Have you ever been to a concert where the opening band was better than the headliners? You know how it is, you go to see Slayer, but Children of Bodom blow them out of the water. Okay, that was back in ’06 and Bodom was already on a downward spiral, but that’s not the point. Putting ‘Community’ at the opening spot is just unfair to the shows that follow, especially with an episode as good as this one.
Community – ‘Modern Warfare’
Some shows need a strong base in reality to work, but ‘Community’ is at its best when it goes in a different direction. There’s a brief introduction where Abed analyzes the group’s defacto leader and his potential romantic partner. “To be blunt, Jeff and Britta is no Ross and Rachel.” It’s one of many great Abed lines this episode.
From there, ‘Community’ goes to one of my favorite places – the post-apocalypse. If I didn’t stress it enough when talking about ‘A Boy and His Dog,’ let me reinforce my statement. There is nothing I love more than the post-apocalypse, especially if I can get some theme gangs in there.
‘Community’ doesn’t disappoint. Sure, they’ve got paintball guns that are neon colored, but that doesn’t make the ’28 Days Later’ wake-up shot, ‘Terminator’ lines or ‘Warriors’ style taunting any less awesome. Oh, and Senior Chang got the coolest room entrance ever.
The show’s getting more and more reference heavy, and for most comedies that’s a problem. In ‘Community,’ they’ve found a way to make it work. I feel like I’m going to have to start studying for each episode though, I missed one or two of the references the first time through.
Parks and Recreation – ‘Telethon’
Watching ‘Parks and Recreation’ after ‘Community’ is strange, especially after ‘Modern Warfare.’ It reminds me of going to my grandmother’s house up in Port Austin, Michigan. There aren’t any rock stations on the radio up there, you’re stuck with a dial-up internet connection and the closest Walmart is 20 miles away. It’s great, but it’s definitely different.
‘Telethon’ embraced that small town feeling better than any episode so far. As the name implies, the episode centers around a telethon for diabetes on Pawnee’s public television station. And boy does it deliver.
The episode was full of what former ‘Games for Windows’ writer Shawn Elliot referred to as “Wahjah,” or embarrassment by proxy. It’s when people are doing something awful, or embarrassing, but they’re just so earnest. “The Superbowl Shuffle” is a perfect example.
The singer who got up to perform “Sweet Dreams are Made of This,” was a brilliant and subtle joke that made me laugh out loud. The telethon co-host who wouldn’t stop doing impressions? Amazing.
But the absolute funniest line in the show was delivered by Leslie Knope, and again, it’s not really a joke. It’s just something incredibly trite and silly said with true conviction. “There are two types of diabetes, but there’s only one kind of caring.”
Oh, and that cold open with a dog licking Ron’s face while the rest of the cast tried not to laugh? Awesome.
The Office – ‘The Cover Up’
I’m starting to take it personally. I think this season ‘The Office’ was created just to annoy me.
We’re now nine dates in to the relationship between Michael and Donna. They’ve gone on a weekend vacation already and Michael has already professed his love. But, as it turns out, Michael’s not the only man in her life.
For some reason, even though the relationship is only a few weeks old, everyone in the office assumes that Michael is being cheated on. And while, as Buster Keaton once said, “The audience loves a slow thinker,” it’s a little hard to believe when it’s a room full of them. As it turns out, Donna is cheating on her husband with Michael.
Since the early days of ‘The Office’ I’ve been hoping for a bigger role for Craig Robinson, who plays Daryl. He’s a great comedian, and he even made a small part of ‘Dragon Wars: D-War’ watchable. Since he’s moved up from the warehouse to the office though, he’s been without purpose.
His attempt at a prank in this episode was interesting enough, but not particularly funny. His reaction to that prank backfiring was excellent, though. It wasn’t enough to save the episode, but it was a bright spot for sure.
30 Rock- ‘Mother’s Day’
Two words: Buzz Aldrin. Sure, there were plenty of good gags with Jenna’s mom and the stuff between Tracy and his hired mom was funny enough, but Buzz Aldrin stole the show.
Liz finds out that her mom could have married Buzz Aldrin, she seeks him out to get some insight, and it’s so well worth it. He’s somewhere between brilliant and insane, like Mayor Adam West from ‘Family Guy’ with a bit of Yoda thrown in.
When Liz first encounters him, she inquires about why he doesn’t have a door. Buzz excitedly shouts, “I don’t believe in barriers, because I always break them!” He’s that sort of character. He yells at the moon. “I see what you’re doing! Return to the night, you’ve have no business here!”
I’d also like to ask those in charge of ’30 Rock’ to never show me a dressing room full of grandmothers in bras again. But if that’s the price I had to pay for another ‘Bitch Hunter’ segment, I pay it gladly.