COMMUNITY‘S BACK, Y’ALL! What did you think? That it didn’t feel exactly the same, but close enough that you enjoyed it and recognize that to have even a bit of that old taste in your mouth is better than never tasting the taste again? Or did you hate it because there were too many close-ups and it was too loud? Those are the two options, so CHOOSE WISELY! I thought that it was enjoyable enough, but that it felt more than a bit empty. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is the fault of the absence of Dan Harmon (though I’m sure it doesn’t help), because I do think the show’s tropes have been growing increasingly tired for a while now, but so many of the jokes felt like they were included because it seemed like “something Community would do.” The Abed-imagined laugh track bits were fine, I guess, but didn’t feel like a smart critique of the laugh-track style sitcom more than they felt like Community saying, “Hah, laugh tracks. Aren’t they dumb?” (It also didn’t help that the jokes that preceded the laughs were pretty on par with the jokes included throughout the rest of the episode.) The Hunger Deans initially made me very upset — like an exhausting and transparently needless way to shoehorn in some sort of cultural reference-based storyline. And I don’t think it WASN’T that. It was that. It was stupid and I hated it. But I didn’t hate the idea that the dean would have orchestrated all of it in order to keep Jeff from getting the history credit he needed. (Though I don’t think Jeff had to spell out the plan and explain it to the audience the way he did. We would’ve gotten it!) (Also: Why couldn’t the dean have just said that the first 30 students who signed up for the class get to take it, and then say Jeff wasn’t one of them?) (PROBLEM SOLVED, DEAN, GIMME A CALL NEXT TIME.) There are still some good bits to extract from Community, I think. I think it can still be touching and sad in the way we all like so much. I think most of the actors still know how to make their characters enjoyable to watch. But, who knows. It could get better or it could get worse. Just like Abed said: Something about the past and the future, and not knowing. Now let’s move on to another TV show, after the jump!

Parks and Recreation was good, no duh. Nick Kroll was wonderful. It wasn’t an episode jam-packed with laughs, and at the end of it it wasn’t really an episode necessary for character development either (other than Aubrey Plaza realizing that she doesn’t have to be Amy Poehler), so, you know, obviously it got some points deducted there, but still who cares it was good. (Speaking of Nick Kroll, I wasn’t able to watch Kroll Show this week, but I know it was called “Too Much Tuna,” and I have seen a piece of the “Too Much Tuna” sketch on the Internet, and it is just the funniest thing. Luv it 2death.) New Girl dealt with the post-kiss awkwardness very well. Even when situations seem contrived (all of the characters ending up at this Indian marriage convention), the genuine feeling between the characters and the ability the actors have to make you believe and care about what they’re going through (and make lines like, “You’ve named both of your balls and they’re both named Sharon” actually funny and not the worst) always saves the day. It is a good show. NEXT.

Uhhh. Ugh, we haven’t even talked about the stupid Office yet. It seems foolish to spend any time pointing out plot holes since the Office has become about 86% unspoken plot holes, but really? The straw that broke the handsome camel’s employment back was not letting a woman get beat up by a man? And then he went out to lunch with his “friends,” who never mentioned him until last week or whatever, all the while being filmed by the crew that just fired him? (And they got a replacement sound guy to come to Scranton and film people in an Office? And, really, they need to maintain the integrity of the filming that badly?) And, like, we’re supposed to believe that he and his wife got divorced partly because of Pam? And we’re supposed to believe that David Wallace never tried to talk to Andy on the phone for three months, even though whenever Andy is in the office he is talking to him on the phone, like, all the time? And we’re supposed to believe that Jim would go to Philadelphia on Valentine’s Day other than spend the night with his wife, who he just learned is more upset than he thought about all the time he has been spending in Philadelphia? And that Pam would entertain the idea of letting him go, without saying a word against it, even for a second? WHAT IS THIS SHOW? (Though there was one line in the night that made me laugh so much that, unfortunately, I cannot remember. I don’t even remember who said it. It was very funny, though. LOL.) (“Chunky lemon milk” was also very funny.)

