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Mexifornia dreamin’

12/23/2015

“Bordertown”Bordertown_Keyart_R3_hires2
Sunday, Jan. 3 (Fox)

Series Debut: “It’s about time we did something about immigration — the Southwest belongs to retired art teachers and meth-lab entrepreneurs!” So begins “Bordertown,” the long-long-delayed animated comedy from “Family Guy” producer Mark Hentemann, with a cultural-consulting assist from Lalo Alcaraz (“La Cucharacha” cartoonist) and Gustavo Arellano (“Ask a Mexican” columnist). “Bordertown” mashes up the Tex-Mex sensibilities of “King of the Hill” with “Family Guy”’s rapid-fire absurdism, as well equal-opportunity skewering of Whitey/Latino relations and conservative/liberal agendas. At the show’s center are Bud (voiced by Hank Azaria), a Fox News-loving American who works as a U.S. border agent in the desert town of Mexifornia, and Ernesto (Nicholas Gonzalez), his immigrant next-door neighbor who’s achieved more in a few years here than Bud has in his entire life. Of all the comedies that have tried to capture the country’s modern dual-cultural reality (sorry, Trump), “Bordertown” comes closest to nailing it, hilariously and even-handedly.

“Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life”
Sunday, Jan. 3 (Fox)

Series Debut: It may have all the quirks of a 1995 network sitcom (20-something “friends” with no apparent jobs, an oddly named lead character who talks directly to the camera, the presence of the word “Guide” in the title, etc.), but “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life” is actually a new Fox comedy — I can tell because it stars Jack Cutmore-Scott (“Kingsmen: The Secret Service”), and the review screener didn’t arrive on a VHS tape. But, despite Cutmore-Scott’s charms and a promising support cast (including Meaghan Rath, Justin Bartha and Liza Lapira, all vets of better shows), this is just a lazy bro-com that’s nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is, like Fox decided the world needs a “thinky” alternative to NBC’s “Undateable.”

“Galavant”
Sunday, Jan. 3 (ABC)

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Season Premiere: If you’re thinking, “Wasn’t this canceled?” or “What’s ‘Galavant’?” or “Wait … is 2015 over already?” or any combination therein, you’re not alone. “Galavant,” a “musical fairytale comedy” (yes, really), debuted in January of last year, blowing out eight back-to-back episodes over four weeks and generating a small buzz with its over-the-top silliness and catchy-as-scurvy song-and-dance numbers. “Galavant” is essentially a live-action Disney cartoon, with borrowed elements from “Monty Python,” “Men in Tights” and “When Things Were Rotten,” and it mostly works. Timothy Omundson (“Psych”) is the series’ beardy MVP as King Richard, and creator/writer Dan Fogelman (“Tangled,” “The Neighbors”) knows how to balance camp and cutting.

“Finding Bigfoot”
Sunday, Jan. 3 (Animal Planet)

Season Premiere: Season 9, that is, which means “Finding Bigfoot” has failed to find Bigfoot in more than 70 episodes now. Not to imply that this show is any more or less abortive than “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” There’s nothing to “keep up” on with the Kardashians, as nothing ever happens on the screen except endless hours of plastic dolts who are barely more “real” than Sasquatch, contributing nada and sucking oxygen. CV

Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: True TV Reviews: Bordertown, Cooper Barrett, Galavant, Finding Bigfoot, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia |

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