Can I start by saying LEVAR MOTHERFUCKING BURTON was in the Community house last night?! What up! It was awesome. And I loved Troy's reaction ("You can't disappoint a picture!") because I often feel the same way about my cinematic idols. I would much rather simply believe that they would think I'm awesome and we would get along fabulously and become best friends than be faced with the reality of having to tell, say, Donald Glover just how amazing and hilarious (not to mention sexy) I think he is. But I would definitely sing the Reading Rainbow song with Levar if faced with the opportunity.
Even the parts without Levar were super-great. I loved the Abed take on the documentary/sitcom format, an especially ballsy move seeing that there are two other mockumentary shows that come on right after Community. But they're totally right that it is really easy to advance plot when you can just explain what's going on, and Community should get props for turning out a hilarious, inventive, often plot-driven episode each week without the crutch of talking-heads. Not that I mind talking-head sitcoms...
But what they also did well is one of the hallmarks of a great Community episode: laugh-out-loud comedy combined with real-life, often heartbreaking/warming/wrenching moments. Pierce is in the hospital because he overdosed on pills, after all. Jeff absolutely has daddy-issues, that's for sure. It showed how well Pierce knows all of them while at the same time addressing everybody's insecurities. Annie finds something to learn even when there's no lesson. I thought it was great to have Abed behind the camera for this one because that's where his character belongs - Abed knows himself well enough that Pierce wouldn't be able to manipulate him the way he did the others. And I loved that they followed through with the beating that was neither mad-cap nor wacky - it was real. For all of the crazy, imaginative stuff Community does, their characters are ultimately grounded in reality, and that's what makes them so lovable, relatable, and hilarious. It's funny 'cause it's true, after all.
Notes & Quotes
"My third wish would be a million wishes...but I would just use them all on a million signed photos of actor Levar Burton."
"Mr. Hawthorne is requesting Sour Face."
"Knock, knock -"
"Is that you, Death?"
"People shouldn't die in the same place People Magazines do."
"Well, what do I know? I'm Jeff Winger's dumb gay dad!"
"I'm crying on the inside."
"Set phasers to 'love me'!"
Parks & Recreation
Wow. Just, like, oh wow. Adam Scott finally got a chance to show off his comedy chops on this one - he could not be funnier. This episode really was a chance for Ben Wyatt's past to come back to haunt him in the most hilarious way possible. Add to that an amazing B-storyline with Andy doing all the things that April hates to do in order to woo her - including being arrested for trying to get her sister into his van - that ends with Ron smacking her upside the head with a fishing metaphor and April and Andy finally really kissing with no ridiculous Ann nonsense getting in the way! A gleefully wonderful and sweet episode with a healthy dose of painfully awkward thrown in. I really, really love this show.
Notes & Quotes
I loved the cold open with Ron and the typewriter. Classic.
"Crazy Ira and The Douche!"
"I'll come back if you guys are...being weird."
"There's also going to be hay rides -"
"Hey, ride me! Is what Crazy Ira's mom says."
"You embarrassed me in front of The Douche."
"Your suit...looks more like garbage."
"Oh really? 'Cause Brooks Brothers Boys doesn't make garbage."
"Are you trying to lure this young lady into your van?"
"Yeah, but she's being really difficult about it."
Threat Level Midnight! What an awesome way to tie in to a great joke from second season and show some amazing character growth for Michael Scott. As the writers begin to wrap up his character arc it is incredibly satisfying for long-time viewers to see some of the standing issues start to resolve themselves. I also loved all the cameos from past characters, from Jan to Karen to the Hobbit guy. Although the reason why someone like Toby or Angela would be involved isn't entirely clear, I'm happy to brush past that and wait for the DVD with the deleted scenes that explain why they did it. I'm starting to get a little nostalgic and sad about Michael Scott leaving - I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters yet - but after this episode I really trust the writers to give him a proper send-off and continue the show with someone else at the helm.
Notes & Quotes
I like that Jim is a terrible, overblown actor. Oh, Goldenface.
The Dave Barry calender! Of course. Perfect.
Where did they get those speedskating outfits? Oscar should wear that all the time.
"On your marks, get set..."
Melora Hardin is so good as Jan. I miss her crazy.
"That man was a wanted animal rapist."
The Scarn! OMG The Scarn.
"You should enter it in festivals."
UGH. What is happening to 30 Rock? I am so incredibly done with the pathetic spinster jokes. Just, like, so done. This show is declining in watchability at the same rate that Parks & Recreation has increased (quickly and steeply). Both shows have quirky, single, career-driven women in the lead role, but Amy Poehler has managed to make Leslie Knope into an adorable original that many of the men in Pawnee adore, while Liz Lemon has devolved into a gross bundle of stereotypes. I could handle it when they were making hilarious jokes about bull semen-riddled chips, but it's three years later and the jokes aren't as funny and the plot lines are DULL. I saw the set-up coming from a thousand miles away. Step it up, Tina! The shows that come before you are seriously kicking your ass. Get out of your rut and start making good comedy again.
Three big hits, one miss...not so bad for a night of NBC comedy (I still haven't seen either of the shows that air after 10). Keep tuning in to Community and Parks And Recreation - they're just getting better and you're gonna want to be around for that.
"I'm going to type every word I know! Rectangle! America! Megaphone! Monday! Butthole..."