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About Last Night: NBC Sitcom References Emmanuel Kant; CBS Sitcom is About Fat Guy with a Hot Wife

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A quick spoilery roundup for Monday, September 19. What did you think about last night? And what’d we miss? Let us know in the comments!

THE VOICE

Do people still care? Do you? We watched for a few minutes to become acquainted with the new judges. Alicia Keys is still fabulous. Miley Cyrus ragged on Blake Shelton. Please let her start shading Adam Levine next.

GOTHAM

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Gotham sometimes morphs effortlessly from awesome and cool to bad and meh. By most accounts, the premiere episode stayed on the cool side. Once Upon a Time‘s Jamie Chung joined the show as reporter Valerie Vale, aunt of future Batman girlfriend Vicki Vale. Fish Mooney returned with an army of escaped villains.

Who are all these villains? There’s Killer Croc – the baddie who debuted in Suicide Squad – going by the name of Ridgeback Monster. There’s Man-Bat, or at least the show’s version of the villain, who sports actual bat wings. There’s Marv, a dude whose touch instantly ages you. There’s also Sid and Nancy (ha!). And that’s not all. There’s a Duplicate Bruce Wayne running around and Ivy falls into a swamp. On the hero side of the ledger, the show has to continue to offer Batman stand-ins since Bruce is still a kid, which is why Gordon has gone full vigilante.

LUCIFER

I legit thought this had been cancelled. Bad blogger.

THE GOOD PLACE

NBC is going out on a very big limb for Michael Schur‘s (Parks & Rec) new comedy about a woman who dies and accidentally winds up in The Good Place. Kristen Bell plays Eleanor Shellstrop, who is mistaken for a lawyer who freed innocent people from death row. In reality, Eleanor was actually A Bad Person who sold fake drugs to old people. That she ended up in The Good Place appears to have been a mistake caused by Ted Danson‘s Michael, the proto-angel who just got a promotion to create his very own neighborhood in The Good Place.

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The first chapter had an amusing explanation of the points system (above) used by The Good Place to determine its membership (politicians, Florence Nightingale and most artists didn’t make the cut). Eleanor’s soulmate, Chris, played by William Jackson Harper, is an ethics professor from Senegal. Chris finds himself with the ultimate ethical quandary: what to do about Eleanor, who confided that in him that she’s not supposed to be there, but really wants to learn how to be a good person. This is a high concept series which actually referenced Emmanuel Kant in its second chapter and it’s like nothing else on TV right now. We are rooting for it.

**UPDATED: As a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, my brain may be suspect, but I see that remaining loyal has scored me 53 points!

KEVIN CAN WAIT

Rights Reserved

On the other end of the spectrum is Kevin Can Wait. Kevin James is a retired cop who longs to spend the rest of his life day drinking and shooting paintball guns from his motorcycle. But his plans are crushed (wah-wah!), when his daughter returns from college with a guy who wears cardigans and wants to make an app. Quick,  jokes about the boyfriend being a wimp, stat!

Meanwhile, James is That Fat Guy with a Hot Wife that CBS is so fond of. He eats large piles of meat, doesn’t want to rake the leaves, doesn’t want to engage with his kids and is definitely the person the audiences are supposed to root for. The Wife (why even give her a name, CBS?) gets to cross her arms and raise an eyebrow at her Man-Child of a husband. You’ve seen all this before, which is why CBS greenlit this show: every episode will feel exactly like some rerun from 1993. Unfortunately, CBS has enough viewership to preserve this horrible collection of tropes for a lifetime, so I’m sure this will be a big hit for the network.

BIG BANG THEORY

Meanwhile, Big Bang Theory is in its tenth season and I still don’t watch it. The show does give work to actors who are far too good for a CBS sitcom, though: last night’s episode featured Christine Baranski, Katey Sagal, Jack McBrayer, Judd Hirsch and Laurie Metcalf. Now there’s a sitcom I would pay to see somewhere – but let’s get real, that “somewhere” would probably be Netflix.

Also shout-out to Laurie Metcalf, who scored a hat trick of three Emmy nominations (Getting On, Horace and Pete, Big Bang Theory), and won for Getting On. It’s her first win since 1994 (Roseanne).

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Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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