It’s October 20th: The Day After Community’s Return

It’s February 8, the eve of Nemo, the start of snowmaggedon. I sit curled up in my Brooklyn apartment as the snow swirls outside. I munch on Garrett Popcorn’s Chicago Mix. In my mind, however… Read the rest of this entry »

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Return of Fall TV: Week One

Well, it’s September, which means it’s back to fall programming! There are two ways to look at this:

1) Goodbye America’s Got Talent and Keeping Up with the Kardashians; Hello Community and Happy Endings.

2) Goodbye Breaking Bad and So You Think You Can Dance; hello Two and a Half Men and Dancing with the Stars.

I prefer the more optimistic outlook, which, unless you and I share very different views on television, should always be option one. Though, rest assured, I still will miss Breaking Bad a whole lot.

With the end of the first week of Fall TV, let’s over-analyze how it turned out based on the new and returning shows that I watched selectively and with extreme bias!

Read the rest of this entry »


NBC Thursdays: Watched on the Weekend

I’ve been in New York for the past few days, so viewing NBC comedies when they aired was not a possibility. What was a possibility was seeing Book of Mormon. And it was awesome.

Also a possibility: my pilgrimage to the NBC Store at 30 Rock. I am now the proud owner of a “Troy and Abed in the Morning” coffee mug and an “All 5 Dances” t-shirt. I almost bought an “It’s all downhill from here, Paintball 2010” hoodie, but it was very, very expensive.

Though I may not have watched NBC comedies right away this week, I was lucky enough at a showing of Relatively Speaking to have NBC comedies come to me! Who should sit behind us but Jack Donaghy’s mom — well, the actress who plays her — Elaine Strtich! When she walked up, I thought to myself, I’m scared of this woman, and I’m not sure why. I then thought, what comedy have I seen her on? Eventually,we figured it out (meaning, my boyfriend’s mother leaned over and excitedly whispered that it was Elaine Stritch!) and I happily understood where my fear was coming from…Jack’s afraid of only one thing: his mother, Colleen (and liberalism taking over America). It was great to see a 30 Rock guest star…maybe one day I’ll meet Tina Fey.

 

Oh, and I did eventually watch all the NBC Comedies. Arguably the BEST EPISODE OF COMMUNITY EVER.

This was my facial expression for the majority of this episode. Well, not exactly that, but there was a lot of smiling...and dancing

 


Celebrate!

Over the past few years, I have come to look forward to today the way I look forward to Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years. The return of NBC comedies means the return of my favorite characters, places and pop culture commentary. I didn’t take my usual blogging notes tonight, because I just wanted to sit back and experience the return of comedy (I’m also very tired), so this will be a very brief review. (But next week, I’ll be back, details and all).

Unsurprisingly, Community came back full force. A crazy Kubrick allusion, a very obvious, and awesome, riff on a classic show that I cannot believe Abed hadn’t seen, and Chang in vents. Oh, and did I mention there was a meta musical number? Dan Harmon, you’ve started something interesting, and I am strapped in and ready for the thrill ride that this season (with it’s Wire-esqueness character arcs) will surely be.

Parks and Recreation was also on its A-game. The jokes came fast, the jokes came strong, and who doesn’t love Ron Swanson with a full beard? (Or any facial expression Andy makes?)

The Office was different. No Michael Scott means an ensemble show. The cast actually did pretty well with this new form of existence, and the episode was pretty funny, but it still just felt strange and off-center. I do have some side notes for this one:

-Whoa, Jenna Fischer is SUPER pregnant! It is very obvious that this is a real pregnancy…and that last one was super fake.

-When did Angela marry the senator? Did I miss something?

-Meredith planking is friggin’ hilarious.

-Jim will always be absurdly sweet: Pam, Cece, baby | Everything else

…and Whitney? Well, Whitney’s no 30 Rock. It’s definitely NBC’s attempt at something that looks safer, that looks “Chuck Lorre,” but talks “daring, new, female-focused comedy.” I wish Whitney Cummings the best, but I’ll be holding out for the return of 30 Rock! (It IS way better than Outsourced, there is that! At least I won’t have to end my reviews with suffering any more!)

I look forward to re-watching  Community and Parks and Rec to catch all the one-off jokes I’ll want to memorize and quote. Until then, I’m going to crash into a deep and much-needed sleep.


