Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Friday, October 15, 2010

NBC's Thursday Night Line-up POWER RANKINGS: Week 4

This week: 30 Rock>Community>The Office

So let’s go to the big board…

1) Community

2) 30 Rock

3) The Office

4) H8 U Outsourced

Both 30 Rock and Community had very good episodes this week that also tapped into a fear of mine about the respective shows.

Community: I absolutely love Community and am proud to have been a fan from episode 1. Though a problem started to develop for me as the show became more brazen in their pop-culturalism – I do not remember enough about movies I saw when I was a teenager. I probably watched Apollo 13 five times before the age of 15 and not again since. I definitely was able get this week’s referencing jokes but did I really “get” get them? The episode was quite hilarious, especially the performances by the Dean and Troy, I just think it depended a bit much on its parody. That being said, I do not have a problem with this episode, and the show in general, completely abandoning reality from time to time*. The writers and actors have done an obscenely good job carving out these characters, allowing the show to have its cake and eat it to, at least for now.

30 Rock: Two weeks ago I wrote about 30 Rock that its “shortcoming stems from a writing staff made up of a sketch writers and stand-ups, not kids eager to write story arcs.” This may be true, yet I acknowledge now that the comment does lose site of the fact that 30 Rock’s writing team has traditionally been the funniest group of individuals put into a (likely smelly) room to write a situation comedy. This week’s episode exploded the series-long sketch argument by filming it live (in SNL’s Studio 8H no less).

The very scaled-down plot showed both: 1) How ambitious the show actually is with its episode concepts 2) How limiting the multi-camera technique format is. As a result, the show felt like a mix of Fey’s SNL days and a classic TV comedy, which I imagine is exactly what they were going for with this episode, if not the series in general.

The episode was anything but seamless - though the west coast episode (yep, I watched both) was a lot tighter – the boom mic made two too many appearances, Tracy spoke in his confused Brian Fellow voice, the paint can from which Jack huffed was quite fake. Most notably, the crowd mucked up the shows always-precise rhythm, causing a lot of applause-caused limbo that only the apparently unstoppably charming Jon Hamm was able to handle deftly.

Yes, it was a stunt** (albeit a crazy successful one); however, in the annals of TV funniness there will be at least paragraph about last night’s 30 Rock, where last night’s Community just added Apollo 13 to the eventual “They parodied such films as…” sentence. Thus, to the victors go the spoils:

* I care even less about their blatant product integration. At this point clever placement is part of the intelligent comedy checklist.

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