If you’re a big fan of primetime sitcoms, you need to check out the new CBS sitcom “Me, Myself & I,” which premiered on Monday, September 25. Starring Bobby Moynihan (of “Saturday Night Live” fame) and John Larroquette, “Me, Myself & I” is a fantastic new comedy that’s refreshing, funny and original.
“Me, Myself & I” wonderfully condenses 50 years of history into 30 minutes each episode
The basic premise of this show is unique and unconventional, and rarely – if ever – attempted by a 30-minute primetime sitcom: it shows three different episodes in the life of a single character (Jack Riley), showing how events and decisions have reverberated throughout 50 years of Jack Riley’s life.
These three events are (1) moving from Chicago to Los Angeles at the age of 14 and then falling in love with a young girl (2) divorcing with his wife at the age of 40 and moving from his house to a two-car garage and (3) retiring at the age of 65 in the year 2042 and meeting (again) the love of his life, this time 50 years older.
You can immediately see how this is a fantastic comedic concept – especially when you have Bobby Moynihan playing the 40-year-old Alex Riley and John Larroquette playing the 65-year-old Alex Riley. Once you get over your immediate question of how Bobby Moynihan (a bit of a slob) ever turned into the more refined, silver-haired John Larroquette, you’ll immediately be won over by the show’s comedic pacing and timing.
Unlike TV dramas that focus on continuous character development, “Me, Myself & I” is more of a traditional sitcom – so it has to condense 3 different storylines (14-year-old Alex Riley, 40-year-old Alex Riley, 65-year-old Alex Riley) into a very tight 30-minute episode. But it’s done so well that you’ll be amazed at how everything ties together at the very end.
Here’s just one example of how a single episode is able to condense 50 years into 30 minutes: young Alex Riley moves to a new city and falls in love with a beautiful young girl named Nori. He invites her to the high school dance, and then blows his “big moment” when he accidentally chokes on a mint while trying to kiss her at a school dance. 50 years later, he mentions to a beautiful woman how “a mint cost me the love of my life 50 years ago,” only to look down at her nametag and see that she’s the same Nori he knew as a kid!
“Me, Myself & I” is about the little chuckle, not the big belly laugh
So just how funny is “Me, Myself & I”? Most critics have correctly pointed out that this sitcom is not about generating a lot of guffaws and belly laughs – it’s really about a lot of little laughs adding up to one giant comedic premise.
For example, it turns out that Alex Riley has always been an aspiring inventor, ever since he was a teenager. So there are a lot of laughs about all of his ill-fated or crazy inventions.
In one scene, he’s trying to pitch his “Switchfork” (a combination of chopsticks and a fork for eating sushi) concept to a room of Japanese business executives. He thinks that he’s winning them over, but then we see the subtitles of what the men are actually saying in Japanese, “This man has just brought dishonor upon this whole room.”
“Me, Myself & I” is a new kind of episodic comedy
In most sitcoms, there’s the “one funny situation of the week” and then some resolution of that issue following a lot of laughs. 30 minutes later, this situation has been resolved. But we may never see any of the supporting characters every again. Some critics have referred to this as the “shenanigans of the week” approach to comedy. It helps to keep every sitcom very light, meaning you don’t have to invest a lot into every show.
But “Me, Myself & I” takes a new, more refreshing approach. It’s all about serial storytelling and showing how different characters and events intersect over time. Take the title of the show, for example. That tells you all you need to know – it shows how the “me” of the year 1991 interacts with the “myself” of the year 2017, who in turn interacts with the “I” of the year 2042. In short, time proves to be a new kind of comedic element. Time changes how we view events, and how events affect us.
“Me, Myself & I” is as empowering as it is funny
One core idea at the center of this very entertaining new comedy is that any story is not defined by what happens to you, it is defined by how you deal with it. Thus, it is too easy to go through life, complaining about all the bad things that happen to you – the boss who treats you badly, the drivers on the road who act like idiots, or the loud neighbor who keeps you up at night.
But “Me, Myself & I” doesn’t fall into this trap – it tells viewers that you have to go out there and change the story. In that way, you can view this new CBS comedy as being very empowering. You can’t let a single decision or action impact the narrative arc of your own life.
“Me, Myself & I” is a new kind of romantic comedy
Romantic success and failure is one thematic strand that ties together all three periods of Alex’s life. It is his budding relationship with Nori that is one failure. Another failure is his divorce with his wife. But there are also the successes – like the fact that he might actually get back together with Nori (now known as “Eleanor”) after all these years. But will an approach that worked 50 years ago still work in the year 2042?
As a result, from what we’ve seen already, “Me, Myself & I” is a fantastic new comedy from CBS. If you’re looking for a fun new show to watch on Monday nights, this is one great option that will have you laughing each week.