I've been mad busy with deadlines at work (and in fact have two or three I should be working right this second), so I've fallen pathetically far behind on my movie reviews, best of 2010 lists, TV pilot coverage, trailer analyses, and sitcom roundups on this here blog. Thankfully, I think this weekend should be relatively open, so I should be able to finally get the next part of the 2010 Kraemer Movie Awards up, and if we're lucky maybe even a movie review too. But if I start falling behind on my sitcom roundups all will be lost, so even though these episodes aired an entire week ago I'm gonna go ahead and knock out some super-quick thoughts on them. After all, the main reason I started these sitcom roundups in the first place was to chronicle Michael Scott's departure from The Office and what follows, and holy shit, that's only a few weeks away!
Oh, and hey, Community and Parks and Rec both got renewed! (And The Office and 30 Rock, but we knew that months ago.) Awesome! I always had a feeling they would be. Despite the early and tragic death of Terriers (and now Lights Out), all those Friday Night Lights renewals have made me a dumbass optimist.
Parks and Recreation, Season 3 Episode 7 — "Harvest Festival"
I'll admit being a little nervous after the first few episodes of this season — all of which I liked, but none of which I loved — but for the last three episodes, "Media Blitz," "Indianapolis," and now "Harvest Festival," Parks has been absolutely killing it. Despite being a little light on Ron Swanson and having an Ann Perkins subplot that wasn't too interesting, this episode was great and for the second time in a row actually pulls off the stiff task of trumping the Community that aired the same evening.
First off, this was Leslie's best episode so far this season by a mile. Almost every second of her feud with tribal chief Ken Hotate was hilarious, and I really hope he's a recurring character. Adam Scott was at his dry, despondent best (especially when confused over the appeal of Li'l Sebastian), and April and Andy's "Dude, shut up! That is awesome sauce!" subplot showed off why they are, in many respects, more funny and likable than Jim and Pam were even back in The Office's heydey. Even Tom and Jerry's lost horse D-plot satisfied, and Ron Swanson straightening everyone out on the Ferris wheel made up for his limited presence throughout the rest of the episode.
Also, I was impressed by the final pre-credits shot. I mean, sure, you could make out the CGI in it, but on a sitcom budget that was a really fucking ambitious shot.
Funniest Moment: "That is exactly what happened."
30 Rock, Season 5 Episode 17 — "Queen of Jordan"
Sorry, didn't like it. In fact, I actually paused in the middle, took a break for a couple hours, then came back to finish it later. True, I did the same thing with the director's cut of Dances with Wolves and I liked that, but that was a 236-minute film; this is a 21-minute sitcom episode. I found the reality show gimmick to be tedious and unfunny — although I should note that the last episode of reality TV I saw was during the first season of Survivor in 2000, so I'm sure plenty of references went over my head — and other than Jack I didn't like what it brought out in any of the characters. The next time this show tries to make me laugh via Jane Krakowski singing I'm literally going to blow my brains out.
I do think it's interesting they've actually made a story arc out of Tracy Morgan's absence for his real-life kidney transplant — I assumed Tracy was simply going to be off screen with little explanation for two episodes and then quietly return, but nope, they've gone full serialized with it. Which would be great, except that I don't watch 30 Rock to find it interesting, I watch it to find it funny. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
Funniest Moment: Probably the cut to Jack with the "Jack, Tracy's Gay Boss" subtitle at the bottom. One of the few moments I thought actually made strong comedic use of the reality format.
Community, Season 2 Episode 18 — "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy"
This episode was pretty middle-of-the-road by Community standards, but if you know how much I love Community you know that's still a compliment. Jeff, Shirley, and Chang's paternal rights story was a little standard and unimaginative (and I still kind of miss Chang the Spanish professor), but Britta trying to expose the truth of Abed and Troy's genocidal buddy was pretty damn funny, with great performances from all three actors. And, save for funniest moment, that's really about all I have to say.
Funniest Moment: That would have to be Britta's horrifically botched attempt at singing Britney Spears for Lukka near the beginning. I thought Gillian Jacobs was the series' comedic weak link back when it first premiered, but in gradually replacing her detached coolness with pure awkwardness (starting around the "bagel" fiasco) they've successfully made her fucking hilarious.
Weekly Power Rankings: 1. Parks and Recreation 2. Community 3. 30 Rock