TV Land Reviews: 'Cleveland' Still Hot, 'Retired at 35' Not
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
With the huge premiere of Hot in Cleveland over the summer, TV
Land is suddenly a place for more than just reruns of classic sitcoms.
The show earned great ratings and two Screen Actors Guild Award
nominations, making it a genuine phenomenon.
Tonight the show returns for its second season at 10pm, followed by the premiere of another new sitcom, Retired at 35. Objectively, these two should have a lot in common. Both are traditional, old school sitcoms starring sitcom veterans. Both shows even have a former star of Just Shoot Me. But the two are worlds apart when it comes to quality.
Retired at 35 takes the simple premise of a young man quitting his job and moving into his parents' retirement community. With George Segal and Jessica Walter as the parents, the acting talent is definitely there, but the jokes aren't. Instead the show boils down to a bunch of jokes about old people. It's so formulaic that the jokes should be living in the retirement home.
The show is even weaker when standing next to Hot in Cleveland, which returns funnier than ever with a clear purpose. Hot in Cleveland is a love letter to four gifted comedic actresses. Even if you're tired of the Betty White fanfare, there's no denying that the woman is still funny, and she gets the chance to shine in a brilliant reunion with Mary Tyler Moore in the season 2 premiere.
Hot in Cleveland also wins because the show is maturing, highlighted by the expanded role of Wayne Knight as next door neighbor Rick. Knight has been one of those tirelessly funny supporting performers, whether it was on Seinfeld or 3rd Rock from the Sun, and the storyline with his character on Hot in Cleveland promises a lot more of him in season 2.
Watching these two shows back-to-back on TV Land, it's clear that the traditional sitcom isn't dead, but it's also not easy. You can't simply take a few iconic sitcom stars, throw them in a weak premise and hope for the best. The greatest thing I can say about Retired at 35 is that it helps reveal just how genuinely funny Hot in Cleveland really is.
(Image courtesy of TV Land)