NBC Thursday Night Comedy 2/17/11 Recap: “You Can’t Disappoint a Picture!”

Last Thursday was a good night for NBC’s comedies. ‘Community’ excelled, ‘Parks and Recreation’ shone, and ‘The Office’ did things a little differently than usual.


I’m beginning to think that the writers of ‘Community’ occupy a space inside my head. That, or they’ve implanted some sort of chip into my skull to arrange the show exactly to my liking. It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to smuggle yourself into Canada and go into hiding. Well, it would be if the show wasn’t so awesome.

That’s right, I’m going with the word “awesome.” Sure, it lacks a certain intellectualism and style, but I feel like Abed would approve – and Troy certainly would.

The strangely sad ending of the last episode ties into this one. Pierce is in the hospital having overdosed on pain medication. The study group visits Pierce, who claims that he’s dying and gives them gifts in order to settle things.

Pierce, of course, is not dying. He’s just trying to get revenge on the group for not taking him seriously. It’s a very Pierce thing to do. Each gift he gives is designed to mess with the mind of the person who gets it, such as giving a check to Britta that makes her realize she’s not as selfless as she thought.

The highlight of the show among many bright moments is the guest spot by LeVar Burton of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Reading Rainbow’ fame. Both Donald Glover and LeVar Burton play their roles perfectly.

Perfect Couples

According to the folks at TV by the Numbers, ‘Perfect Couples’ is certain to be cancelled. I’m actually a little disappointed, to be honest. It’s not that I think that ‘Perfect Couples’ is a great show. It’s just that I think it’s significantly better than ‘Outsourced’, which is currently on “the bubble.”

‘Perfect Crime’ is right in line with the rest of the episodes this season. It’s inoffensive and a little dull, but funny enough that I didn’t turn it off in the middle. ‘Perfect Couples’ seems to be based on the ‘Modern Family’ framework, but doesn’t execute properly. The big problem seems to be a lack of anyone to relate to. Dave should fill that role, but he’s too much of a caricature to make it really work.

This week’s episode is another show about men being men and doing manly things. It’s an exploration of gender roles – sort of. It’s also a show about Dave’s insecurities, of which he has many.

The horribly lazy title cards stick around again this week to let us know that it’s “Two Weeks Later,” and the terrible music cues are still there. On the plus side, the theme song is still great.

The Office

I love it when a show tries something different and goes out of its comfort zone. ‘The Office’ does that in ‘Threat Level Midnight’. While the ploy may not have paid off as much as it could have, it was refreshing to see something new out of the show.

The bulk of the episode – a little too much of it – is made up of the cheesy action movie Michael directed. It’s exactly the kind of film you’d expect Michael to make, and it’s a great way to begin saying goodbye to the character.

The movie itself is fine, but not remarkable. There are some incredibly funny moments surrounded by some that just plain don’t work. The rap and dance, for example, don’t work at all. The appearance of Andy as the bartender does.

Michael takes the film seriously at first, then does a 180 for no good reason halfway through the episode. It’s not worth looking too deep into this. There’s not a lot of story to be analyzed, just some mindless fun.

Parks and Recreation

‘Media Blitz’ delivers a little bit of everything that makes ‘Parks and Recreation’ great. There’s a bit of drama, some nice character development, and plenty of the weird humor that sets the show apart from the rest.

I really like Adam Scott’s portrayal of Ben on this show. I like it so much, in fact, that I finally decided to watch both seasons of ‘Party Down‘. It’s a funny show that Scott stars in, and it’s currently available to stream on Netflix. So go do that.

I single out Scott because he’s the best part of this episode. All right, that’s not true – the best part of the episode is the “My bird is missing!” guy. His delivery is hilarious.

Still, out of all the characters that are in the show for more than three seconds, Scott is at the top. He breaks his normally calm characterization and goes a little crazy, especially when questioned by Nick Kroll and the incredibly funny Matt Besser, who play a pair of obnoxious morning radio DJs.

Also, is it me or are Ann and Chris better at being the annoyingly in-tune pairing than Rex and Leigh from ‘Perfect Couples’?

30 Rock

There are three storylines in ’30 Rock’ this week, but only one of them actually works. I like Pete and Frank, and Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Jack has always been a favorite of mine. But this week they’re all a bit disappointing.

The Liz story, on the other hand, is quite good. Her decision to embrace her future as a spinster actually makes a strange sort of sense. Every time someone in the cast mentions another spinster trait, it gets a chortle from me.

The only part of the Pete/Frank band storyline that I really enjoyed is the musical cues that result. One of the most subtle ways that ’30 Rock’ works is musically. Go back to the episode where Jenna debuts her song “Muffin Top,” and you’ll notice that an instrumental version is used as the Jenna theme throughout much of the show. Having “Never Too Late for Now” music cues throughout the episode is a nice touch.

I went back and watched a few of the earlier episodes of ’30 Rock’ to make sure I’m not crazy, and rest assured, the show used to be incredibly good. It’s in a bit of a slump recently, but I have high hopes that it’s going to pull back up.


  1. Loved that episode of Community. It was fantastic.

    I think this episode of The Office had most of its thunder stolen by the “Lethal Weapon 5” episode of It’s Aways Sunny in Philadelphia, which did basically the same thing but was about a thousand times funnier.

  2. Adam

    Troy’s “Set phasers to ‘Love Me'” after cry/singing the Reading Rainbow theme – epic. God, I love this show.

  3. I like that Community is starting to find things for Pierce to do. He’s always been kind of a dead weight on the show. I’ve actually liked a couple of his storylines this season.

  4. THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT. Absolutely my new favorite episode and possibly overall best in the shows long run. It really showcased the best of each actor’s abilities and by each actor, I mean Steve Carell. It was all very reminscent of his Get Smart role which, and I may embarrass myself by saying this, I loved. It’s that deadpan delivery and cinematic pause that makes it perfect. But not all the glory goes to Steve. Especially not after he started doing the Scarn. I mean, what the hell was that. Standout role goes to John Krasinski as Goldenface for being, well, just plain awesome. I’ve always liked him, though, so I might be bias.

    I have only one thing to say about Community. Butterfly in the skyyyyyy, I can go twice as hiiiiigh…

  5. HuskerGuy

    Speaking of Community living inside your brain, I about died of laughter when Troy explained what would happen if either he or Abed dies. The unjust cancellation of Firefly! This show is just plain amazing.