Girls was problematic but also had moments of being very good. Shoshana’s moments were great — finding out whatshisname is living with her, the moment she and he had waiting for the train. I loved Jessa’s fight with her now ex-husband, because of how all of his critiques of her (those that came after the critiques that were unnecessarily mean and seemed like they were going to let Jessa off the hook for being terrible by forcing all of the terribleness on to this guy) were completely correct. She also delivered the funniest line of the night, at dinner with Thomas-John’s parents, while the family was talking about religion, or having faith, or something. Again, I kind of forget what the actual line was, but it was something along the lines of: “I wish I could believe that that’s true,” and then a beat, “but I know that it isn’t.” The “but I know that it isn’t,” in the moment, landed perfectly. Very good. Jessa is great. Also: In forgetting what his actual name was, I almost just called Thomas-John “John Thomas” which was the name Charlotte’s ex-husband Kyle MacLachlan gave to his penis on Sex and the City. COINCIDENCE? Speaking of Kyle MacLachlan, Portlandia was good. NOW YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING.

Comments (69)
  1. Four words: “Fleetwood Mac Sex Pants.”

    That is all.

  2. I’m definitely in the “This Community is better than no Community, I guess” camp. Wasn’t great, but it wasn’t excruciatingly bad, and I’m an addict, so I’ll take it.

    Parks and Rec had Sick Ron slapping a telephone and Sick Ben, betrayed by his beloved calzones, rolling over and dialing with his nose while Actor Rob breaks character, so A+.

    Girls was better than last week. It looks like Chris O’Dowd is gone, which is sad, but I think his American accent left before he did.

    I just want to say that I appreciate on New Girl that they didn’t completely hit the reset button on the Nick-Jess thing and that it’s going to be awkward in the next few weeks. And return of Schmidt and CeCe while feeling like it could have happened earlier, I’m okay with for the following exchange: “Turban off or on?” “I know I’m going to hate myself but turban on.”

    • Oh man, CeCe actually had some good moments this week. Like when she opened the door and Jess said Nick kissed her and then the wide-eyed “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?????” was soooo gooooooood.

  3. I felt the same way about last night’s Community as I do about the current season of Cougar Town. I’m super glad that both shows survived when it seemed cancellation was imminent, but they are both subtly different in a not-so-good way, like the characters have been body-snatched.

    Example: on Cougar Town this week, the thing Ellie said about her nanny was straight up Lucille Bluth in that it was both excessively mean and more than a little racist. Which is not who Ellie is! Sure, she’s mean, but she’s not a bad person. Also, don’t even get me started on how lazy the “Stranger Touch!” bit was. If you’re going to have the characters play a kooky game with a catchphrase that is said in the exact same way they say “Penny Can!” you should probably just have them play Penny Can, since unlike Stranger Touch it is actually funny.

    But on the other hand, both shows still have genuinely funny moments so I don’t mean to be a hater. I’m glad they’re still here and I will keep on watching. It’s just kind of disconcerting.

    • I think we probably have to wait an episode to see if that’s the case. It’s my hope that this episode was playing up the whole

      “people are going to be totally watching to see if it’s different, so let’s make it obviously different to poke fun at folks’ obsessiveness, and then we can dial it back and make episodes of Community again” thing

      If that’s a thing. I’m going to hope it’s a thing.

      Also, I would have ALMOST have preferred a straight up soap-opera recast of Fred Willard into the Pierce role, rather than just having him in Abed’s brain.

      And also, since when are Community Colleges 4 year institutions anyway? Aren’t they getting Associates Degrees? What is this world coming to?

    • I really liked the arc of the young people learning not to be dicks about job satisfaction. Jules snapping at them was perfect. And Ellie as the burger bitch was very good. Also, I think Ellie could grow into Lucille Bluth, she’s just still too young and not drunk enough [WINK]. But the unfunny standup was so beautifully unfunny. The details in the weirdness of Cougartown are what make me very happy, and we got some really good weird details this week. The jump-in gang initiation cake? That’s A+ in weird.

  4. For the first time I think possibly ever in my history of hate-watching Girls, I will say that I found the last episode to be pretty funny. Everything with Shoshanna and her boyfriend had that whole “Oh is this going where I think its going, OH IT DEFINITELY IS” kind of slow motion train wreck feel to it and I laughed quite a bit. A rare non-miss, Girls.

  5. Ron Cadillac! And Mallory complaining that Isis is “idiots all the way down.” I will be stealing that.

    Also, did anyone see RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked? I didn’t like Serena, but it was crazy the way the others read her for filth. This is going to be a crazy season.

  6. Ru Paul’s Drag Race talk: I WAS SO GLAD (uhh, spoiler) Serena ChaCha left. She was so annoying my eyes were bleeding. Jade Jolie kind of reminds me of Kenneth the Page, so I am favorable towards her so far. And the Ru Done It? absolute ads with Michelle Visage are the greatest things. I want to live in that world.

