Three weeks ago sources revealed that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving Parks and Recreation midway through its upcoming sixth season. News about the impending departure of unlucky in love Ann Perkins and perfectionist City Manager Chris Traeger was expectedly met with some sadness and disappointment by devoted Parks and Rec fans. The cast of the NBC comedy has developed into one of the strongest ensembles on television, and, with the exit of The Office and 30 Rock last season, Parks and Rec is poised to be NBC’s number one workplace comedy, with the citizens of Pawnee providing the most colorful and entertaining array of recurring characters and bit parts this side of Greendale Community College. Losing two main cast members is a bit of surprise, a curious altering of a formula that seemed to be working so well. But here’s the thing: we actual welcome the change, as it will solve the show’s most glaring problem, a significant flaw that has existed since episode one: what do you do with a problem like Rashida?
Category Archives: Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam
We very clearly remember the moment that we fell for The Office, the NBC stalwart that closes up shop at Dunder Mifflin tonight after nine mostly great seasons. It was the fall of 2005, when The Office was starting to find its legs after a rocky and uneven six episode first season, and we in our first autumn post-college, back at our parents’, and for the first time since we were four-years-old not attending school. We were at our best friend and future roommate’s house, hanging out, maybe barbecuing, maybe drinking a few beers, maybe watching the first season of Lost on DVD, which dominated much of our time (and thoughts) during that period. We knew about the The Office, another blatant attempt to import a UK hit stateside, but missed its brief run earlier that year, as was the case with the aforementioned Lost, as the only shows we watched religiously during our final year of college (and last few months before true adulthood) were The Simpsons and Survivor. We did, however, recall reading that it was an imperfect translation of the original, and the Steve Carell-led vehicle – who was then best known as the other Steve from The Daily Show – was not likely to resurrect NBC Thursday night Must See TV, let alone make it past Season 2. So with the middling reviews in mind, and the fact that we were unfamiliar with the original Ricky Gervais version, we didn’t go out of our way to watch the show. But that night changed everything.
Just one of our routine check-ins to see if Jimmy Fallon and Late Night are still killing, just in case you were concerned they were getting cocky or complacent after being named The Tonight Show successors. Let’s take a look.
Nope. Still killing it. Good job, guys. Everyone on the floor as well.
Late at night last week we were absent-mindedly watching a rerun of The Office (“The Delivery, Part 2“), which is something we don’t often do. However, our decision paid dividends when something caught our eye during a commercial break, an apparent allusion to another NBC Thursday Night comedy. Thirteen seconds into a Honda Accord spot featuring two preternaturally mature, Wes Anderson-esque children, we just barely noticed the distinct markings of a potato chip brand recently featured on Community, that being the preferred chip of Troy, Let’s.
A couple enhanced screenshots:
Let’s Chips has actually popped up several times in the show, including in Season 4 when it was reviewed during the end credits tag by Greendale’s foremost nonagenarian and Korean War Vet (North Korean side), Leonard. The verdict was a firm “Buy,” advice that was clearly heeded by Dean Pelton and Troy. Britta, however, insists on sticking with her far inferior “Spwingles” brand chips, driving a potentially insurmountable wedge between her and Troy.
So what gives? Is this a wink to Community? A subliminal message intended to subvert viewers into watching the show against their will, thereby giving the series hope for a fifth season? Or has the Community soundstage already been shut down and dismantled, the props sold off to highest car commercial bidder? Should we expect to see Yard-Margs from Skeepers in an Daewoo commercial?
Or, perhaps, this a clue, an easter egg, showing that the world of Greendale is far greater than we ever imagined.
We’re big enough to admit when we’re wrong, and we were dead wrong when we suggested earlier this week that Tom Hanks’s breathtaking slam poetry performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was the grand finale to what had been a stellar week of appearances on talk shows and telethons. We don’t want to go out on a limb and say that he saved the best for last – because a) we don’t want to be wrong again, and b) we hope there’s still more to come (a visit to Good Day New York, perhaps? – but the self-proclaimed (and rightly so) living legend may have topped himself again last night, as he stopped by The Colbert Report to suggest a few affordable costumes for some good, old-fashioned Spooky Time Halloween Fun (but no Josh Baskin?).
[In an interesting twist, Colbert appeared earlier that night on the latest Office, as case of someone we adore popping up on one of our favorite shows, only to have the person we adore the most pop up on Colbert’s own show later in the evening. Sort of a Russian nesting doll kinda thing]
When will the government go ahead and declare Tom Hanks a national landmark already? That’s Day One stuff.
This week we’re looking back on the just completed/completing seasons of NBC’s Thursday night comedies. Today we check in the senior member of the team, ‘The Office.’
