Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Monday, October 4, 2010

NBC's Thursday Night Line-up POWER RANKINGS

I care deeply about NBC’s Thursday comedy schedule. Last year featured four of the ten smartest comedies ever on American TV, each with vastly different styles and tones. At one point or another each have been considered my favorite comedy on television, which is why I instantly started analyzing them and creating weekly mental rankings. This power ranking is not a per episode rank, rather it is a weekly examination of which is having the best season. Last year’s ranking would have finished:

1) Parks & Recreation
2) 30 Rock
3) Community
4) The Office

While being consistently the least watched, Parks & Recreation transformed itself from Season 1 also-ran into the funniest show on TV. 30 Rock consistently maintained its untouchable joke hit-to-miss ratio, yet it did show some ware from its avoidance to effectively develop its characters. Community was the spunky upstart, ambitiously pushing the boundaries of the traditional sitcom further than really any show before it. The Office actually had a comeback year –it was not Season 2 but it was definitely was not Season 4.

So where are we at this year so far?

1) Community
2) 30 Rock
3) The Office
4) N/A (I am protesting Outsourced because it is hack, racist, and replaced P&R)

Man, Communityy has come out of the gate strong. Like P&R Season 2, there is a sense that the writers have definitively learned how to write for these individual actors. The show had struggled in the past with its female leads; however, last episode two of the biggest laughs came from Britta (Jon Stewart/Johnny Carson impression fail) and Annie (chloroforming machine). There are also achieving an almost Modern Family level of successful “awwwwww” moments, yet, by shunning the type of tidy endings MF depends on, they have been able to maintain a sense that anything can happen at anytime.

30 Rock is hilarious. Is it as hilarious as it once was? Not all. It is not that something has changed – it is that mostly nothing has. There is definitely a noticeable uptick in story (i.e. Jack’s old-dad worries). Still, I fear that Season 5 might be too late to start trying to introduce characterization. My friend suggested that this shortcoming stems from a writing staff made up of a sketch writers and stand-ups, not kids eager to write story arcs.

The Office is just chugging along. Will Carrell’s looming departure reenergize the show or act as many nails in a mostly nailess coffin? Two very good Office episodes might just not be enough. Though I expect to really enjoy this season (I am team reenergize), I also know I won’t be surprised if it never leaves the ranking’s floor.

To the victor goes the spoils (a clip)...

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