It’s hard to believe that a sitcom as funny as The New Adventures of Old Christine doesn’t get more notice. Yes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won a 2006 Emmy for her work on the show, which last night had an episode that somehow managed to wring fresh laughs out of familiar sitcoms subjects such as child-birth (New Christine’s a mom: it’s a girl, Dakota) and the old male-stripper-dressed-as-a-cop bit (except he wasn’t a stripper, he was actually a policeman looking for a neighborhood intruder).
But Louis-Dreyfus has had to endure indignities both small (such as having her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame misspelled two days ago) and large: CBS is so uncommitted to this show, my colleague Michael Ausiello had to characterize Old Christine‘s chances of renewal as “could go either way” on his Renewal Scorecard.
As it proved once again last night, Old Christine remains both extremely amusing and distinctive. Louis-Dreyfus’ Christine Campbell is a suburban wreck — a wine-guzzling, under-achiever who can never seem to get it together. Last night, she mistook that cop for a stripper (side-note: he was played by Josh Randall, who used to be the best-pal on Ed, remember?), one of many embarrassments Christine by now endures with comic exasperation.
The subplots included New Christine (the wonderfully blank-faced Emily Ruthurfurd) giving birth to her child with Christine’s ex, Richard (Clark Gregg, with his magnificently smarmy smile). Also, Christine’s brother, Matthew (Hamish Linklater gives him a grave intelligence), having struggled to move out of Christine’s house, found himself being pulled back into her loser-orbit.
The series, created by Kari Lizer, is a sustained portrait of a middle-aged woman at loose ends, plus slapstick. It’s like no other sitcom on the air.
Hey, I love Modern Family and 30 Rock, too. But don’t you think The New Adventures of Old Christine deserves some attention and praise, too?