Friday, February 12, 2010

Episode 413

This week was a major comeback week for NBC comedies.

Parks and Recreation didn't have anything to come back from, as it's been consistently hysterical and exciting, but even there, we are starting to see plot lines that will keep us coming back for more than just the absolute hilarity. Even more than just the Ann-Andy-Amber love triangle we have Ron and Leslie's burgeoning real friendship. It turns out Ron is a good guy, and that makes all of his douchebagginess even more funny.

This kind of true friendship is something that is missing from The Office. Other than brief moments of caring (Jim and Pam buying 69 Cup O' Noodles for Kevin), there are no meaningful friendships on The Office. But the fact that this is missing is by no means a bad thing -- in fact, it's actually part of what makes The Office work. All of the very distinct personalities that clash in almost every way on that show are what give it its dynamic nature. And although the cast ensemble wasn't back in full force last night, we had more participation from the tailees (if I may) than in the past weeks, and it was successful. Also, Michael was back to his predictably absurd self, and I think we all felt a sense of satisfaction for the nostalgia fulfillment of sending Jim back to sales and Michael back to sole manager. With all the big changes happening at Dunder Mifflin, it's nice that they threw us a bone.

Back to the issue of friendships, though, NBC scored again last night with Community. While Community has always been funny, it has lacked that "I can't wait to see what happens" factor. Last night we got that, and I think Community fans now might actually care what happens between Jeff and Britta. (Also, I'd just like to shout out to Abed who managed to reference Who's the Boss?, Friends, and LOST [brilliantly on that last one: "he's a young the Asian guy from LOST"] all in the course of about 20 seconds. He's a TV blog in himself.)

Even 30 Rock was back to its good old (actually funny) self, and there, too, we saw Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey at their best, looking out for each other.

Now, of course, after NBC gives us our gateway drug, we have to wait three weeks for the next set of awesome. Not that I'm complaining; it's worth it for nearly 24-hour Olympic perfection. In fact, Michael's truly perfect cold open last night -- in close competition with the MPH detector running contest for best non-Jim-does-a-prank related cold opens -- was the perfect lead in to the three week hiatus.

One final note: as amazing as the NBC comedies were this week, Modern Family definitely takes the cake and was by far the funniest half hour of TV this week, if not this year. Anything I say about it would just take away from its brilliance, but I promise you it's worth taking the time to watch.

[For that incredibly large number of you who are fuming for lack of comment on the best Survivor premiere ever, it's on it's way, I promise. Check back early next week.]

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