Honest to God, ‘Outsourced’ got renewed. Even worse, ‘Community’ is on the verge of cancelation. This is proof once again that people either hate good shows or are just too lazy to change the channel after ‘The Office’.
Speaking of the man upstairs – no, not the neighbor that calls the cops on me for talking too loud – ‘Community’ has a decidedly biblical focus this week. Shirley is distraught about the lack of positive viral videos on the internet and sets out to have Abed create one.
Rather than make the kind of movie that Shirley’s asking for, Abed goes off the deep end and makes a movie about a man making a movie about a man making a movie, and so on and so forth. “Jesus for the post-post-modern world,” Abed calls it. It’s either incredibly deep or incredibly shallow. Either way, Shirley drops a Charlie Kaufman reference to try to slow Abed down.
The episode is incredibly Abed heavy, unlike the nearly Abed-free episode a few weeks ago with the secret background Abed plotline. It’s a great chance for Abed to take over for a bit. Obviously, he can’t do it every episode, but giving him a chance to shine is a great choice. The “I’m gonna shut you down” exchange between Shirley and Abed is particularly great.
The secondary story features Pierce acting up while Jeff and Britta act as parents. Pierce hangs with a no-good gang of octogenarian hipsters and starts getting unruly. It’s good for a few laughs, especially when Pierce embraces his oldness and uses it to his advantage, but Abed’s self-indulgent pretentious movie really makes the show.
First thing’s first: these ’30 Rock’ Honda commercials starring Pete and his wife are just weird. They’re almost funny, but they’re just not quite there. Initially, I thought it was a part of the show, but why would Pete be doing a commercial?
Back to the business at hand – Jack is pitching a no-hitter. He’s solved every problem that’s come his way for nearly a 24 hour period, something that few men have done. In honor of one of the greats, it’s referred to as “Reaganing.”
His final challenge before completing his goal is to solve a Liz Lemon relationship issue, which in the end he makes progress on. There’s a lot of potential here, but instead of being funny, the extended conversation between Jack and Liz just takes a weird turn.
There are a few good moments in there to be sure, like Liz listing off the posters on her wall and Jack trying to get Liz to talk by impersonating Ronald Reagan, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Perhaps I was just on the defensive at the suggestion of Liz getting rid of Matt Damon, who manages to make me laugh at least once in every episode he’s in.
Meanwhile, Jenna is scamming the Carvel ice cream company by getting free ice cream cakes and then returning them for cash. She enlists Kenneth’s help, and he follows along innocently at first, but then gets in on the action since it’s for a good cause.
Kelsey Grammer feels really unnecessary here, even if he does contribute to the long grift. I also feel let down that Carvel ice cream cakes are a feature on the episode and Fudgie the Whale doesn’t come up once! He’s clearly superior to Cookie Puss.
Tracy’s segment is full of fairly easy and expected jokes, but they still make me laugh, as does Jack’s solution to getting Tracy to deliver the right line. It’s a little contrived, sure, but what part of the show isn’t?
I feel like this week’s episode of The Office is a step down from the last few. There’s just something missing. I think it’s the comedy.
Things start out pretty strong, with Dwight and Jim going out on a sale. There they encounter a rival salesman named Danny – played by Timothy Olyphant – who’s been stealing clients from Dunder Mifflin. Their first instinct is to bring in Michael Scott. I feel like Jim at least should know better than to involve Michael in anything.
When the three lose the sale, they stage a fake sales call to learn Danny’s techniques. Again, it’s one of those things that I can totally see Michael and Dwight doing, but I have no idea why Jim’s going along with it. The rest of the staff have the good sense to keep out, at least.
In the end, the ruse fails and Danny gets upset at Michael. Michael decides that rather than let Danny steal more sales, he’ll steal Danny. By the end of the episode, Danny is on staff as Dunder Mifflin’s new traveling salesman.
There aren’t too many great gags in this episode, though Dwight going from foaming at the mouth to calm and pleasant simply because the work day is over is certainly funny. The rest of the jokes seem to just be Michael acting like a jerk, which just doesn’t work for me.
It looks like we’ll be seeing Olyphant again. More importantly, it looks like we’ll be hearing from David Koechner (for real this time!) since Danny may end up taking his job. It’ll be great to have Todd Packer back in the office for a bit.
Okay, fine, I’ll admit it – the final song, “Bullfrong in Love,” made me laugh. I just couldn’t help it.