NBC Thursday: Where the Music Moves

Sorry my review is late, I saw In The Heights (awesome!) last night in Charlotte and spent the afternoon in IKEA:

That was “Ikea” by Jonathan Coulton, and it’s exactly like the store. I bought an awesome mirror while I was there.

Now, without further ado, my reviews.

Community.

When I heard Levar Burton (aka. Kunta Kinte) was going to be on this week’s episode, I knew I would probably love it regardless of what else happened. I was totally thrown off, however, when the episode started with no music and the opening shot was being shakily filmed behind a plant. Then, Jeff looked at the camera. I was all like, Wha? But before I could get too worried, someone asked Abed what he was doing, and I realized we were going to have a mockumentary episode. (Abed had a great talking head here about how Mockumentaries are easier because you can use talking heads to simply explain motivations. Ooh, BURN Office/Parks and Rec/Modern Family)

It wasn’t too hard to accept the switch to this style, maybe because I am already so fond of it, but I kept thinking to myself, how did Abed get this aired? Of course, that’s me probably thinking about it too hard, but that’s what happens when you cross styles. In shows that are always mockumentary, you assume that there’s a company that’s going to do something with this footage. I like to think that The Office is being filmed by a crew that plans on making an epic film about the rise and fall of a paper business in a world of increasing technological dependence…or a TV show on PBS. But with shows like Community and 30 Rock, there’s this sense that, by some magic, we’re peeking in on this whole other world. When they change formats, it means they’re self aware, and we’re less like onlookers and more like participants (like in the 30 Rock live show, for example).

Of course, Community’s producers and writers seem to be in favor of all things meta, so I guess an episode like this is something they’ve been wanting to do for a while. It was strange, but I enjoyed it. Not as much as I enjoyed “Early 21st Century Romanticism” or “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons,” but I liked it enough, and solely because of Donald Glover. That man can ACT! If I had a prize or award to give him, I would.  (A signed photo of Levar Burton, maybe, but NEVER the real thing; after all, “you can’t disappoint a picture.” ).

As much as I liked “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking,” I’ll be ready to get back to normal next week, with the quirky score and steady cam back in their proper places.

Side Notes:

-“Your bequethal is at hand.”

-Abed and Troy have this plan when they die to make it look like “suicide caused by the unjust cancellation of Firefly.” I can understand the sentiment. (And if you’ve never watched Firefly, you are missing out on a whole world of awesome. But be sure, when you do watch it, to watch Firefly first, THEN Serenity. It’ll be upsetting the other way around. You have been warned.)

-“Mr. Hawthorne is requesting Sour Face.”

-“More fish for Kunta!”

Perfect Couples.

The Spurs were playing Thursday night, so we skipped most of Perfect Couples. Did catch the raccoon in the mailbox at the end, though. Weird.

The Office.

I have been looking forward to this episode for a long time. I know that Threat Level Midnight is just a part of the epic goodbye to Michael Scott, but it’s just so great to get a look back at some old favorites and some old hair styles (Roy, Karen, Jan, messy Jim hair, the old Pam mullet). The change in cinematic style made me feel like Community and The Office had swapped cameramen.

There was also a kind of score (Billy Joel’s “Running on Ice”) and narration, which pulled us even further away from that documentary style. What this episode did best, however, was continue that high from last week’s episode. It was fun, it was sweet, and even if Michael suddenly decided to find his movie so-bad-its-funny, I didn’t mind, I was too thrilled to see ketchup fights  in the Catherine Zeta Scarn (which Michael briefly mentioned as something he wanted to do with his future wife episode 3.18, Cocktails), the return of “Somehow I Manage,” and Michael’s hockey skills.  Watch this episode!

A lot of great things happened in this episode, but I’m just gonna list my Favorite Awesome Things:

-“Clean up on aisle five.”

-When deciding to help the President, a coin flip: “Best out of Seven.”

-GoldenFace (Jim) talking about his back story: “…I guess you are what you eat.”

-The Scarn: “You jump to the right, and you shake a hand, then you jump to the left then you shake that hand, you meet new friends, you tie some yarn, and that’s how you do the Scarn. ” Just you wait, I will do this dance the next time I’m out.

-The full version’s on Apple, but it’s only available to people who bought the $60 season pass on iTunes. 😦 Why would you do that to us, NBC? WHY?

-“On your mark, get set-” “DIE.”  Can John Krasinski be cast as a super villain in a kid’s movie?

Parks and Recreation.

There’s mention of April’s photography class, and her most recent project: capturing “melancholy.” Well, I think the folks in charge of Parks and Rec. took that assignment seriously. This is one of the saddest episodes I’ve ever seen…and even though Adam Scott does a great job showing Ben’s depression, frustration and melancholy, I spent the whole episode feeling sorry for him. (I also hate morning radio shows, and even though I knew that bit with Crazy Ira and the Douche was supposed to mock radio shows, it just made me sadder).

Though I didn’t particularly enjoy this episode, it was well-done, and there were some fun moments:

-“Enjoy this MouseRat CD.” “He’s deaf.”

-“The Leslie-Mobile is an all-terrain vehicle.”

-Multiple references to AltaVista, a search engine I last used in elementary school. I think it might’ve been in response to Yahoo’s cancellation of it, or maybe it was just for humor…or a little of both (I bet they got an increase of hits because of this episode).

-“Ben Wyatt: Human Disaster”

30 Rock.

“It’s Never Too Late For Now “was as sentimental as 30 Rock ever gets. The whole TGS crew joined together to get Liz out of her cat-lady spinster funk. The episode was pretty precious and gives us a glimpse into what Liz likes in clubs, dance halls, or odeons: music soft enough that you can talk, men who are attracted to women with hair colored “Grandpa’s shoe” who use chip clips as a styling device, and wine with sprite and ice cubes.

I prefer my 30 Rock a bit more jokey and abrasive,  but it was still pretty fun.

Side Note:

-Pete and Frank’s new album is  called Parents Suck.

Outsourced.

This time, they offended me before the episode started. In the promo that aired during 30 Rock, guest star Matt Walsh kissed the quiet worker’s hand and she exclaimed: “I just gave away my milk for free!” (You get it, other cultures are weirdly conservative! Hahahaha! Right?)

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