CourtneyK looks at ABC’s new TGI….W comedy block

Does anyone else remember TGIF? When PERFECT STRANGERS ruled (who DIDN’T do the Dance of Joy??) and FULL HOUSE made us all wish we had 3 live-in uncles to babysit us. Then that golden age went far, far away, ABC focused more on dramas and brain twisters like LOST and reality train wrecks like DANCING WITH THE STARS (sorry, I’m really, really not a fan [Amrie note:  God, me either…]) leaving the light comedies to other networks and cable to carry.

Well, ABC has finally brought in some big guns for comedy! Wednesday nights have never been this funny. There is a huge block of laugh after laugh now, courtesy of THE MIDDLE (8/7c), SUBURGATORY (premieres tonight at 8:30/7:30c) the Emmy-award winning MODERN FAMILY (9/8c), and, acting as the anchor, [Amrie note: the a-mah-zing] HAPPY ENDINGS (season 2 premieres tonight at 9:30/8:30c).

THE MIDDLE is about a Midwestern family of 5 with normal-ish problems; basically to me this show is a tribute to schadenfreude (people taking pleasure in the misfortune of others…what? I own the Avenue Q soundtrack!) with the Heck family as our loveable born losers. The youngest son, Brick (the adorable Atticus Shaffer) is the biggest standout with his therapeutic whispering and ravenous literary appetite; he’s my favorite by far followed by Sue (Eden Sher) the quintessential awkward teenage girl who really cannot catch a popularity break. I want to hug both of them! The other members of the family are fine, but the youngest siblings get the greatest lines consistently [Amrie note: Axl is amazing].

SUBURGATORY has barely made a blip on the radar. I have seen maybe 2 commercials regarding this new sitcom involving a single dad and his spawn of sarcasm daughter. Starring Jeremy Sisto as dad George Altman, George moves himself and daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) from bustling Manhattan to the suburbs of….somewhere, who really cares?? Semantics! The duo are out of their element in this shiny short skirted community, so naturally the jokes just write themselves. One of my favorite character actors EVER is Alan Tudyk. I’ve been crushing on this pasty-yet-buff actor since 28 Days (think Bullock and rehab, not virus and zombies) and it’s no coincidence that Alan Tudyk has a major following of Browncoats from his Firefly/Serenity days. In SUBURGATORY, Tudyk plays Noah Werner, an old friend of George and to label him as the comic relief is like boldly stating the sky is blue and a boulder is hard. In a show where everyone is funny, Noah is the one with the spray tan; it’s hideous but is central to his character. While understated, SUBURGATORY is one to watch.

Then there’s the golden egg: MODERN FAMILY has back to back Emmy wins and this year both the supporting actor and actress in a Comedy, won by Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell. There’s very little this show can’t do that viewers won’t accept…then, they switched the Darren, I MEAN Becky, I MEAN Lilly! That’s right, they did the unthinkable, and they put the welfare of two young babies ahead of the needs of the viewers. And I say “BRAVO!” Apparently the twins playing Original Lilly weren’t taking to the on-set lifestyle (crying whenever scenes were being shot, not emoting on command) and their parents and presumably producers made the right call. With no notice, we’ve been handed an older more responsive Lilly. Frankly, I do not care. She’s adorable! The show still works. The ensemble is still quirky and hilarious and dead pans to camera with perfection.

Wrapping up the comedy block is HAPPY ENDINGS, which I risk pissing off my thesaurus by gushing about. I love this show. End of line.

All four of these shows are watch-worthy, and with centralizing them to one night, I think ABC is beefing up to take over Wednesday night viewership. With very little to threaten it, I think I hear the bell ringing now, we may have a winner! What do you think? Will you be watching?