Last week, NBC’s Thursday night comedies drew to a close with a pair of double headers from ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’. While they both worked, one felt like a bit of an anticlimax and the other left us with a fairly frustrating cliffhanger.
‘Search Committee’ is a two-part episode with a ton of potential that just fails to pay off in any significant way. Bringing in a huge range of guest stars like James Spader, Will Arnett and Ray Romano seems like an easy win, but for whatever reason it just isn’t the laugh riot it should have been.
I think the biggest reason that the episode falls flat is because we already had something fairly similar in the episodes with Will Ferrell. We got to see a big celebrity do his thing and weird out everyone in the office. Compared to Ferrell, most of these guys are fairly low on the totem pole.
The exception, of course, is Jim Carrey, who contributes a line or two but doesn’t stay long. We get lengthier performances from people like Catherine Tate. As much as I love her on ‘Doctor Who’, Tate isn’t a name that most folks are going to recognize.
Where the episode does work is in the interviews with current staff members. Gabe’s incredibly aggressive interview of Andy and his dismissive manner during the interview with Kelly are funny and interesting.
It will certainly be interesting to see what’s in store for ‘The Office’ when it returns for Season Eight. It’s almost certain that a new boss will be in place, though there’s no telling just whom it will be. We may also see a change of writing staff, which could bring a breath of fresh air to the show. Either way, we’ll have to wait for a while to find out.
Parks and Recreation
‘The Bubble’ is a really good episode of ‘Parks and Recreation’. It has a little bit of everything that makes the show good, and none of the stuff that brings it down. We get some drama with Leslie and Ben and plenty of comedy from the rest of the cast.
The team of Tom and Andy is a particularly good one from a comedic standpoint. Seeing Andy thrilled at having an office phone set against Tom’s depression at having to work with old people is a treat. In fact, pretty much everything Chris sets up pays off comedically.
One of the best gags of the season comes in the next episode, named after the now deceased horse Li’l Sebastian. When Leslie announces a moment of silence for the horse, a janitor comes in blasting Shania Twain on his radio. It’s incredibly well executed, and it really pays off in Ron’s facial expression.
In fact, Ron may be the best part of the episode. The man who seems to care about nothing delivers an impassioned speech at the passing of a horse. It’s funny and a little bit sweet. Not a bad mix.
Things get a little crazy at the Li’l Sebastian memorial service as Leslie and Ben try and keep their relationship a secret. It’s funny enough, but the highlight here is what may be my new favorite MouseRat song:
“5,000 Candles in the Wind.”
In the end, a lot goes down, including the possibility of Leslie running for public office and leaving her current position. We also find out that Ron’s first wife has made an appearance, though she doesn’t appear on screen. Most of the cliffhangers I get, but c’mon, we couldn’t get just a little bit of Tammy #1 on screen? Boo!