Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Friday, October 8, 2010

NBC's Thursday Night Line-up POWER RANKINGS: Week 3

This week: Community>The Office>30 Rock*

So let’s go to the big board…


1) Community

2) 30 Rock

3) The Office

4) H8 U Outsourced


My intention was to use this post to disagree with this essay, which argues that Community is the best comedy ever because it is the first “intelligent” comedy that eschews the ironic detachment that usually comes along with other “intelligent” comedies. My intention was to argue that though Community does in fact succeed because of this, Modern Family actually did it first and better. Then came Wednesday night’s episode of Modern Family and this recap that wonders if the show might eventually run into trouble because it does not seem to be building towards anything.

This lead to me to start questioning if Modern Family was a contemporary comedy in old school clothes or an old-school sitcom masquerading as something fresh. Which, at its core, is a question of what is an “intelligent” comedy?

From the start (last week) I debated including Modern Family in these Power Rankings because it was for all intents and purposes one of the best comedies on Television. In fact I ranked it my mental Top 3 last year (along with my beloved Parks & Recreation and the tragically fated Party Down). I told who ever would listen (no one) that it showed what happened when you took two pedigreed sitcom writers and had them create something more of the moment. And it is all there; the show is deftly constructed, supremely acted, and tremendously funny

Still, is it an “intelligent” comedy?

After Wednesday’s episode, I am starting to think not. For “intelligent” here really means ambitious. Modern Family might use the vocabulary of the other “intelligent” comedies (say it with me, “SINGLE CAMERA”), yet it is really just a sweet, episode-based, traditional, capital “S” Sitcom. By no means am I saying that this puts Modern Family out of the race for Best Comedy on TV, it is that I might start watching it a bit differently.

So does this leave Community as the best ever? Not exactly. For what I think is more important than its unique combination of heart and “intelligent” comedy writing (which I think P&R did it better last year anyway), Community is rewriting the lexicon of what is a contemporary Television comedy just like its Thursday night cohorts once did. This week’s episode further proved that point; Abed’s story arc was like nothing I have ever seen before. For this reason, it is currently the best comedy on the air and on top of the list for a 3rd week of 3 weeks.


To the victor goes the spoils...



Update: Here is a clip of the aforementioned Abed brilliance.





* Next week I am going try and tackle the issue of 30 Rock and race.

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