Fall TV Tips: The Sitcoms About Offices

Monday, August 30 by

Last week’s breakdown of the new fall TV shows focused on sitcoms about couples. This week I’m sticking with the funny shows, but looking at the ones that are set in the workplace. There are surprisingly few of these — two to be exact — but one is worth checking out. While the other you might want to call in sick for.

WATCH IT: “Mr. Sunshine” (ABC), Midseason

Matthew Perry is back after “Studio 60” was cancelled with just one season on the air. Well, this show is kinda sorta “Studio 60 Volume II." Perry stars, writes and produces this single-camera comedy about the manager of a San Diego arena and all the hijinks that go on inside — and outside — of it. This is so “Studio 60”-ish because of the people Perry put in to place to work the show. Former co-stars on the show, Allison Janney and Nate Torrence are in “Mr. Sunshine” and Thomas Schlamme, who directed much of “Studio 60," directed the pilot.

For those of you that missed “Studio 60," do yourself a favor and rent it. It was great TV and too smart for much of the viewing public. Which is why it is no longer on the air. “Mr. Sunshine” has the same feel but infuses a bit more of Matthew Perry’s style of humor which is why this one is a show to watch…and one that looks like it will make it more than one season.

SKIP IT: “Outsourced” (NBC), Thursdays at 9:30 pm (ET)

Seriously, I want to like this one. I have long been a fan of at least two shows on NBC’s must see TV Thursday nights. I’m talking, all the way back to early “Seinfeld” days. I’m down with NBC’s current lineup on Thursdays, but everything I have seen, read, or heard about “Outsourced” has had me actually checking the schedule to see what else I could be watching instead (I decided I would TiVo “The Office” and “Nikita” at 9pm and watch “Fringe live on FOX).

“Outsourced” is a one-joke sitcom — critics’ words, not mine — about an American office manager assigned to a call center in Mumbai, India. It’s a culture clash, been-there-done-that comedy that seems to lack comedy. The previews have certainly shown that. Not once have I laughed or even considered recording it. And although I don’t always agree with critics, they are bashing the hell out of this crapfest. Avoid it and cross your fingers that “Parks & Recreation” continues building on its strong finish when it returns midseason.

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