The New Adventures of Old Christine (***)

Posted on March 3rd, 2006 in Television by EngineerBoy

So, I really like Seinfeld. On average I probably watch 5-7 episodes each week. The more I watch it the more I appreciate it…you have to watch it for several years to *get* the intricate weave of characters and storylines over the years. It was self-referential without being self-conscious, and it was funny. FUNNY. Sure, there are some episodes or plotlines that I don’t particularly care for, but overall the show is classic.

And I’ve watched with some interest as the former cast members have moved on and tried to go solo, with limited success. Until now.

In The New Adventures of Old Christine, I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus has hit paydirt. I TiVo’ed it out of respect for Elaine Benes, and figured I had to give Julia the benefit of the doubt and at least give her show a chance. I’m glad that I did. Mynagirl and I have watched all of the episodes so far (four, I think), and they have been pretty damn funny. Sure, there are rough spots and some hackneyed sitcom staples (precocious kid, slacker brother, sassy black friend, etc), but it seems to be working.

When I first heard the title I mentally rolled my eyes and figured the show would have to suck, given such a trite title. But after the first episode I got the story behind the title, which is that Christine (Louis-Dreyfus) is divorced, and her ex has started dating a younger girl. Her name is also Christine, and she gets referred to as “the new Christine”, hence the show’s title. In a wonderful rejection of low-hanging sitcom fruit, the new Christine seems really nice and is not scheming, evil, superior, or rude.

And Louis-Dreyfus really seems comfortable in the role and embodies the old Christine quite fully. I watched a bit of her other show (where she was a singer…I forget the title…it really sucked) and she just didn’t seem like she felt at home with the character. This character is older, wiser, and a bit more jaded than Elaine Benes, and with an ex-husband and kid to boot, but still allows flashes of Elaine to show through, which makes me think that they are flashes of Louis-Dreyfus and they just happened to flash through both for Elaine and Christine.

The rest of the cast also seem to fit comfortably into their roles, although I’m not sure yet if the character of her son is cute or annoying, although the kid playing the role does a great job.

And now I’ve actually started looking forward to new episodes, and that’s rare for me. I hope they keep up the good work on the show, because I want it to be good. It would be nice to see a former Seinfeldian do good.

Note to the producers of TNAOOC: if you ever have an episode where Louis-Dreyfus plays both Christine and Christine’s sister Elaine Benes, then your show will have jumped the shark. Just wanted to let you know in case it started to sound like a good idea.

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