For quite some time we were religious with our Office recaps, but then two things happened 1) we were working a paid job more than full-time and 2) the show became, well, inessential. We hoped to check-in during Steve Carell’s final season, but analyses was few and far between. But even though we weren’t providing regular reviews, the series was still required viewing. We might not follow-up the next morning with our thoughts, but we were still going out of our way to watch it Thursday night, as much out of habit as desire. But this season, with Carell’s Michael Scott off to Colorado, the show became the least appealing, least critical member of the lineup. Wait til Friday to watch Community? We’d rather not. Skip an episode of Parks and Rec? No way. But go a week without watching the latest The Office? Sure. View an episode of Robert California’s Dunder Mifflin out-of-order? Fine. We just didn’t care that much anymore.
But a funny thing happened at the end of The Office’s eighth season. We were actually invested. We almost felt things, things that just nearly came close to approximating the real emotions that the show’s best seasons elicited. For the first time all year, the series seemed to find its voice.
With the new fall TV season almost upon us (did you see the “new” promo for NBC’s Wednesday & Thursday night comedies?), we thought we’d offer our first The Office related post in quite sometime. But this one is less about them and more about us.
had offered a side-by-side comparison of the employees of Dunder Mifflin’s changing styles during their seven seasons in front of the “documentary” cameras. It was engaging, well-researched, and totally spot-on It was also VERY familiar, as we had (twice!) previously posted our own visual essay on the stark physical transformations experienced by the Office cast. Sure, The Fug Girls presented their findings in attractive slide-show fashion, but we find the single page model much easier and efficient (and we’re not about forcing you into
clicking through a dozen panels just to drive up our page views). The truth is, we both did a great job distilling the pygmalion like evolution of these characters, and each post has its merits. So, you know what, we’ll just go ahead let you decide.
Ours: Who Are These People?
Pleased and a little puzzled by today’s search term “”jenna fischer.”” Pleased because we think she’s just terrific, the modern-day Kelly Kapowski. And puzzled because the term appears with the quotation marks (hence the extra set above). We guess those out there in web-land just wanted to make sure they didn’t wind up with Jenna Elfman or Carrie Fischer. Fortunately, on this blog that’s very unlikely (well, much more likely now).
We’ve sung Fischer’s praises for years for her portrayal of the loveable, dorky Pam Beesley on The Office. And we’re thrilled that she’s gotten her first big movie role , as Owen Wilson’s understanding spouse in Hall Pass (unless you count her part in Walk Hard. Which we’re not). But tonight we’re going to highlight one of her lesser known early performances, one that significantly enhanced her position on the Judd Apatow Chart. We’re talking about her somewhat scandalous turn on Apatow’s Undeclared, a saucier side of Fischer we’re not used to seeing:
And while that was her most memorable appearance on the show it wasn’t her first, as she actually appears briefly in the pilot episode. Talk about starting off on the right foot.
One time about five years ago our friend texted us “Jenna Fischer on Undeclared. Ha.” To this day it’s still one of our most cherished texts.
Remember in the cold winter days of December 2005 when “Lazy Sunday” premiered and basically made YouTube an inextricable part of our lives? That was a seminal, society altering, comedy-changing moment. Well, that’s not what people were looking for on our blog, they were searching using the term “michael scott dick in a box.” But, unfortunately, we don’t have that, a combination of Steve Carell’s Office character and the cultural successor to “Lazy Sunday” that became a phenomenon in its own right. But, what we do have is a combination of Michael Scott and “Lazy Sunday.” So, here we go, the ode of suburban Pennsylvania, “Lazy Scranton”:Vodpod videos no longer available.
That’s how we felt about The Office. As much as we’ve harangued the show this year for underusing or misusing Jim, rendering him no more than the Greek chorus, it turns out that we really need him. Absent for the entire episode, save the cold open, we kept waiting for the camera to cut to him, to confirm the absurdity of the situation. But he wasn’t there (Jon Krasinksi off shooting a movie, we assume), and without Jim to ground Michael’s insanity it was a runaway train. Now, they could still cut back on some of the Jim reaction shots, but as long as Michael is around, we’ll need that balance.
Speaking of Michael, we’ll wonder if we’ll feel the same way when he’s gone. Because, right now, we’re eager for him to get moving out of Dunder Mifflin. The act has finally grown tiresome, and it often suffocates the other characters and the show. We’re sure we’ll miss him, but that doesn’t mean we’ll want him back. However, Kudos to Mindy Kaling and Craig Robinson for continuing your MVP seasons.
Parks and Recreation, welcome home! Thank goodness you gave us that season two recap to get us back up to speed (we could have used that for The Office and 30 Rock as well, frankly), and it seems like you haven’t missed a beat. We think it got a little too broad at times (Andy with April’s new boyfriend, for example), and the overuse of things like the “Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness” worry us, but it’s definitely picking up where it left off, as the second best show of the night.
Which brings us to Community. Oh how we missed you! And you were only gone for six weeks. Don’t stay away that long ever again! You guys came back from the Christmas break without any rust, setting up what we can only assume will be an even better second half of season two. Looking forward to it. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
Oh, and Outsourced was awesome (jk! jk!).