Friday, April 5, 2013

Favorite Episodes: The New Adventures of Old Christine

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

This is another show that I only heard about in passing and didn't come to watch until it had already ended. The New Adventures of Old Christine just didn't sound like it would be any good... judging only by the title. After I found out who was in it (Wanda Sykes, hello!), I gave it a try one morning when it came on Lifetime after Will & Grace. I ended up getting hooked and was watching reruns for two hours a day. It took me a while to catch all of the episodes, mostly because the reruns came on at inconvenient times and I, for whatever reason, decided not to try collecting them via DVR. This also meant that I saw a lot of things out-of-order, because I was essentially watching two different timelines of episodes that eventually caught up to where the other left off.

The show is actually very funny... and I'm glad that they cast Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the role (for which she won an Emmy, so I'm not the only one who thinks she's great here!), as she's really able to play the craziness of Old Christine well. Her character starts the series divorced with a school-age son. Her brother has moved in with her and she is struggling with her husband having a new, much younger, woman in his life. The five seasons only cranked out 88 episodes, which is on the low side, but there sure are some hilarious episodes! Now, let's take a look at the winners...
Season 1: "Teach Your Children Well" (S01E08): This was tough to choose, as there are some gems in the short first season, including "The Other F Word" and "Some of My Best Friends are Portuguese." But, in "Teach Your Children Well," Christine wants to have a great party for Ritchie, so he'll fit in more with the other children at his private school. But, she can't afford a fancy party with celebrity cameos, so she has the kids do a craft and clean the house under the guise of a "treasure hunt." She considers the event a success, even if the children didn't receive the elaborate goodie bags to which they've become accustomed at the parties of their peers. Watch episode on Amazon. Buy first season on Amazon.

Season 2: "Faith Off" (S02E19): I really liked the Marly and Lindsay characters throughout the series, and I think this is the second episode where they are the ones making the story hilarious (the first being "Crash," earlier in the season). Lindsay hires Richard to remodel her bathroom, but because he used to be a slacker, Christine is obsessed with making sure that her ex does a good job, fearing being further ostracized from the other mothers at school. But, he's gotten good at what he does, and she winds up ruining it when she tries on Lindsay's clothes. Plus, Matthew visits Home Depot for the first time, in awe at the power of tools. Watch Episode on Amazon. Buy second season on Amazon.

Season 3: "House" (S03E07): [remember, this was the shortest season because of the writer's strike] This episode is a bit over-the-top, but I still like it. Christine is working on being happy, but it becomes increasingly difficult when Richard and New Christine buy a house together - not just any house, either... the one that Christine had dreamed of owning when she and Richard were first married. She tries to keep it together but just can't manage after a while. Watch Episode on Amazon. Buy third season on Amazon.

Season 4: "Too Close for Christine" (S04E17): I had to remember my old rule of not choosing holiday episodes, otherwise "Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner" may have taken this slot. This episode stands out to me because both storylines are hilarious. On one hand you have Matthew living with Richard and New Christine, only he struggles to live under the many strict rules New Christine imposes, like how fancy they dress for dinner. On the other, you have Barb tired of entertaining Christine, so Christine enjoys entertaining Francie, the mother of one of Ritchie's friends. However, when Francie soon starts being needier than Christine can handle, she turns to Barb for help anyway. View on Watch Episode on Amazon. Buy fourth season on Amazon.

Season 5: "Up in the Airport" (S05E17): "Subway, Somehow" makes me laugh SO HARD, but "Up in the Airport" is just a tiny bit better. Christine feels bad when Ritchie hasn't been to nearly as many places as his peers, so she arranges a family vacation to Florida, which she believes is in another country. New Christine, who uses umpteen thousand miles for the trip, forgets her wallet, and Old Christine tries to get her past security anyway. They wind up missing their flight, and their next option involves a very long trip with multiple layovers... on a sober airline. New Christine ends up not getting to go on the trip, joining Barb in peace for only a short while, as the family gives up on the trip. In the end, however, Barb and Christine drive Ritchie to the Mexican border so he'll have a country to "pin."  Watch Episode on Amazon. Buy fifth season on Amazon.
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