    • So I’ve been watching it online (my friend and I skype and watch it together on Tuesdays) and I haven’t seen the new Absolut ads. I feel like I’m missing out.

      And I couldn’t stand Serena either. All her art school talk, and really not being able to pull it off, but I was glad they got rid of her quickly. But the edit on Untucked to go from comforting Monica to shredding Serena was insane! Actually, all of Untucked was insane this week. I feel like this is going to be the cattiest season we’ve seen. Also, I am enjoying the hell out of Alaska.

      • I haven’t been watching untucked this season, just because that airs at 9:30 and I turn into a pumpkin if I stay up too late these days, but aaah I have heard it is cramazing. I might have to make a pot of tea beforehand so I can catch it.

        • You should. It’s been super shady thus far in a highly entertaining way! What did you think of the challenge this week? My friend and I thought it was a little weird that they were recreating scenes from previous seasons. Although I enjoy any chance to hear “Bitch, I am from Chicago!”

          • I liked the challenge, because anything that reminds me of past seasons reminds me of Pandora Boxx, and anything that reminds me of Pandora makes me ever so happy.

          • True story time: Last June, Pandora was scheduled to be the grand marshall at Tulsa’s Gay Pride parade. The route was right outside my regular bar, so my friend and I made a poster, pre-drank and the bar, and then went out to see Pandora. Then we found out that they made a last minute change and made a city counselor the grand marshall. Pandora wouldn’t be out until 10:00 that night. It was 4:00 and we were already drunk. We were bummed.

          • Sigh. *at the bar….

      • Ughhhhh Serena was the WORST kind of art student/21-year-old. It’s like come on! Get your head out of your own ass! You’re an entertainer! Also you kind of don’t seem like you’d be that good of an artist? Also there are other ways to get an education than to pay too much money for an art degree that’s main accomplishment is making you into a snobby asshole? She made me so mad! Not even specifically at her, but at that type of art school or even general college kid who just doesn’t get it.

  7. Among the other problems with The Office, Andy needs a fucking haircut.

    • It was really distracting because I knew he probably had that hair because of some film role. Dear The Office: It’s OK to write Andy off the show. You obviously don’t know what to do with him.

  8. The whole Schmidt-CeCe thing irritates me. I could understand playing it out if she was on the fence about dating him, but I feel like she is pretty firmly not interested (in anything more than sex, anyway). And I didn’t like the whole Schmidt-in-Indian-garb thing. BUT I still make sure to watch that and Mindy now, even forsaking Parks & Rec for the past several weeks.

  9. Heck, I laughed every time the guy said something inappropriate and added, “The was the douche talking.”

  10. I spent the whole episode of Community distracted by Chevy Chase. Knowing what I know about his hate of the show and his subsequent departure, it’s hard not to focus on how little he does, how he’s weirdly shoehorned into scenes. It’s kind of hypnotic.

    • And if Fred Willard because his replacement in this world as well as Abed’s parallel worlds? How excellent would that be?

  11. I’m seriously concerned about Ben Wyatt though.

    This is how supervillains are created.

  12. I really liked the end of Community. The whole episode had way too much but I still felt the same joy I typically feel when watching my favorite show on TV. And as weird and forced as the Hunger Deans may have been that tango number was the best.

    The previews for upcoming episodes give me lots of hope. Of course it’s going to take it a second to get back on its feet but I’m stupid excited for this show to return.

  13. Workaholics was off the hook. “Cats are children! KIDDENS!!”

  14. I didn’t get to watch a bunch of TV this week but last night’s shows were great. Of COURSE JJ’s is gonna cater Leslie & Ben’s wedding!
    The Office was pretty good if not a little sad and good about relationship lessons – they fall apart when you’re not there!
    Community was good I guess. I didn’t laugh that much. But I wanted to!

  15. OMG guys! I missed all the fun yet again because I have stupid night classes. I want to skip but my professor said we had to talk about our huge final paper. And then he goes off on a tangent and we spent like half an hour talking about hookers and red light districts and no further discussion of said research paper.

    I even had a topic picked out based on the religious dynamics of heaven in American Horror Story: Asylum. I figure, hey, it’s my first research paper in grad school that I have a say in the topic and it has to be about media and that show is chock full of stuff so why not?

    We get out of work at 4 due to the blizzard so that’s like an extra hour of Hulu time to catch up on last night’s shows :)

    I caught the tail end of The Office btw and I am sick of Andy (how did Mike Wallace not know he was away for 3 months and why does his hair resemble Jim’s?) and Jim being a jerk all the time lately. I am not liking this at all.

