NBC Thursday Night
Most of the week's tv-viewing is relegated to the sitcoms here. We caught up with the last new episodes over the weekend, which all delivered.
- The Office was up to its old highs by falling back on its strength - weird office politics. No one character was particularly showcased this week, which meant more time all-around for the ensemble. It was nice to see David Koechner's Todd "Pacman" Packer in for more than the usual cameo. Jim's put another notch in the arrow for pranking Dwight. Kevin-as-punching bag was good for a few laughs. Finally, Michael and Holly's sweet relationship continues to blossom, which will likely lead to the two moving off the show in the spring.
- Parks and Recreation had another strong episode following "The Office"'s template of strong ensemble work. Just about every character had their moment in the spotlight, with two plots splitting time between Leslie and Ron's trip to Indy and most of the rest of the characters celebrating a night out at Tom's partly owned (1/16th percent?) nightclub. Andy and April's romance has a comforting effect on me, harkening back to the old Jim/Pam flirtations on "The Office".
- Community started off a bit weak with what seemed like a forced-plotline of a student body presidential race, but turned out to be just an odd, one-off episode that highlighted most of the main character's flaws and assets. At worst, it teased yet another flirtation between Jeff and Annie. At best it relied on Abed's sincerity in assessing others and bringing out the best in them. My favorite part was Pierce's emphasized bastard-role that saw him getting revenge on a character we'd never seen before. Second best was the Dean's Uncle Sam costume and commentary during the election debates. Bonus points for another appearance by Greendale's own, "One Man Party" - Magnitude. Pop! Pop!
- We started catching up on five episode's worth of 30 Rock, but only managed to watch two. Thankfully they were very solid outings up with the best from season two.
The Oscars brought out the worst in me online. After promising not to comment during the awards on social media, I did anyway. I don't think most of my awards-based views were too snarky, but a couple of commercials did. Anything with Celine Dion is lost on me, including what appeared to be a commercial about a disease that featured the songstress singing at the beginning and the end. Plus, she showed up during the broadcast. I muted it. The one comment I made that drew any sort of attention was about a commercial for one of ABC's sitcoms. Which brings me to:
- Modern Family. I've watched the show three times and don't like it. Twice I've stated as much on Facebook. Each time, I've received almost as many responses as when I've posted something political. Almost all of the hype over the show that I've been audience to has been from television writers and critics. General consensus with this combined group led me to believe that Modern Family is the funniest and smartest sitcom airing today. After watching it, I couldn't agree less. It truly seems to derive its humor from other sitcom tropes (which a lot of shows do). The best comparison I can make is that it would appear to be a standard studio sitcom filmed like a newer, one-camera show. The characters cover a wide range of archetypes (Cute step-kid, older husband, hot and ethnic younger wife, the gay couple and the normal couple). The thing here is, they're all related through the older husband and marriage. From what I've seen, it is a serviceable show and comes from good stock (Ed O'Neill and the creative team of Levitan and Lloyd are worth a look). But it just isn't anything close to all of the platitudes heaped upon it. As my friends Todd and Jane put it, humor is subjective.
- And because of this, my use of Facebook, was a low this week. I try to limit my status updates to things I like: Videos, other statuses, etc. More often than not, I end up complaining about something in the entertainment world. It's an easy target. Unfortunately it can lead to adverse reactions from other Facebook friends. I think my reaction to Modern Family came off as a criticism of those who watch it. That wasn't my intention. The dialogue that followed reminded me that somewhat public comments will be responded to from time to time. And once in a while the conversation that follows isn't particularly productive.