) — aka as the son of Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis), who keep divorcing and remarrying every few years.

The kids from the original show are recurring players at best — Grace, Kutcher, and Kunis are alone in the premiere, and Prepon and Wilmer Valderrama pop up in a few extra episodes – which is quite logical. The focus is on this next generation, plus Smith and Rupp were always the most reliable laugh-catchers of the original show, and still have those muscles in tip-top shape all these years later. But the new kids are largely forgettable, with Ashley Aufderheide the only one whose facility of verbal or physical comedy seems somewhere on the fringes of the old group. Because while Which70’s show

was never a great comedy, the young ensemble was quite remarkable. Grace never turned out to be the next Michael J. Fox, career-wise, but his timing and delivery were always impeccable, and Kutcher, Kunis, and the others delivered far more than what was necessarily on the page. No one is actively bad this time around, but no one elevates some pretty lame punch lines either. Occasionally Smith will be able to give a good tirade – “Down in hell, there’s a room on the way back where the devil shits fire in your mouth,” declares Red. “That’s the DMV!” — but not nearly often enough.

Fortunately, Danny Masterson is nowhere to be seen, nor is Hyde ever mentioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F36HBFGxWkg The studio audience meanwhile – or maybe recordings of the studio audience ofWhich 70’s show– goes berserk whenever anyone from the original show shows up, whether it’s a full cast member like Valderrama, a returning player like Don Stark or Tommy Chong, or even an actor whose presence I’m not allowed to mention, but who’s appeared a total of six times appeared , and who is much better known for his later work. But the applause of the audience is only occasionally rewarded by all the returnees. Grace in particular seems to have either forgotten everything he knows about acting in a multi-cam sitcom after years in movies and now two and a half seasons on ABC’s single-cam

or he’s just doing the cameo out of a sense of obligation. RelatedThe former seems more likely simply because multi-cam has largely gone out of style outside of Disney Channel and Nick sitcoms for kids and tweens. The vast majority of comedies on cable and streaming are single-cam – some pure comedies like What we do in the shadows others like mixtures of humor and pathos Reserve Dogs — and broadcast network TV is even experiencing something of a sitcom renaissance, with two real hits coming in Abbot Elementary Schooland Ghosts both single cam . There just aren’t many people, either as writers or as actors, who are still adept and well-practiced at swinging set-ups and punchlines onto a stage in front of a live studio audience. That Smith, Rupp, and some of the other adults can still do it is impressive, and there are the occasional inspired bits, like a stoned Leia imagining her grandparents as 8-bit video game characters, or a Beverly Hills, 90210parody featuring one of the original actors in a deliberately bad wig. It’s just not enough to keep Which

90s show of feeling like it’s being presented in a foreign language that only a few people involved can speak fluently, rather than pronouncing the words phonetically. That said, it seems the public is still hungry for the form. Tuesday night’s series premiere Night court was NBC’s most-watched comedy debut since the return of

Will and grace

in 2017. At this rate, a

Caroline in the City revival lag far behind? NIGHT COURT — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: (lr) Melissa Rauch as Abby Stone, John Larroquette as Dan Fielding Jordin Althaus/NBC/Warner Bros.The two protagonists op Night courtare themselves well versed in the rhythms of multi-cam. Star and executive producer Melissa Rauch spent ten years as Bernadette

The big bang theory

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

, and spent four more seasons fronting his own self-titled NBC sitcom. It’s, not coincidentally, the main reasons to watch the sequel series, which has occasional moments, and a pretty good episode (the fifth, set on the night a blood moon brings peculiar craziness to court) that really make it evokes anarchic feel of the Harry Anderson-led version. Rauch, using her normal speaking voice instead of Bernadette’s high-pitched squeak, is Abby Stone, daughter of Anderson’s Harry. After growing up and working upstate, she has moved to New York to run her father’s old courtroom, and recruits Larroquette’s misanthropic ex-prosecutor Dan Fielding to return to work, this time as a representative of the defendants. It’s a reasonable setup. Dan had to be significantly transformed from the misogynist he was in the 1980s and 1990s, and while it largely feels like a new character, Larroquette remains incredibly suited to the specific demands and challenges of multi-cam. Rauch, meanwhile, is gregarious and eager enough to summon Anderson. She’s sadly hampered by the fact that Dan is no longer the only character who doesn’t want to be there. Both Clerk Neil (Kapil Talwalkar) and Prosecutor (India de Beaufort) have clearly set their sights on better things, making Bailiff Gurgs (Lacretta) the only character other than Abby who really seems to be having a good time in this setting.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEOeJEFKs0E Half the fun of the old show was feeling like this was all one ridiculous party the viewer was allowed to visit once a week. For example, without the presence of a fun-loving hype man like the late Charles Robinson as Harry’s clerk Mac, that infectious spirit is absent. So when things get more cartoonish, say, Neil dresses up as an extra from

Fat

in a misguided attempt to be loved by Abby’s mother ( Murphy Brown alum Faith Ford, who also demonstrates well-honed multi-cam chops in a cameo appearance) — it feels silly in a way it wouldn’t have more than 30 years ago. Popular Multi-cam was a difficult, unforgiving beast to tame, even in the 1990s when there were so many of them. It’s even harder now that the size has shrunk so much. Give these two credit for at least providing real ties to the originals – as opposed to the rightly short lived, totally unrelated

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

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

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