  16. Anybody watching Enlightened? That and Kroll Show are the only things I’m really committed to right now. (I’m feeling NBC burnout, need a break from all that.)

  17. I finally caught up on the Americans and was really thrown by Felicity wearing Guess jeans in 1981 as a suburban housewife in DC. They weren’t even available until 1983 and wouldn’t have trickled down to the housewife faction (even the hip, hot housewife spy faction) until 1985 or later, especially one so bent out of shape that her daughter is buying bras at the mall. But it’s not totally bad. But that detail seriously bugged me. Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache… sure. Guess? Nope.

    • Yeah, last week I pointed out all the little things that weren’t period appropriate in a sort of tongue in cheek way, but now they really do bug me. I guess it’s because I was a kid in that era, so all those small details are important to me. I can’t wait for shows in 20 years that take place in the 2000′s and people complain that there was no such thing as Bieber Fever in 2005.

      • Well it’s just… using Guess in an early shot is such lazy shorthand for the 1980s in general… but overtly getting a very specific fad wrong by 3-4 years seriously pulls you out of that story. I’m not a big fan of The Carrie Diaries, but at least they get the fashion silliness down, even if it looks more like the reinterpretation of what was fashionable then than what actually was actually worn. I hadn’t noticed the beer situation (I think bc they were in bottles), but if they drink cans that weren’t pull-tabs, I will be very annoyed. I saw your comment last night and upvoted it, especially the smoking in the mall thing. It’s not *that* long ago and photos and parents still exist to document that era very, VERY well.

        Also, I just realized a few days ago that the fabulous friend in NYC in the Carrie Diaries is our good buddy Martha Jones!!

    • SEE ALSO: All the haircuts, the men’s suits and almost everything else.

      I think production designers translate the early 80s as fashion circa 1995. You almost never see films/shows really commit to unflattering period fashion.

      • The suits didn’t bug me as much as they could have because the 1981 aesthetic was very similar to the late 70s one and the way the show was shot reminded me a little of Swingtown. So if the suits were wrong, I didn’t pick up on it but I will definitely notice it next week. But men’s suits have gone in so many different directions that if I watch something from that time, it doesn’t totally stand out to me. And I thought the main guy’s hair was pretty accurate, especially if he has that little white man’s afro because he got a perm. The women’s hair didn’t bug me that much, because if they’re posing as a square All-American couple next to actual squares, they’d all probably go for basic looks. Felicity wouldn’t have known to go out and get a Lady Di cut to really fit in. And the wigs and stuff were definitely around then, so it’s not that out-of-character. This being said, maybe the neighbor knows about the Guess Jeans thing too and that’s why he felt the couple was off… Which would make him a time-travelling FBI agent and/or Sam Beckett.

        But yeah, if you’re going to make a period piece, get the historically relevant details right. I can look past the weirdness that makes it a TV show and entertaining, but if you are doing broad strokes of a decade’s fashion in the very early years of that decade long before it caught on… just don’t.

  18. I liked New Girl and thought the post-kiss Nick and Jess stuff was good. But why did Sam dump Jess over that kiss? I mean if he’d SEEN it, sure, yea, immediate dump, but all he knows is that Nick kissed her, right?

    • I also don’t understand that- he was cheering them on to kiss! But we also didn’t get to hear exactly what Jess told him.

    • Also- while I will miss Sam- if he stuck around the writers would have to work a love triangle dynamic into the show and that is a pretty worn out storyline.

  19. I’m not sure if it’s the line you were thinking of, but the line from “The Office” that made me laugh out loud — and it was more the delivery than the line itself — was Jake Lacy’s aggrieved, “Why does no one stop her?!” in response to Meredith.

  20. Today’s my birthday, so it was kind of like a gift that Community came back last night, but it was as if somebody gave me that t-shirt I’ve been wanting forever, but it was a size large instead of a medium. Yay! But, it doesn’t look quite right and I’m a little disappointed.

  21. Oof, ‘Community’ was pretty bad. Not because Dan Harmon isn’t involved. For all I know there was a whole second storyline, using references to ‘Last Year at Marienbad’ to make fun of ‘Smash’, going on in the background — it was Harmony enough. I only lol’d about two times though, one of them at the ‘much much’ joke that they already did before.

    I think less of the Dean guy knowing that he wrote the shitty ‘Descendants’, I must admit.

    Oh well!

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