NBC Thursday: Paintball and Points of View

Well, it’s been another busy week, so I’m just now finding the time to do my NBC Comedy write-up. Without further ado, here we go…

Community.

EPIC. There was a lot of pressure on Community‘s cast and crew to make this paintball episode as good as “Modern Warfare,” and they succeeded. It was a great spoof on Westerns, and because it’s split into two episodes, we get to spend more time with all of the characters (Rather than see them eliminated rapidly over the course of ten minutes). Oh, and Josh Holloway is not exactly difficult to look at, though Jeff Winger might argue otherwise.

Honestly, I think it’s better to write less on this, and just beg those of you who haven’t seen it to WATCH THIS EPISODE. The good thing about Community is that episodes like this can stand alone for the casual viewer, but they also fit into the season arc for the obsessive committed fan like me.

Side Notes:

– Great use of Vikki and Leonard in this episode. (“This is the only life I know!”) Community knows how to show the love to its background players.

– Great quote in the tag for next week: “Resistance is as pointless as your degree.”

– What does that cone want?

– Loved the credits, was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a riff on the Community theme.

The Office.

Gosh, there’s so much to talk about, I should really just devote a full blog post to the recent changes. Last week’s episode was a bittersweet and loving tribute to Michael Scott and everything we love about The Office. This episode was the one that really mattered: this episode will be viewed as the one that proves whether or not this show can thrive without Steve Carrell. And from what I saw, I’m not so sure it can.

From the first minute, something was up, something about the tone just felt wrong. Then, it hit me, the writers don’t know whose point of view the show should take, so they just wrote the episode from the entire office’s point of view, which is obviously more difficult. While this works on a meta-level, where, like the employees of Dunder Mifflin, the writers are trying to figure out the hierarchy in this new, Michael Scott-less world, it makes the episode feel a little…frenetic.

So, what does that make The Office as a whole? A new show. They ripped its heart out and are now scrambling for the correct donor to replace it. There’s a new energy that was lacking before, clearly everyone’s giving it their all, but I’m not sure if it will be a enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Office; it’s the first show that I ever watched from the minute it first aired, and I’ll watch it until it ends. But I hate that it will end one day like this: without Steve Carell.

Side Notes:

-Later that night, I caught a rerun on TBS, and it was so weird to see Michael Scott again.

-That was a weirdly heavy side plot with Jim standing up for the ladies of the office. There’s a whole ‘nother blog to be written about the comments this episode made on feminism.

-Awesome Dwight Quotes: “It’s like seeing sausage being made…once you see sausage being made, all you want to do is make sausage, ’cause it’s so much fun!” and “Congratulations on your one cousin. I have 70, each one better than the last.”

-“Now what?”

Parks and Recreation.

I’ve decided. Parks and Rec has the highest laugh per line rate, and I think it has a lot to do with the world the writers have built. Pawnee is a whimsical town, full of wacky, lovable characters that we get glimpses of in town meetings, grocery stores and city events. Its biggest competition is Eagleton, a city of rich people that blows Pawnee out of the water in terms of perfect lawns and iPod touches per citizen.

The way the main characters interact with this world gives way to jokes that seem almost effortless. I never concern myself too much with the plots of Parks and Rec. episodes, the characters are so well defined that we can just sit back, relax and enjoy the laughs…and after an episode of The Office that worried me, this show was exactly what I needed.

Side Notes:

-Best part of this episode? The look on Andy’s Face:

30 Rock.

This was a bit of an underwhelming season finale. There were some good jokes (see=Wool Mascot) and there were also some jokes that I found horribly uncomfortable (see Kenneth as Avery-replacement). Really, I just expected more from the season finale, but it was sort of ho-hum. Well, as ho-hum as 30 Rock can be.

Side Notes:

– I love seeing Victor Garber on TV, No matter what character he plays. So, it was nice to see him in 30 Rock, even if it was as the Wool President.

– “I like to replace the union soldier meat with boiled potatoes!”

-Best visual joke: Liz Lemon appears before a judge. His placard reads: ” Judge Gregory L. Dredd”

-“I don’t like to swear, sir, but ‘No Thank You!’ “


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?)