NBC Thursday Night Comedy 2/24/11 Recap: “There’s Always Been a Mandy”

We’re heading into a break for NBC’s Thursday night comedies. That’s right, another break. Last week’s mixed bag of episodes leads into a full month of reruns that won’t end until March 24th. Some shows leave us with fond memories and others not so fond. ’30 Rock’ just left me with a headache.


Something strange and magical happened to ‘Community’ after the Christmas break. While the first part of the season was good, the second has been dynamite. I hope the show can keep it up.
‘Intro to Political Science’ pits Jeff and Annie against each other in a race for the role of Class President. This is a storyline that’s been done before on many shows – clean and honest politics against sleazy smear campaigns – but ‘Community’ does things a bit differently by getting everyone involved.

Dean Pelton is a terrific emcee in his Uncle Sam outfit provided by the sister that he doesn’t seem to actually have. Annie and Jeff make great competitors, and the short runs by Pierce and Britta really add to the mix.

One of the funniest parts of the episode is the running commentary by Troy and Abed. Their political analysis doesn’t quite live up to the hilarity of “Troy and Abed in the Morning,” but it’s still incredibly good.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Abed’s new relationship with the secret service agent. It’s weird, which is fine, but I worry that it might get a little too weird if it goes on too long. Still, I have faith in ‘Community’ to take something strange and make it work.

Other Things I Liked:

– Troy: “Do you just constantly have your own little side adventures?”
– Magnitude: “Pop Pop!”
– Jeff’s ‘Real World’ Audition Tape

Perfect Couples

If ‘Perfect House’ had ended after the cold open, it would have been the best episode of the season. The different conversations highlight the differences between the couples, they’re realistic, and they’re funny. Unfortunately, the episode continues on.

What follows is yet another dull episode where the poorly defined characters take on roles for no reason and there’s no real resolution. It has some potential, but there’s just nothing to latch onto.

We’re supposed to relate to Dave and Julia, but Julia has gotten incredibly involved in a tennis tournament that seems to feature far too many games for the two or three days that the episode covers. Instead of relating to Julia, we’re supposed to identify with… who? Leigh? Not a chance. There needs to be a personality there before we can identify.

Dave and Vance meanwhile are staying the night in a dream house that they’re selling. There’s not much to talk about here. Even the physical gags don’t really work. One thing in particular really bothered me.

At one point, Vance picks up what looks like a normal TV remote, hits the power button, and a home theater system comes to life. A projector turns on, lights dim and a movie starts playing instantly. Even assuming that’s all set up to operate from the power button on a TV remote, why isn’t there a screen for the projector? From the look of things, they’re watching a movie projected onto a brown wall. Eww.

The Office

I really want to believe that Holly is smart. She seems smart much of the time, and she seemed smart up until she got back together with Michael, but then suddenly her IQ dropped immensely. He must be some sort of black hole of intelligence.

Michael hires back Todd Packer to work in the office. That works out fine for me; I love David Koechner. It doesn’t work out so well for the rest of the staff, though. Aside from Kevin, they can’t stand him.

Though Packer’s return holds a lot of promise, the episode isn’t amazing. It mainly consists of people being annoyed, which isn’t really that entertaining to watch.

I liked the brief team of Dwight and Jim, but the whole storyline with Pam and Andy doesn’t fare as well. There aren’t jokes that I noticed, just stuff happening – stuff that doesn’t matter.

In the end, Michael lets Packer fly to Florida on the false pretense that he’s being promoted. Nothing is resolved. Ugh.

Parks and Recreation

While I’ve been generally positive of ‘Parks and Recreation’ this season, I’m not a tremendous fan of ‘Indianapolis’ – the episode, not the city. The city’s fine, I’m sure.

Leslie and Ron head off to Indianapolis to accept an award. Ron gets excited, not for the award, but for the chance to visit Mulligan’s Steak House, his favorite restaurant ever. The restaurant turns out to be closed, so they eat with Chris.

While visiting Chris, Leslie goes through his stuff to find out if he’s cheating on Ann. It turns out he’s not. Ann just didn’t realize it that he dumped her. Rob Lowe plays the part like a champ, and Leslie’s interrogation is really entertaining, but things get a little silly from there.

The more interesting part of the episode features Andy and April trying to scam all the freebies they can. It’s funny enough for a B-story, but it’s not helped by the un-funny story of Tom and Ben.

30 Rock

Is it just me or did Alec Baldwin’s storyline in ’30 Rock’ this week have a real Lisa Simpson and Mr. Burns quality to it? The slightly evil and very powerful Jack Donaghy uses his influence to stop a young girl from usurping him, and the girl he underestimated outdoes him at every turn. Of course, in this instance, we’re cheering for Burns.

It works, though. I enjoyed Jack squaring off with Kaylee Hooper, and I thought Chloe Moretz did a great job in the role. I miss Will Arnett’s Devon Banks, but if Jack’s going to have a new rival, a young girl with a mind like his seems like a good one.

The other half of the episode focuses on Liz Lemon’s misguided attempts to show that she’s a true champion of woman-kind. She hires a new female writer to the staff and things don’t go exactly as planned.

This whole part of the episode is a blur to me. I was so instantly annoyed with Abby Flynn that I just sort of blanked out. She’s just so irritating that whatever satire and humor might be there was completely lost on me.


  1. Adam

    I loved the ticker across the bottom of the screen when Troy and Abed were doing their newscast, even if it did repeat once, like a real ticker, I guess. If you missed it, go back and watch it. Things like Professor Slater: Still Missing? and Dean says no paintball this year, etc. I also can’t help but smile every time Troy and Abed have one of their “whaaaaaaaaa??” moments and do their double hand clap. And, of course, the Troy “Buttsoup” Barnes call back to way back in like the first few episodes when Troy and Abed break into the Dean’s office and make announcements.

  2. My DVR decided not to record 30 Rock last week for some reason.

    Loved Community. The slow pan-up reveal of the dean’s Uncle Sam costume was hilarious. (And your choice of banner image is fantastic, Dick!)

    About Holly on The Office, I think it’s been established on this show that being in a relationship with Michael turns you stupid. Every time we see Jan on her own without Michael, she’s a perfectly sane, competent businesswoman. When she’s with him, she’s batshit nuts.

    • Adam

      Perhaps it can also be said that a person has to already be somewhat mentally unhinged to enter into a relationship with Michael Scott.

  3. matt

    Dwight: What’s a Justice Bieber?


    Jim: It’s a crime-fighting beaver *Shrug*

    I thought that was golden.

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