Double Takes: Tornado shelters bring out the drama on two great Midwest family comedies

Sometimes it’s just a similar premise. Sometimes the resemblance is uncanny. But every now and then a TV episode can’t help but recall another. In Double Takes, we explore the doppelgangers of television, the unshakable connections between them, and the illuminating distinctions.

The first pleasure of watching a TV show with a unique setting is the fresh local flavor: the mining-country hooch of Justified, the San Fran landscapes of Looking, the everydamnthing of Treme. It’s refreshing to see somewhere new, even if it’s the painted-leaves-and-frosted-snow Connecticut of Burbank, California. We know it’s fake. It’s all fake. We’re watching TV. But if there’s any detail to the local flavor at all, authentic or artificial, it can help transport us to small-town Alaska or backwoods Louisiana. And that leads us to the second pleasure. It doesn’t just show us someplace different. It shows …

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