According to Jim used to be the show whose surprising longevity everybody made jokes about. But now that so many people have made so many jokes about According to Jim, its longevity is no longer truly surprising. So I think it might be time to move on to ‘Til Death jokes. I sure thought this show was going to be canceled after this season; its ratings aren’t very good, and Fox’s disastrous attempts to give it a time-slot companion (Back to You, Do Not Disturb) have been more trouble than ‘Til is worth. But it seems Fox is sticking with it:
Fox has aired just seven episodes of “‘Til Death” this season, which means the net still has 15 from season three to air. Add that to next season’s 22 episode order, and Fox has plenty of “‘Til Death” in its future.
This show recently underwent an old-fashioned, massive retool that completely changed the premise of the show: the young-couple neighbours were kicked off the show even though it was supposed to be partly about them. (‘Til Death was basically a sitcom version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf — young couple meets cynical middle-aged couple and hijinks ensue.) To replace them, the show gave us a Wacky Black Friend played by J.B. Smoove. This show’s not very good but there’s something almost endearing about watching a network retool a show in such a shameless, undisguised, almost Miller-Boyett kind of way.
Fox’s inability to develop new comedies (you can add Jezebel James to the list of their recent fiascos) at a time when comedy is coming back into vogue makes a ‘Til Death renewal somewhat understandable; it’s a placeholder until they can come up with something else. (Fox similarly renewed King of the Hill a couple of years ago to fill the post-Simpsons time slot until the network had a new batch of animated sitcoms ready.)