NBC Thursday Night Comedy 10/21/10 Recap: “I Don’t Even Believe in God, But I Love Me Some Abed”

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.

30 Rock

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?

The Office

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.


  1. Adam

    I just read the bit about Community possibly being cancelled a few minutes ago. Now I see that Outsourced got renewed? Is NBC insane? They know there has to be a reason that the majority of their shows suck and that they’re a laughingstock (even made fun of on 30 Rock, their OWN show), right? Outsourced is terrible – not funny, derivative, and always borderline offensive. I admit I haven’t even watched it the last two weeks, though the episodes are sitting on my DVR due to being too lazy to cancel the timer.

    Anyway, I wasn’t a giant fan of Abed’s meta-meta-meta episode, but it was better than the space trainer episode, I think, and it was nice to see Leonard in a somewhat different light for a while. Jack also had several great one-liners on 30 Rock, and the Reaganing idea was just awesome. Glad to see that Matt Damon hasn’t been dumped yet, so hopefully he will be back.

    I was incredibly disappointed with The Office this week. Not so much for the humor of the episode (though it was still a step down from recent episodes) but for the addition of Danny. It often seems that when The Office adds a new character, it tends to suck the momentum and funny right out of the episodes. Examples: Jo, Gabe, Charles, etc. Notable exceptions: Andy, David Wallace, Holly. Hopefully he will stay as a travelling type and have a once in a while type of role.

    Also, Dick, though I agree that Jim should have known better than to go along with the whole surveillance bit (maybe he was just scared for his clients?), bringing Michael in on the sale isn’t that big of a stretch. It’s been widely shown that, though Michael is a terrible boss, he’s a spectacular salesman, possibly the best in Dunder Mifflin history. So Jim would have been calling in Sales Mike to close the deal, rather than crazy Boss Michael. Though, this does seem to go against the grain of the Koi Pond episode, where Jim seems chafed (as co-manager) to need to bring Michael along on a sale.

  2. HuskerGuy

    Disappointed with all 3 this week. Also, it’ll be a damn shame if they don’t pick up Community for another season.

  3. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Pierce storyline on Community this week. Chevy Chase rarely serves much purpose on the show.

    If Community gets canceled in favor of Outsourced, I may need to drive over to New York to punch an NBC executive in the face. I skipped last week’s episode of Outsourced, but decided to give it one more shot this week. God, it was terrible. The show has no jokes at all. It’s just a stream of alleged ‘observations’ that amount to: “Oh look at how goofy these Indians are. They do everything so differently than we do, and they get offended by the most harmless things. What a backwards country that must be!” It really is offensive on many levels.

    @Adam, I doubt we’ll see Danny too regularly on The Office. Since Justified has been renewed, I think Timothy Olyphant will be kept busy by that.

    • Adam

      I live in Illinois, but I’d join that expedition. NBC has no business canceling pretty much any show that doesn’t totally suck. Community may not be drawing in crowds hand over fist, but it IS hilarious, and has a good following (and also has a killer DVD set of S1, though no Blu-ray). When your network sucks as bad as NBC, you probably ought to stick with shows like that. Besides, flip Outsourced and Community on the schedule and see what that does to the ratings.

      I think one of the most offensive parts about Outsourced, other than the fact that it might stick around instead of Community in spite of the fact that it is painfully unfunny, is the fact that is so patronizing and condescending toward Indians. Rather than being a fish-out-of-water type of show, where the lead adjusts to a new culture, much of the show is about him trying to acculture the Indians to America. It’s as if the fish got beached and then told all the land animals that they were doing it wrong.

      • “Besides, flip Outsourced and Community on the schedule and see what that does to the ratings.”

        YES! This needs to happen ASAP. If NBC believes that Outsourced is a solid hit, they should move it to be the night’s lead-in and see how well it holds up there.

        You’re also spot-on in your fish-out-of-water observation.

