Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Friday, November 19, 2010

NBC Thursday Night Line-Up Power Rankings: Week 9

This Week: The Office>Community=30 Rock (translation: The Office was the best, Community and 30 Rock were equally as good)

Let's go to the big board...

1) Community
2) 30 Rock
3) The Office
4) Outsourced (I have watched every episode just in case, still awful)

This week NBC announced their spring line-up to much fanfare disinterested grumbles. The prestige of the magical reveal was that two additional comedies will be added to the current two-hour comedy line-up, making for, wait for it, THREE HOURS OF COMEDY.

ZOMG one of these comedies will be Parks and Recreation (a.k.a. the reigning funniest show on TV); effectively reuniting last year’s famed Murderer’s Row of comedy programming. The other will Perfect Couples, which looks bad in the way that Outsourced is bad. Speaking of Outsourced, which has yet to get better, its sticking around as well.

What people have been most up in arms ambivalently shrugging about is the time slot shake-up. 30 Rock moves to the frightening 10:00 slot, Community remains stranded at 8:00, and P & R gets the coveted post Office slot (which I once predicted). Inspired by this week’s great episode of Community, I think there might be a conspiracy of sorts in the works. Well less a conspiracy and more a case of either incredibly forward or incredibly backwards thinking on the part of NBC.

This new line-up is more of like an anti-line-up. They are programming completely based on the fact that the viewers of these shows do not watch them at the designated time (Time slot - time schmlots.)

For 30 Rock, Community, and P & R this is very important because unlike The Office none of these shows get respectable ratings, yet remain respected critically. With this in mind all of these slots make perfect sense:

8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”

- Community is in the midst of genre-redefining episodic hot-streak and NBC realizes like sports you do not disrupt a hot-streak.

- Community has spent the first 3rd of its season going up against the demographic dominating Big Bang Theory* and has done ok for itself, I assume, accumulating viewership (and repeat views) via DVR and Hulu.

- Beloved shows are able to make money for a network in non-traditional ways (i.e. DVD sales), it is possible NBC is going to ride out this year with that philosophy.

8:30-9 p.m. – “Perfect Couples”

- Let’s assume this show is bad then this is the PERFECT spot for it. 1) it will allow the fans of good comedies to catch-up, by watching a DVRed Community in this spot and effectively recreating the perfect line-up. 2) The Office brings in a ton of less-savvy viewers, who would might actually respond to PC.

9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”

- One of the few anchors the network has at this point. Especially with the 2nd half of the year's Michael goodbye arc, people are going to be watching.

9:30-10 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”

- The ideal show to get this lead-in bump. P & R is able to be DVR-pausingly funny without the smartest guy in the room vibe that turns people off to great comedies like Arrested Development, 30 Rock, and possibly now Community. This might appeal more to the Office viewer.

- Not to mention P & R still uses the Office formula.

10-10:30 p.m. – “30 Rock”

- 30 Rock is a show for grown-ups, who I can imagine will be able to stay up until 10:00.

- The later time slot might allow them to push what they can do a bit further.

- NBC already renewed the show for next season, which makes it pretty clear that despite its perpetually low rating, people are watching every episode sooner or later.

10:30-11 p.m. – “Outsourced”

- It has to go somewhere.

- Maybe it will learn how to do race humor from its hyper-racial, possibly racist lead-in.

The message is clear, NBC realizes 2011 is not 1997. Must-See-TV cannot exist in today’s cultural landscape so they have decided to settle for Eventually-See-TV. Or they are idiots.

Either way, every week I am thankful (get it) for this Thursday Line-up. This week's 1.5 hours of great comedic television was no exception. Still there has to be a winner (no there doesn’t) and I thought last-night’s episode of The Office showed that very often its best episodes are its most humble.

To the victors goes the spoils (in the form of this truly affecting closing)…

* I forgot its name while writing so I searched “CBS nerd show” and blammo! first result. I love living in the future.

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