"The New Adventures of Old Christine
Mondays, 8:30 p.m., WISH-8
Perhaps you recall the “Seinfeld curse,” the idiotic notion that the actors who starred in Seinfeld were doomed to failure. True, Jason Alexander flopped with Bob Patterson and Listen Up, Michael Richards failed in The Michael Richards Show (and, apparently, in life) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus had the underrated Watching Ellie tank before finding a modicum of success with The New Adventures of Old Christine.
But as we know, the only curse this trio has truly faced is that they continued on without Seinfeld’s writers. Just take a look at Monday, April 23’s episode of The New Adventures of Old Christine (8:30 p.m., WISH-8) and you’ll see what I mean. The plot pieces together two fairly classic sitcom episodes — the one from Friends where Ross marries (or, rather, doesn’t marry) Emily and “The Betrayal” from Seinfeld, in which we find out about Elaine’s relationship with Sue Ellen Mishke’s intended, Pinter.
Did no one involved in the production notice the similarities? It’s not as if the writers swiped ideas from some obscure or forgotten show. We’re talking about two of the most popular sitcoms of the last two decades, each of which can be seen three or four times a day in syndicated reruns. A word comes to mind: pathetic.
Christine certainly has its charms: a wonderful cast that can deliver cutting humor without being nasty; likeable characters you enjoy spending 30 minutes a week with; and a relatable situation (man sheds older wife for Version 2.0 — although Louis-Dreyfus still looks great).
And the writers can write jokes; there are a good half-dozen laughs in this episode, including two hilarious ones based around the unlikely subject of crashing a car into a wedding reception. But if you don’t have fresh plots, even the best actors can’t save your series.
The ratings for Christine are so-so, and it seems questionable whether the show will return next year. If it doesn’t, blame the writing, not the curse. n