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Series / The New Adventures of Old Christine

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The New Adventures of Old Christine is a sitcom created by former Will & Grace writer Kari Lizer, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Airing for five seasons (2006–10) on CBS, it allowed Louis-Dreyfus to defeat the dreaded "Seinfeld curse."

The show revolves around divorced mother and gym owner Christine Campbell (Louis-Dreyfus), a mess in many respects, who has nonetheless maintained friendly relations with her ex-husband Richard (Clark Gregg). One of her many neuroses is triggered by his dating a younger woman who's also named Christine (Emily Rutherfurd), thereby making her "Old Christine" to the other's "New Christine". Also in her orbit is her brother/housemate Matthew (Hamish Linklater), son Richie (Trevor Gagnon), and sassy black business partner Barb (Wanda Sykes).

Tropes include:

  • Almost Kiss: Christine and Richard have had many of these...
  • Amicable Exes: Old Christine and Richard. Matthew and Barb will remark how the divorce is the only thing they did right. It's also deconstructed since the two are so friendly after divorcing, it causes their own relationship partners to feel neglected, causing New Christine to call off her and Richard's wedding.
  • Better as Friends: Matthew and Barb have sex once, but quickly decide that they don't want a relationship.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Richard jerks himself awake when a Dream Sequence culminates with himself and Matthew kissing each other.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Between Christine and Barb. Controversial example. She also does with Richard after it was annulled.
  • Coax Them Out of the Closet: Joe has been struggling with his repressed homosexuality for his entire life, and finally admits how he feels when Christine invites him to sleep with her. Though she spends the remainder of the episode encouraging him to come out to his family, he ultimately refuses, saying that he will only do so when he feels ready.
  • Contraception Deception: Tired of the side effects of her birth control pills, New Christine convinces Richard to get a vasectomy, only for Richard to chicken out and not have it done, but telling Christine he did. And just as Matthew tried to warn Richard, Christine ends up pregnant.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Matthew.
  • Deconstruction: The show sometimes goes and zig zags this. It sometimes shows how ugly Old Christine's life can get, if she's always as neurotic and stressed as she is. Mainly, almost everyone in-universe can state that she is going insane, and she's almost always having an eye tic whenever she's really getting into it. Whether this is the actress's performance, or Christine's quirk, is not stated. However, Christine ended up going on therapy, so it's probably true, Christine IS crazy. This is all, of course, played for laughs, but if there weren't any laugh track, she would be something to worry about.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?
  • The Ditz: Oh, Christine, so much!
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Richard develops something of a crush on Mr. Harris (played by Blair Underwood).
  • Experimented in College: Old Christine and Barb had a sexual encounter in college, but neither enjoyed it.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In "The Other F Word", Matthew and Richard both claim that Christine uses the F word all the time, but since this is a network TV show, we never hear any of that; even when she's really upset, she says "freaking".
  • Gaussian Girl: Every shot is slightly out of focus.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Invoked in one episode via Christine trying to get into a The Rolling Stones concert. Or at least, it was attempted, and failed. (She ended up flashing a guy who worked at concessions, but at least she got a free soda for it).
  • Incest Subtext: there's a lot of incestuous subtext between Christine and Matthew. There was even a scene in which Christine made out with him though it turned out to be a dream. One episode shows that he is her Living Emotional Crutch and Matthew's therapist suggests the reason they don't have lasting relationships is because of their relationship and him transferring his mommy issues onto her.
  • Innocent Beta Bitch: Between the "meanie moms" of Marly and Lindsay who make fun of old Christine, Lindsay is not that mean towards Christine and Marly largely forces Lindsay to do things she not comfortable with, like telling her to get pregnant alongside Marly herself.
  • It's All About Me: Christine is very self-centered and selfish, which is frequently lampshaded, but she doesn't realize it most of the time.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: The L-shaped bed-sheet is used in the episode "Friends", after Christine and Richard have sex - even though she's still wearing her bra as well.
  • Never Trust a Title: More misleading. Newcomers would think the title is a sequel to another series (Mainly because of "New"). However, it's a stand alone series.
  • Obnoxious Entitled Housewife: The wealthy, entitled "meanie moms" Marly and Lindsay are more passive-aggressive variants. They often brag about how great their children are while putting Christine down for being poor and divorced.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. The main character and her ex-husband's girlfriend are both named Christine. Christine's ex also has a girlfriend called Christine.
    • Also Christine's ex-husband Richard and their son Ritchie.
  • Only Sane Man: Barb and Matthew may be the only two characters on the show who are remotely close to intelligent, but even they're not all that normal.
  • Parental Favoritism: Matthew and Christine's mother has an unhealthily close relationship with Matthew, but she neglects or verbally abuses Christine.
  • Parents as People: All of the parents in the show, or at least all of the mothers, are emotionally majorly damaged or alcoholic if not both in some degree.
  • Pregnancy Test Plot: In the season 2 finale Old Christine has a pregnancy scare after having unprotected sex with Richard. She eventually turns out to be not pregnant.
  • Real Joke Name: A case of Stripper/Cop Confusion happens when a handsome buff young police officer shows at Christine's place on her birthday to warn her about a prowler in the area. When he introduces himself as Officer Johnson, Christine assumes this is his stripper name.
  • Running Gag: Everyone calling Old Christine 'old', Old Christine's drinking problem.
  • Sexiness Score: In "Beauty Is Only Spanx Deep", during a double date a waitress assumes Christine and Richard are the parents to new Christine and Daniel, causing her to become insecure about her relationship with Daniel, thinking she's "dating out of her league" because he's a "10".
    Christine: I mean, when we walk into a restaurant, all eyes go to him. And right after him, they come to me. And what do you think they're thinking? "Who's that ten with the six who thinks she's a nine?"
  • Sex with the Ex:
    • Old Christine and Richard at the end of season 2, when he and New Christine are temporarily broken up.
    • New Christine and Richard in season 5 after she calls off the wedding, though they do get back together.
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: A muscular young cop named Officer Johnson arrives on Christine's doorstep to warn her of a prowler in the neighbourhood. However, it happens to be Christine's birthday and she thinks Barb has sent her a stripper. Cue one increasingly confused conversation between Christine and Officer Johnson.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Christine in "He Ain't Heavy", after failed attempts at getting Matthew back in shape. She starts off with only her ass getting bigger, but eventually she gets a matching gut as she grows frustrated by her inability to lose weight and starts letting herself go and eating more. Barb has to get her into boxing to use channel her aggression into the needed energy to finally get back into shape.
  • The New Adventures: Although there aren't really any "old" adventures that occur prior to the show.
  • The Unfair Sex: Defied. Richard refuses to move out of the house after he and New Christine break up, since he owns the house, too.
  • You Keep Using That Word: When old Christine kept bringing up how she thought she was racist she was told not to use the word until she learns what it means.