NBC Thursday Night Comedy 12/2/10 Recap: “I Ate My Father-Pig!”

Things are right on track for NBC’s Thursday night comedies, though we’re left with some pretty interesting questions about some of the characters. More importantly, we’re left with one giant mystery: Do you hyphenate “father-pig” or does it become one word when said in that context?


To say that an episode of ‘Community’ is weird is to say that the sky is blue – or if you live in Detroit like me, a sort of dark grey. Still, this week’s episode is particularly odd in that it starts out funny and stays funny until the last ten minutes. After that, things get serious.

It all starts out with Troy’s birthday celebration, where he learns that he’s actually 21. There are a few fun moments, like the acknowledgment that the gang only sang the last two words of “Happy Birthday” and Jeff’s “Ugh” when Tyra Banks is mentioned – a clear nod to ‘The Soup’.

Things quickly move out of the normal study room and off to a bar where we get a peek at Shirley’s dark past. Apparently, she was quite a lush back in the day. We also get to see Annie putting on an accent and pretending to be someone she’s not.

Paul F. Tompkins – who I only recently discovered thanks to a combination of Rifftrax and Twitter – appears on the show and attempts to hit on Abed. Tompkins is hilarious, and Abed plays the whole thing off really well. It’s a great moment.

Things at the bar are good, but once the gang leaves, everything gets a little too real. I know I’ve criticized the show for going too far into fantasy before, but when Troy drops Annie off at her crappy apartment and they had a nice chat, it might have gone too far in the other direction.

We’re left with a lot of questions about Shirley after this episode, and I’m disappointed we don’t get closure. A few minutes of the morning after would have gone a long way.

Next week, we get a stop-motion Christmas special which is guaranteed to be wonderful or suck horribly. Despite my love for the show, my money’s on suck.

30 Rock

’30 Rock’ is plenty of fun this week even if it does feel a bit disjointed. I’m not sure if it’s the pacing or the way the stories are kept so separate from each other, but it just seems different. It’s hilarious nonetheless.

I’ll give it up every time for Will Forte, if just for his role in ‘Clone High‘, one of the most underrated cartoons ever to hit the air. No kidding, it’s brilliant. Forte’s back on ’30 Rock’ as Jenna’s boyfriend. While the appearance doesn’t carry the same shock appeal as the first, he still delivers the most ridiculous lines in a wonderfully serious way.

Liz is having problems dealing with her long-term relationship and seeks counseling, but it turns out that Kenneth is the perfect listener for her. It’s straight out of sitcom 101 “Put a character in an uncharacteristic position and you’re on a collision course with wackiness!” formula, but it still works. Kenneth’s pig story is priceless.

The segments with Tracy and his older son Donald – yes, his son is older than he is – start off amazingly well. Donald’s announcement of the monster fight that stars Godzila “with one L for legal reasons” is incredibly well done. I love when actors act as bad actors, but only when they do it well.

In the end, there are a few memorable lines and some good situations, making this an incredibly funny episode, even if it isn’t the most story rich. For example, we don’t get any information on the whole boyfriend situation, just Liz’s feelings.

The Office

I love not hating ‘The Office’. My roommate came home during the episode and proffered the question, “So is that show any good or what?” No, he’s never seen ‘The Office’, but if you knew him you’d understand. I was surprised when my response was a yes. If he’d asked me last season, it would have been a resounding no.

Tonight’s episode isn’t perfect. The Michael vs. Oscar thing just doesn’t work for me. Instead of laughing at Michael’s antics or sharing in his success, I just got pissed off. Oscar is clearly smarter, knows more about the subject, and actually sticks with the topic at hand. In this situation, he’s the character I’m rooting for.

Michael, on the other hand, does the thing that political pundits tend to do and changes the argument so that he wins. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, we can agree that “Well, if you don’t like X then you hate freedom” isn’t a valid argument.

Still, the episode is full of great moments, like Erin’s murder conspiracy. When the innocent and cute girl comes out with the suggestion of hiring someone, taking out a life insurance policy and then killing them, I can’t help but laugh. It’s a juxtaposition I fall for every time.

The bits between Pam and Dwight are funny, but do more to advance characters than to make us laugh. We get to see Pam admit her fears and Dwight showing a soft side. The best joke isn’t even a joke. It’s the machine clearly built for the purpose of separating toilet paper into two rolls to save money.

We’re not left with any big compelling questions after ‘The Office’, but I do want to know why the coffee place has a copy of ‘Call of Duty’ for PC behind the counter. Someone with a DVR, please tell me I wasn’t imagining it.


  1. This was a weird episode of Community, but I kind of like that the show can have weird episodes like this mixed in with the high concept eps (paintball, zombies, blanket fort) and the occasional bottle ep.

  2. Keith

    You weren’t imagining the COD box. I saw it too and thought it was odd, but it’s probably just some clever product placement.

  3. Shayne Blakeley

    Community felt like a throwback to the uncharacteristic heavy episodes of more traditional sitcoms. The main example that comes to mind is an episode of All in the Family when Meatheads friend comes over for dinner and Archie realizes he was a draft dodger, man that episode gets dark. Also when Dan dies on Roseanne or Will gets shot on Fresh Prince. They just kind of come out of nowhere because you’re expecting comedy.

  4. Adam

    It was interesting that Shirley was portrayed as an alcoholic in the day. On the Season One DVD commentary, creator Dan Harmon and much of the cast routinely made references to Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) being an alcoholic, especially when she was either on the commentary or able to hear it. She apparently doesn’t drink at all, but they liked to tease her with it to get a rise out of her. I wonder if this episode is either a product of that commentary, or if the commentary stems from this episode.

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