Last Thursday was an incomplete night on NBC, without ‘The Office’ (which is holding off until the 24th). Get used to that kind of delay. We’ll have to wait until the middle of April to get more episodes after that. The rest of the lineup held up pretty well, though. ‘Parks and Recreation’ absolutely shone.
It’s not a bad week for ‘Community’. Even though ‘Custody Law & Eastern European Diplomacy’ isn’t a stellar episode, it’s still a good way to kick off a night of comedy.
The primary focus of the episode is on the relationship – or lack thereof – between Shirley and Chang. This is a storyline that’s ripe with potential, but doesn’t quite live up to it. Part of the problem is that Chang has gone from a character who’s tolerated to a character who’s outright hated by the rest of the cast.
It’s also a little bit strange that one of the major plot points just doesn’t work. There’s a wrap-up at the end where Shirley reveals that Jeff was being selfish when helping Chang, but it really doesn’t seem like that’s true. Jeff tears into Chang and then suggests that he get a job and his own place. Sure, it’s partially a ploy to get Chang out of his life, but it’s also really good advice. In the episode, it seems like a moment of Jeff trying to help, rather than a scheme.
Meanwhile, Troy and Abed have made a new friend (Enver Gjokaj from ‘Dollhouse‘) that they forbid Britta from dating so they won’t find out weird things about him – weird things like how they learned that Jeff plays with his own nipples during sex. Britta ends up with the guy (Lukka) pretty quickly, and it turns out he enthusiastically took part in the genocide in Yugoslavia. She reveals this to the guys, they stop hanging out with their new friend, and everyone makes up in the end.
It’s not a bad episode, but it’s not great. Chang is a little too cartoony and the mood gets a little too serious. The folks behind ‘Community’ will have plenty of time to improve, though. The show was recently picked up for a third season.
‘Perfect Couples’ is as good as ever this week. In other words, it’s decent enough.
Amy quits her job and is having trouble finding her way forward. Leigh volunteers to push her like she pushes Rex, and it goes well until the pressure gets to be too much. Eventually, Rex and Amy devise a plot to get Leigh to back off.
Julia makes some new friends and Dave is jealous. He wants to be a part of the group, and inserts himself into the situation. He ends up taking over the relationship and pushing Julia out. When he realizes what he’s done, he very nicely steps aside.
The one part of the episode that actually shines a bit is the competition between Rex and Vance. When Vance finally beats Rex at something (miniature pool), he retires as a champion. Not being able to win again devastates Rex.
It’s still unknown whether ‘Perfect Couples’ is going to end up with a second season or not, but it’s looking like a big no.
Parks and Recreation
Since I’ve taken to watching Thursday night shows on the weekend, I had the privilege of seeing the full 26-minute producer’s cut of ‘Harvest Festival’. It’s a great episode that feels almost like a season finale. It’s not, though. We have plenty more of the third season of ‘Parks and Recreation’ on the way, and a fourth season to add to it.
There’s a lot going on in this episode, but it all kicks off with the introduction of the world famous mini-horse known as Li’l Sebastian. Everyone is thrilled about the horse, including Ron, who screams like a girl at the sight of him. The horse is a huge attraction, until Tom accidentally loses him.
Leslie spends much of the episode with Ben doing PR work to distract people from the notion of an Indian curse on the festival. It’s funny, if a bit goofy. Leslie ends up getting one of the leaders of the local Indian tribe to lift the curse at a press conference.
One of the funniest moments in an episode full of funny moments is Andy’s response to April saying “I love you” for the first time. Andy isn’t the brightest guy, but even he should know that “Dude, shut up! That is awesome sauce!” isn’t the way to go.
Ron solves this issue, as well as several others, in his own way. He’s like dad on the family trip, making everyone apologize to everyone else.
The folks at ’30 Rock’ tried something different this week. While I applaud the effort, there’s nothing that works about ‘Queen of Jordan’.
There are two big problems with the Reality show styled episode. The first is that nothing actually changes. The writing is the same and the characters are unchanged. Aside from the jerky camera movement and interludes with characters we don’t know, it’s the same as a normal episode of ’30 Rock’.
The other problem is that ‘Community’ did a Reality show episode a few weeks back and they did it better. This has been a common theme with NBC this year – too many jokes are reappearing on other shows.
It’s great to see an attempt at something different from the folks at ’30 Rock’, but taking the cameras off tripods isn’t enough. They have plenty of time to improve, though. Like ‘Community’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’, the show has been renewed for another season.