Thanks to its broadcast network aesthetic, this mid-aughts sitcom alternately seems both unmistakably anachronistic as well as ahead of its time. Although it’s presented with the sanitized standards of broadcast network sitcoms like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” that aesthetic is regularly subverted by impressively nuanced, socially progressive plotlines: For instance, an episode like “The Other F Word” manages to discuss systemic racism, institutional homophobia and liberal hypocrisy without being pedantic, reductive or self-righteous. It’s a neat balancing act that the show manages to pull off for the most part, but it’s disappointing that the comedic writing tends to be on the tepid side of things. There are occasionally some solid one-liners, but generally the jokes are predictably structured so even though they’re mildly amusing, they’re a bit redundant too. Luckily, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious in the lead role, delivering the kind of effective lead performance that anchors an entire show, and she makes every line count.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)