Fall Television: A Different Kind of Comedy

by The Cowl Editor on September 13, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

by: Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff

For many, the beginning of the fall season marks the transition towards cooler weather and the return of pumpkin spice everything. The end of summer, however, gives us an influx of new and returning television premieres. 

A promotional shot for the latest season of the FX show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Among the many shows that will be returning to television this season is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which premiered its 13th season on Sept. 5. These new episodes are available after a long hiatus due to cast scheduling conflicts. The show, which has been running on FX and FXX since 2005, has already been renewed for a 14th season. 

The newest episode of the series guest stars Mindy Kaling . Appeal for It’s Always Sunny, however, is moreso derived in the crude, and often dysfunctional nature of the show’s recurrent characters. This, coupled with plotlines that incorporate current political and social issues, has allowed the series to continue. 

An article from the New Yorker states, “Wednesday’s premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is back for its thirteenth season, is a reminder that there’s still a place for comedy—hilarious, grotesque, delirious, pointless comedy.” This particular season debut, entitled ”The Gang Makes Paddy’s Great Again,” incites a direct allusion to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” 

Another comedy series that returns on Sundays this fall is Showtime’s original, Shameless. Coming up on its ninth season, this show, like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, has generated much of its popularity based on the type of comedy it presents viewers with. The show’s main protagonists, the Gallagher family, are arguably just as dysfunctional as “the gang;” this element is something that viewers of both shows genuinely like to see. 

Specifically, for Shameless, this season will see the last of Fiona played by Emmy Rossum, shifting focus towards William H. Macy as Frank. It is unknown how the show is going to continue going forward, but it is likely that season nine is going to encompass much more of the gritty antics that fans have seen in past episodes. 

“We’ve been watching these characters grow up. We get to tell these stories of people becoming adults—and, of course, Frank, who is never planning on being an adult,” said John Wells, the showrunner of Shameless, to Entertainment Weekly. 

Netflix is also playing into the “dark comedy” genre, with the animated series, Bojack Horseman. Season five is set to air on Sept. 14, starring Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, and Amy Sedaris. Like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Shameless, Bojack Horseman tackles current issues in a satirical fashion and also deals with addiction and depression. 

All three shows boast a well-rounded cast and this too has impacted the longevity of each. The writers of these shows have been able to adapt over the years and ultimately provide content that audiences continue to watch.