(This a post I intended to compose a month ago, but then the holidays hit, and then the Thursday night comedies went on winter vacation so there was no real rush to write this. But with the comedy block returning tonight, save for The Office, this seemed like the right time to finally record these thoughts).
One month ago, on December 10, before the Jaypocalypse, NBC’s Thursday night comedies aired their Christmas themed episodes. And something funny happened: The Office, well, wasn’t. At least it was very clearly the weak link in what was otherwise a very strong night of comedy. 30 Rock continued to be the joke-for-joke best show on television, Parks and Rec extended what has been a breakout second season, and Community turned in what might have been its best episode yet. And The Office? By far it’s weakest Christmas episode to date. Sure, it had a lot of live up to – Christmas Party, Benihana Christmas – but it didn’t even equal last season’s Moroccan Christmas, which itself was rather a disappointment. And against the other comedies that night, it just didn’t measure up. Something seemed off.
Now, I’m not out on the ledge yet. But it’s certainly concerning.
Keep reading: Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Plus Anthony Michael Hall and Julianne Moore!
Well, if there were two good things to come out of Jay Leno destroying the NBC schedule, they are that Chuck has been brought back early and given a major push (and will now likely have a much greater chance of surviving to season four) and, as, just announced, Friday Night Lights will return on April 30. Originally, the word was that the critically-beloved, Ben Silverman-sabotaged, tragically audience-starved drama would not return to NBC until the summer, but with all the holes soon to open up in the schedule it looks like it’s coming back early. Yay! Still time to catch up seasons 1-3. And, trust me, you should.
I bet NBC regrets axing Southland now.
See the full post-Olympics, post-late night debacle schedule @ Tuned In.
Oh, and looks like I was wrong about Dick Wolf. He seems safe. For now.
It was an up and down decade for Saturday Night Live, but then again it’s been an up and down 34 years for Saturday Night Live. The show started gangbusters in 2000, taking advantage of the 2000 election and perhaps becoming more relevant than it had at any point during the previous decade (media and communication majors and political scientists will be analyzing SNL‘s Gore-Bush debates for years to come, studying how the show interpreted the real events and how the sketches then in turn affected the election). Then the show kind of treaded water until the 2004 election when it once again made the best of the political fodder, although with the relatively benign John Kerry as a central character the political satire was not as entertaining or as incisive as 2000. But With a mostly new cast then the beginning of the decade the show returned to prominence in 2008, most notably mining the comedy goldmine that was the renegade Sarah Palin. However, although SNL’s strongest seasons were during the election years, the best sketches were scattered throughout the aughts, with a fair share of political material, but also crazy characters, inventive monologues, traditional bits and the now ubiquitous Digital Shorts. Here, in a particular but not necessarily meaningful order is a very subjective list of the top ten (and then some) Saturday Night Live sketches of the decade that was.*
I wasn’t blogging when this Alec Baldwin episode aired in early 2006, but if I was I would have no doubt touted it as the best show in years, and I would have been in good company. It stood out as the most buzzworthy episode since the 2004 election, and its success was due in large part to Baldwin, who excelled in sketches like a new “The Tony Bennet Show,” “Platinum Lounge” (with Steve Martin) and a Valtrex commercial parody. But the stand out sketch, for us, was “Carpool,” a duet with Kristen Wiig. Sharing a ride to work seemed like a good idea, until each person continuously and unwittingly brings up a painful wound from the other’s past. Simply, any sketch that can truly sell the line “Bobby McFerrin raped my grandmother,” deserves placement on a “best of” list. It’s the best sketch in what might have been the best episode of the decade, and perhaps the premier episode among Baldwin’s 14 turns as host (I guess because this sketch includes a brief cameo from a Celine Dion tune it’s prohibited from being posted on Hulu. Luckily, some random Russian site saved the day and has no such qualms about hosting a video that includes unlicensed music from the French-Canadian ice queen).
Vodpod videos no longer available.
See the rest of the list. Did your favorites make it???…