Between school, my normal daily work, my gig at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, a road trip from Detroit to Mississippi and back last weekend, and prepping for a road trip from Montana back to Detroit this weekend, I’ve been hard-pressed to find the time to watch my stories. So I decided to just jank up my sleep schedule a bit, get caught up, and get a blog entry up before I get way too far behind.
‘Community’ kicked off the season right with three solid episodes. Things pick up right where they left off, and the whole Pierce issue ends up being decided over the course of these initial episodes.
The first episode, ‘Biology 101’, is funny enough to get by, but is the weakest of the three. There seems to be a lot of re-establishment of characters for new viewers, but there are a couple of great moments in there. Abed’s new obsession with the ‘Doctor Who’-like ‘Inspector Spacetime’ is really fun, as is John Goodman’s portrayal of Vice Dean Laybourne.
The two episodes that followed are a lot funnier, have plenty of conflict and a few excellent subplots. In particular, the Britta/Chang storyline is very cool. It’s a sort of romance of rebellion. The interspersed music and slow motion shots really make this work.
I have to mention the great new additions and guest stars to the show. Goodman was brilliant of course, and I loved Martin Starr in ‘Geography of Global Conflict’. Mel Rodriguez (I fell in love with his comedic delivery in the all-too-quickly cancelled ‘Running Wilde’) is in all three episodes. But since his character quits at the end of the third, it seems like that may be it for him.
‘Parks and Recreation’
I’ve been craving more ‘Parks and Rec’ since the last season ended. You can’t just tell me that Tammy #1 is around the corner and not let me find out what the deal is, or reveal that Leslie may or may not be running for public office without getting a sure decision. Yeah, I know cliffhangers are standard television practice, but that’s just mean.
So we get our Tammy #1 after all this time, and I have to admit to being pretty let down. She’s not particularly funny, and though I can see what the writers were going for, Patricia Clarkson doesn’t come off as cold and merciless as she’s supposed to. The storyline gives us a chance to see a happy, helpful Ron Swanson, though, which may be worth it. The drinking contest between Tammy, Tammy and Leslie is funny too. No one plays drunk quite as well as Amy Poehler.
The whole Entertainment 720 thing isn’t working for me. I love Tom Haverford and Jean Ralphio, especially together, but they just don’t work out as well when separated completely from the group. Tom needs to mix it up and Jean Ralphio needs to be getting on people’s nerves and creeping them out.
As always, Chris Pratt kicks all sorts of ass as Andy Dwyer. And Andy Dwyer kicks even more ass as Bert Macklin, FBI. I can’t not laugh at this guy.
The first few episodes of this season are huge for ‘The Office’, since they kick off the first season without Steve Carrel as Michael Scott. The ratings seem to be on a steady decline, but the show is actually pretty solid.
I honestly didn’t keep up much with news on the newest season of ‘The Office’, so I was relieved to see that James Spader isn’t taking the Michael Scott role. He just doesn’t feel right to me in the show, and he’s going to take some time to grow on me.
The manager role should be played by someone unsure of himself and likeable but imperfect – someone willing to take the challenge and constantly improve himself. Andy Bernard fits into that role beautifully. He makes plenty of mistakes, but we’re pulling for him and we learn along with him.
The season hasn’t been all winners, unfortunately. The second episode is incredibly unsatisfying, but ‘The Lotto’ really shows what the series is capable of. Andy has to deal with a great deal of disrespect from Daryll, and he overcomes it by confronting the unsatisfied employee with honesty and a heartfelt speech. These are the moments that need to be there for the comedy to work, and I’m glad to see that they are. ‘The Office’ looks like it’s going to work just fine without Michael Scott.