On the last Survivor: Caramaon – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit we were privy to one of the greatest, most unexpected Tribal Councils of all-time, with confusion going into the vote causing to Malcolm flip his vote to Reynold and then subsequently persuade Reynold to gift his own Immunity to Malcolm. That series of events we knew would be hard to beat, even to approximate. To think so, to hope so, would be reckless and negligent, and truly unfair to the institution known as Survivor.
But this show is predicated on surprising you. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, there might just be another shocking, breathtaking turn of events right around the corner.
First, these kids are creepy. An unwelcome visit from Kid Sister and My Buddy. Can’t tell if they’re expressing joy or crying for help, like Hasidic children on a school bus.
This is the penultimate entry in our series of posts looking back at the NBC’s Thursday Night comedies. Still to come is a brief review of the ‘Community’ finale (not to be confused with our already published thoughts on the show’s move to Friday nights and the exiling of Dan Harmon), but today we check-in on ’30 Rock.’
30 Rock is a curious case. We’ve contended for years that it often is the funniest show on NBC Thursday nights. That is to say that it contains the most laughs per minute ratio (lpms) of the four programs. However, that has never necessarily been a compliment. In fact – and you might be smelling a “but” coming – that proclamation has frequently preceded our criticism of the show, or, more often, been the central tenet of our negative remarks. For much of the show’s six seasons it’s felt as if Tina Fey’s creation valued the laugh above all else, and sometimes praying at the altar of the almighty chuckle does not pay the dividends one expects.
With Parks and Recreation making its long, long-awaited return tonight, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at a post we wrote in September of 2009, just before the show returned for its sophomore season. Right now, in January of 2011, Parks and Recreation is widely recognized as one of the best, if not the best, comedies on television (which is why it was so excruciating when the series was pushed until mid-season to make room for the abominable Outsourced), but just about 17 months ago when it was coming off a lackluster, somewhat disappointing first season the story was much different. It’s developed into one of the most reliable, warmest, funniest shows on network TV or any other channel, and boasts perhaps the deepest ensemble cast, but back before its second season the jury was still out, and it was a show very much still finding its footing. But Jumped the Snark went ahead and asserted the potential of the show, watching the first season and finding much room for improvement but also much room for greatness. And we think its fair to say that both this blog and Parks and Recreation were vindicated.
In that post we outlined three areas where Parks and Rec most needed to progress to reach the quality of a show like The Office, its spiritual forefather (and not only has Parks and Rec equaled its progenitor, it’s now surpassed it. The student has become the teacher). Let’s take a look at those recommendations and how Parks and Rec took them into consideration.
It’s a twofer this week with our Tony Danza Moment coinciding with our suspicions over a recent 30 Rock joke. Take a look at the offending excerpt, and then check out a classic clip from Taxi (featuring Mr. Danza), and you decide:
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Homage? Plagiarism? Coincidence? Something from Tina Fey’s subconscious? We’ll likely never know.
But perhaps this calls for Danza to guest star on 30 Rock (they’ve exhausted just about everyone else anyway). Maybe as new “TGS” cast member Tony Gargonzola? A new, older love interest for Liz Lemon? A Kabletown rival executive for Jack? The possibilities are limited!
(we should also note that Danza had nothing to do in that Taxi scene besides stand there quietly and doodle on a piece of paper. But if you watch him closely (as we always do) he’s totally breaking by the end. And do you know why? Because his heart is pure)
Yesterday we gave our brief thoughts on the then impending return of the NBC Thursday night comedies, reflecting on the last season while looking forward to the next. And on the morning after, how do we feel? Impressed, pleased and disappointed, in that order. With the night going from Community to 30 Rock to The Office, we found that the first continues to improve, the second is showing encouraging signs of life, and the third is still struggling to return to its glory days. Taken has a whole, it was a good night, and two out of three ain’t bad. But really, we don’t want “ain’t bad.” We want great, we want three out of three. And, unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.
(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.
(Forgive me for this somewhat belated post regarding the Halloween episode of 30 Rock. I’m still catching up after our fall break.)
Despite some recent blacklash from critics, and the fact that it has featured an overreliance on meta-humor, a drawn out debate over the “real America,” and maybe too many inside NYC jokes, the new season of 30 Rock has been as brilliant and hilarious as ever. While I agree that the lack of real emotional attachment to the characters prevents the show from surpassing The Office as the best overall comedy (nay, show?) on television, 30 Rock is still a showcase for impossible sharp acting and writing, and probably offers the highest laugh per minute (lpm) ratio of anyprime-time comedy. However, this is yet another post for another day. Today we’re not going to talk about the relationship between Liz and Jack, the disappearance of Rachel Dratch, the curious case of Lonny Ross or the parade of guest stars that has more than once elicited unfair comparisons to Will & Grace. No, today we’re going to talk about Dairy Barn.