Monday, January 29, 2007

"She answers your phone?!": Everybody Hates Chris

Everybody Hates Chris is at its best when everyone in the family has something to do. This usually leads to the series breaking down thusly:

A story) Chris at school
B story) Julius and Rochelle do parent-y things
C story) Drew and Tanya scheme together or something

Of course, this gets mixed around a bit, so you'll have an A story about Rochelle and Tanya or something, but most weeks take the format above. When Chris has a bad episode, it's almost always one following that format. But the series' superlative episodes tend to follow it as well.

Now, Everybody Hates Hall Monitors, Monday's episode, wasn't a superlative one by any means, but it wasn't awful either. The three storylines were all pretty well-conceived, and it was fun to see Chris go mad with power, since Tyler James Williams always makes the most of whatever he's handed. Williams is a fun actor, and I hope he has a long career ahead of him, instead of some sorry E! True Hollywood Story.

The storyline where Rochelle kept complaining about work and Julius didn't exactly enjoy listening was also well-played, and it finally focused on the marriage, instead of the parenting. Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold have an easy chemistry that gives the whole rest of the show a strong center. This is never better than when Crews is putting up with Arnold's ball-busting without the slightest sense of hen-peckery. Crews is a huge guy, so you expect him to play the stern taskmaster, but his cuddliness is oft disarming.

The Drew and Tanya scenes didn't make as big of a mark with me, but they rarely do. They're often there to give the kids in the audience something to watch. Not a slight to either of the actors, who are fine, but I relate more to the parents and to the adolescent nerd that is Chris.

There's not a lot you can say about a show that's clicking along at its own little rhythm from week to week like this one is. Suffice it to say that Chris is a weekly pleasure, just the right way to start off the week.


arcang54 said...

sorry but w/o Greg the show doesn't go anywhere. You need to draw a bugger market and the school is where it is at.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Oh, I usually like the school storylines. And Greg is an excellent foil for Chris. He's just not as central to the success of the series, I think.