I'm always a little surprised by how much I end up enjoying most episodes of CBS's Old Christine. I usually have an ingrained abhorrence of traditional multi-cam sitcoms (laugh tracks make me itch) but, when it comes to the misadventures of the supremely self-absorbed Christine Campbell, I just can't help myself.
Last night's episode ("Friends") was no exception, as Christine, ex-hubby Richard, brother Matthew, and BFF Barb (played with delight by the incandescent Wanda Sykes) head off on a road trip to stay close to weird little moppet Ritchie, away on a camping trip, his first night away from home, under the watchful (if terrified) eye of Jane Lynch (I can't help but love anything with Lynch in it).
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes, and Jane Lynch in one place? Consider it comedic karma for Old Christine consistently managing to stay above the multi-cam comedy ilk. It might not be on the same level as Arrested Development, The Office, or 30 Rock, but I can't help but roll on the floor with laughter when I watch this show.
I loved the scene in which Christine gives Ritchie a walkie-talkie to communicate with her and kisses him repeatedly before she's pulled away from her son, while Marly tells her daughter that she'll be at the Golden Door Spa where "there are no phones" before disappearing and Lindsay's daughter is forced to console her mom, who will be lonely at home with her husband. Cue Lindsay and Christine both waving to the departing bus for very different reasons.
While Ritchie ends up camping in the desert, the foursome end up at a rundown motel. Richard realizes that New Christine has left him and moved on to another guy, and he and Christine end up sleeping together, not because they've rekindled their romance but because it's just "pure sex" between friends.
Barb and Matthew, meanwhile, are forced to spend the night together after Barb's car breaks down in the middle of the desert during a snack run. Matthew's feelings for the unhappily married Barb have resurfaced, and they're forced to share an especially cozy sleeping bag for warmth, resulting in an extremely funny exchange between the two in which Barb hopes that a snake has entered their sleeping bag.
Despite loving the chemistry of the newly minted foursome, I do miss New Christine (Emily Rutherfurd), after all. As much as you want to dislike the woman who replaced Christine in Richard's heart, it's hard not to fall for her. And, despite her somewhat loopy behavior, she's the perfect foil for the selfish Christine. I'm hoping that the series' producers haven't written New Christine out completely and that a reconciliation between New Christine and Richard is around the corner.
What do you think: should Richard end up with ex-wife Christine or with new love New Christine? Or better still: should the show's producers give us what we really want and put Matthew and Barb together as a full-blown couple? Find out next week on the second half of Old Christine's two-part season finale.
Next week on the season finale of Old Christine ("Frasier"), Christine learns that her reckless evening of passion with Richard may have irreversibly damaged her chances of getting together with Ritchie's teacher, Mr. Harris (Blair Underwood).
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions junior exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.