      • Isn’t that the point though? They are working for an American company and are being exposed to the most extreme form of our culture.

        Like I said, I think the show is pretty good. It’s certainly a lot better than crap my dad says and that horrible show on abc, better with you.

        • Maybe, but the show very clearly takes the stance that the lead guy is the only “normal” one, and that the Indians are a bunch of weirdos who live in a backwards country and do things that don’t make any sense.

          This week’s episode, for example, is all about how ridiculous it is for them to get upset at him for touching them so much.

          Oh, those crazy for’ners! Why can’t they be more like us, like they ought to?

          Also, speaking as someone who is a manager, I find the “Will they or won’t they?” office romance storyline with his subordinate very troubling and inappropriate.

          • Oh, and I agree 100% here Josh. We should be learning about Indian culture through the main character, otherwise the joke doesn’t work. I don’t get funny from that show.

            The episode of The Simpsons back in season 5 where Apu gets fired and lives with the family is a great example of doing it right. The show pokes fun at both cultures, and at Homer’s ignorance. “Their clothes are different from my clothes. [laughs] Look at what they’re wearing.”

            They should really be having the main character as the one trying to adapt to the culture and have Diedrich Bader and the boss playing the idiot roles. Instead I feel like the show’s just making fun of a culture that I don’t actually know anything about.

        • Having to sit through the last five minutes of ‘Better With You’ is the worst part of my Wednesday. I can’t miss the beginning of ‘Modern Family’ so I’ve just got to grin and bear it.

          • Yep, that show is beyond bad. Considering I’ll watch pretty much anything, that says a lot. My wife and I purposely pause The Middle (please tell me you guys like that show!) so that we can watch that instead after we get our daughter to bed.

  4. BostonMA

    i thought last night’s episode of The Office, like the week’s before, was very funny and “Classic” Office.

    i had no problem with Jim being involved with the antics of Michael and Dwight due to his need to make sales being as important for him as it is for the other two.

    i thought the end with Michael realizing that he fucked over Packer was vintage Michael Scott and got me looking forward to how it’ll resolve.

    the opening with riding the bike was funny too.

  5. Honestly, I’ve been very disappointed with Community this season and it doesn’t surprise me that its on the chopping block. Personally I’d much rather see 30 Rock get the axe, but I know I’m definitely in the minority of people who absolutely hate that show.

    The Office has been mediocre at best this season as well and you can definitely tell they’re winding the show down. That’s ok though, I think the show has run its course and it’s the right time to do so. Although I’m really hoping for a Michael and Holly reunion before its done.

    Outsourced, eh I like it. I like it for the simple gags and I don’t find it offensive in the least. I thought last weeks episode with the a-team showdow especially funny…

  6. besch64

    “Even worse, ‘Community’ is on the verge of cancelation. [sp]”


  7. that1guypictures

    Everything I’ve read shows that Community was picked up for a full 22 episode second season. Where is the discussion about it being cancelled going on? I did a google search but all I can find is discussion from last year when they were worried about canceling it…

  8. that1guypictures

    @ Josh…gotcha. I thought you were saying it would be cancelled midseason. I’m just glad Community got a season 2. It’s ratings were abysmal last year, and putting it at the same time as ratings juggernaut The Big Bang Theory (even though I personally find TBBT extremely boring) was an awful idea on NBC’s part.

  9. that1guypictures

    I agree about Russell. She was miscast for sure. The girl that plays the daughter is good, but I don’t like the fact that she is the narrator.

      • I don’t get that at all, lol. She’s selfish and naiive, but not hateful – reminds me of Lindsay from Arrested Development during her environmentalist phases :p

        • I can see how maybe that was the intent, but it’s not coming across that way for me. Maybe this is down to the performance after all.

          Then again, Lindsay’s hypocrisy on Arrested Development was really funny, but she didn’t have to be the show’s romantic lead.

          Also, that weird sore on Russell’s lip is really distracting in high definition. 🙂