Monday, February 11, 2008

Liking -- Mostly -- "The New Adventures of Old Christine"

Does anybody else like Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her recently-returned-for-a-third-season comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine? For one thing, it's good to have a Seinfeld alumnus with a hit, so props to Ms. Dreyfus for pulling that off, and for getting the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy at the 2006 ceremony.

There have been a lot of things to like about the show since it began, especially Andy Richter's appearances a while back as a sad sack boyfriend, the acerbic and intensely likeable Wanda Sykes as JL-D's colleague, and the loopy and lovable Hamish Linklater (pictured with JL-D) as her brother Matthew (my favorite character). Back this season as Christine's handsome boyfriend is the charming and talented Blair Underwood, and her qualms about dating a man so impossibly gorgeous are at the heart of a lot of great material on TNAoOC. The entire cast is crisp and competent and frequently funny, from Richard Gregg as Christine's ex-husband, to the trio of ladies -- Emily Rutherfurd, Alex Kapp Horner, and Tricia O'Kelly -- who play, respectively, Christine's husband's new girlfriend also named Christine, and the two "mean mommies" who bedevil old Christine whenever she visits her son's school.

Though The New Adventures of Old Christine is consistently funny, I occasionally feel a little bit of an "ick" factor with some of the humor, always related to a sexual joke. I am, as friends will attest, one of the least prudish people in terms of what I think is funny, but I wonder if it's the presence of a kid on the show that bugs me in terms of the sexual content? (I feel the same way about Two and a Half Men, which I think goes beyond ick into smarmy.) This is definitely adult comedy. Even with the occasional fleeting off moment (for me, anyway), the show always delivers smart and often delightfully absurd comedy, thanks particularly to Julia and her great gift for dialogue along with her considerable ease with physical comedy. As a woman of a certain age (she just turned 47 about a month ago), Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine has a whole menu of insecurities to explore, and while the occasional pointed barb is accurately flung, more often than not it's pure comedy that makes this one click.

You have to give kudos to the cast and creative crew behind this one, and to CBS for bringing it back. Along with the popular How I Met Your Mother and my favorite The Big Bang Theory (which is on hiatus right now and boy do I hope it's gonna make the cut for a second season!), Monday nights on CBS are a haven for sophisticated comedy on a par with NBC's Thursday night. How bad can things be when you've got Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey representing TV comedy? Lucy and Ethel would be proud.

Check out the website for The New Adventures of Old Christine at CBS. The show airs Monday nights at 9:30pm. And here's a nice article about TNAoOC co-creator Kari Lizer! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Jane said...

I think she is hilarious and gorgeous and the funniest lady on TV next to Tiny Fey. But the only time I've ever caught this show is when I am trapped on an American Airlines cross country flight and the battery just died on my iPod. Sorry CBS.