NBC Thursday: Starring Charley Koontz


I’d been really looking forward to this episode, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, cause I’m kind of a geek and I’m a sucker for bottle episodes (this one was bottle-ish). The cold open, in which a soothing British voice told us the tale of “Fat Neil,” a character we were introduced to a few weeks ago, who had become suicidal…that Jeff, the liar, was suddenly concerned about.  He talks it over with Annie, the dayplanner, and then they turn to the rest of the group to come up with a plan to save Neil (played by Charley Koontz). So, Troy, the obtuse; Shirley, the cloying; Abed, the undiagnosable; Britta, the needlessly defiant, and Chang, by accident, come up with a plan to make Neil happy by playing Dungeons and Dragons. They leave Pierce, the insensitive, aka Pierce, the dickish, aka Grandpa the flatulent, out of the game for obvious reasons.

After the epic opening, where they changed the credits and the music to fit the tone of the episode, I got to thinking during the commercial break, why would Jeff care all of a sudden? Though I’d like to think that the study group has warmed his heart beyond compare, it did seem slightly out of character. Well, I asked the right question, apparently, because Pierce, the dickish, answered it for me (That is, after he storms in, feeling left out, and nearly ruins the game by being pure evil…See Todd’s AVClub Review for a discussion of this characterization): Jeff’s feeling guilty, because he coined the nickname that sent Neil into this spiral.

This was a pretty fantastic episode of Community. I loved it most for Britta’s righteous indignation regarding the suffering of creatures (specifically the Waiter, Kyle)…she’s kinda the Hermione of Greendale in that way. Also, it’ll be interesting to see if Pierce stays resentful, or if he just turns back into the bumbling old man we know and love tolerate.

Side Notes:

-Our satellite went in and out during the entire evening, so that meant I missed a few jokes here and there. Community was still awesome in spite of that.

-I discovered the “Freeze” function on my TV during Jeopardy last night, and used it during all the commercial breaks. It’s kinda like pausing, but we don’t have DVR, so all it does is freeze the image and the audio keeps going. Got some pretty funny freezes of Gnomeo and Juliet, which made those trailers a little less painful to watch.

– The Game would “forever change the balance between good and Pierce.”

-“It makes you happy! Like a dragon!”

-The sound effects and the LOTR-style parting of Chang were fantastic.

-“Britta, he was an imaginary waiter.” “I wouldn’t expect YOU to understand.”

-And to those of us not familiar with vaudeville jokes, Al Jolson was a famous vaudevillian who often performed in black face…hence the jab at Chang.

Perfect Couples.

At the end of Community, I thought to myself, man, I hope I get to see the actor who plays Neil again! Well, Perfect Couples heard my thoughts, apparently, because Charley Koontz was back as the pizza delivery guy in this episode. (My family and I were hoping he’d make a cameo in every show, but no luck.)

This episode was probably the best so far for Perfect Couples. Reminded me a little bit of Arrested Development. The show is still a little bland overall, but there were some pretty okay jokes:

-“I love this tune.” “I’ve been listening to it on repeat for three hours.”

-“It’s ivory.” ” I know how much you hate elephants.” “Oh, I do.”

They also had some thirty year olds heavily drinking which always leads to some comparisons to how hard they used to be able to party in college. I had to tell my parents that, sadly, Edward Fourty-hands is a real thing. A real, and terrible, thing.

The Office.

In my spare time, which there’s a lot of, I’ve been watching Season 2 of The Office again. I’ve decided that it is, by far, the best season of the series because of the fantastic Jim-Pam angst and the jokes that STILL make me laugh after five years. (“My father’s name is Dwight Schrute. My grandfather’s name was Dwight Schrute. His father’s name? Dwide Schrude.”)  It’s also allowed for a great comparison of how the characters have changed over time. I think that last night’s episode, in which Michael gets lost in Scranton and Holly’s similar thought patterns help to find him, has one moment that’s perfect for comparison.

When Dwight, Erin and Holly get to the Chinese Restaurant that Michael’s just escaped, Dwight assumes that the employee can’t speak English and yells over-annunciated words at him. I don’t think that’s what Dwight of season 2 would have done. Now, he still would have been racist, but it would have been a different kind. I think there would have been a lot of bowing and assumptions about Chinese culture that would have been exaggerated in his conversation with this employee. That whole scene is an example of how Dwight’s become a bit of a caricature of his former self. I still love Dwight, but I wish we could go back to that season 2 Dwight, in all his glory.

Overall, this episode was pretty good. The moment with Michael and Holly on the roof was extraordinarily sweet (even if the way it was filmed wasn’t very “documentary style”), and you could see how tired Michael is of the way things are. He just wants to be with Holly…no matter what. I’m sure those feelings are going to play a key role in why Michael ends up leaving Dunder Mifflin-Sabre. Or, you know, he could finally be fired.

Side Notes:

-Another Jim-light episode. Though, from the promos, I think we’ll definitely be seeing him next week. (Btdubs, love that they used Mika’s “Love Today” in all the promos for next week’s Valentine’s Episodes.)

-The B-Plot, where they have a caption contest in the office and gang up on Gabe was alright….though the A-Plot was just generally better.

-“You drive. I’ve got a car full of fox meat.” –>A glimmer of old Dwight.

Parks and Recreation.

I hate Twilight.

30 Rock.

In this episode, we find our heroes trying to help Jack’s wife, Avery, hide her pregnancy in order to get a promotion. Not only does she use some fashionable wizard’s cloaks to hide it, but Liz Lemon pretends to be pregnant to help her out. The show had a lot of fun with this, not to mention a great montage of Liz taking pregnant mom glamour shots.

Along with the always awesome Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer (Kenneth the Page) had some great moments…like coming up with a black bar that hides the lower part of the screen, things that would offend conservatives and “the elderly”…a group that apparently includes Kenneth, because that’s when he points to himself. All the characters learn lessons about honesty…blah blah blah, I don’t really watch 30 Rock for its plots, just for Tina Fey and the jokes, my favorite of which was a sight gag involving Jack’s new voice remote. He says “Crap” and the channel changes to Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Side Note:

-I LOVE Brian Williams’ cameos on 30 Rock. Tonight’s were tinged with a little weirdness, at least for me, since I know he’s in the Middle East right now, and therefore could not be hanging around NBC, pitching some sort of lizard show starring himself to Jack. Though that didn’t mean I laughed any less.



Why is Outsourced still on, for the love of all that is good, WHY?


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