Did anyone else notice the common threads holding all the amazing comedy episodes together last night? There were girls' name insults on both Community
and 30 Rock
, and Mean Girls
references on both Community
and The Office
. (Hey, Tina Fey made that movie. The NBC comedy circle is complete! Sorry, Outsourced
OK, maybe there were only two specific common threads, but while we're on the topic: The more 30 Rock
and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
that I watch on the same night, the more I think that Tracy Jordan would fit in with the gang, and that he and Charlie Day are soul mates. Tracy would totally provide a photo of Bruce Jenner as his resume. He probably already plays Nightcrawlers, but just doesn't know what it's called. And if Charlie had the money to facilitate it, he's almost certainly get a submarine DUI.
This is a new weekly segment I plan to write every Friday with my favorite/the best (synonyms, duh) quotes and moments, storylines and what-not from last night's 30 Rock
, The Office
and It's Always Sunny from Philadelphia
. (And Parks and Recreation,
when it wakes up and moves back into my heart.) It's also a place for you to say your own thoughts on these shows, because I know you have them, and I bet they are different from my thoughts, and I bet that they are interesting both for that fact and in their own right! Plus: There are other shows on Thursday night. Do you like The League
? How about, umm ... other shows? Feel free to talk about those, too. Aren't Thursday nights the greatest?
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"Aerodynamics of Gender"
As I've said, Community
killing it this season, and last night's episode, while it was no "Epidemiology," was a stellar use of both Abed's
superhuman personality (he's the Robocop
of bitch-burns!) and the
show's own surreal personality, which makes a storyline about a magical
trampoline protected by a racist janitor both totally impressive and
totally normal. It's Community
. This is what they do, and they're doing it ridiculously well.
I loved the secret trampoline plotline, especially for how happy and mellow it made Jeff and Troy. Seeing Jeff put his ladyboots on the table and tell everyone to relax was pleasantly disorienting. It also provided one of my favorite moments: When Jeff, still in his zen state, shuts Chang out of the study room. Hilarious. A trampoline-related B-story is bound to be fun, but the end twist that the janitor was an exclusionary racist was brilliant, and added an unexpected thoughtfulness to what otherwise could have just been a silly, one-note Secret Garden
joke. The Abed story was full of amazing one-liners, but left me a little less satisfied, if only because I wished they'd pushed it further in the beginning to establish a real rivalry between "Meghan" (Hilary Duff) and Abed. I didn't quite understand why Brita, Shirley and Annie were relishing being so mean--even though I loved watching them do it. Favorite Quotes:
"Why name your daughter Meghan? Are you stocking up for a bitch shortage?" -Shirley (Ouch.)
"I call it the world's whisper." - Joshua
"They're like wearing a pair of dreams." - Jeff
What's it called when your back hair grows into your neck hair grows into your regular hair? Look it up, 'cause you have it." - Abed
"Your face is so puffy right now, your eyes look like sewn-on buttons." - Abed30 Rock: "Gentleman's Intermission"
Buck Henry's back! And this time, he's sporting an "Edward Hardy" shirt. (Can I never escape you, Jersey Shore
?) I have a soft spot for any plot line that investigates Liz and Jack's relationship, if only because it's so weird and dysfunctional (but, as we saw tonight, it finds its functionality in its own dysfunction--DEEP) and awesomely devoid of sexual tension, which is rare for sitcoms. Last night's episode was a little chaotic (Liz, Tracy, Jenna and Jack each had their own problems, and rarely did they intersect), but there wasn't a single minute that wasn't solidly funny and or have at least two or three quotable lines. LOLs to the max!Favorite Quotes:
"WHY DOES EVERYTHING SMELL LIKE ONIONS?!" - Avery
"Telephone etiquette is important, Liz. It lets people know your race even when they can't see you." - Dick Lemon
"It's not fair out of context. Her majesty was sending signals." - Kenneth
"It must be my ... senshuality
. Because I am so very ... senshual
." - Liz
"Ambition is the willingness to kill the things you love and eat them to stay alive. Haven't you ever read my throw pillow?" - Jack
"When I go to sleep, nothing happens in the world." - Tracy
"Three time Tony ... Shaloub sex partner." - Jenna
"Every Tina I've known was a real judgmental bitch." - Liz (Meta!)
The Office: "The Christening"
There's just one element of The Office
that I want to talk about: Toby. I'm pretty sure the slim minute or so that we watched as Toby struggled in an existential crisis at the church was one of the most brilliant things that The Office
has done. It was the perfect, character-driven story arc that said so much without saying much at all, and was both profoundly hilarious and tragic--a combination that The Office
often seeks, but doesn't always find in the right balance. After 6+ seasons with these characters, it can sometimes feel like we're being beaten over the head with their traits, flaws and foibles. But when Toby looked up at the cross and said, "Why you always gotta be so mean to me?" it was a truly sublime moment for the show. It was so real
. Toby's story was a small part of an otherwise pleasant but unsurprising episode, but if these kind of moments keep happening as The Office
runs out the clock, I'm totally content to keep watching.
My other favorite thing: Cece getting baptized in an Arcade Fire t-shirt. Suuuper
"Hope you brought your pipes, because we're about to smoke the opium of the masses." - Ryan
"What if the moon was your car and Jupiter was your hairbrush?" - Andy
"I think that was Sconesy Cider, noted baptism reception critic." - Jim
"Why you always gotta be so mean to me?" - TobyIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "The Gang Gets a New Member"
I just thought of another common thread on last night's shows: Famous guest stars. Jason Sudeikis and Dave Foley both showed up on Sunny
, and then, weirdly, there was mini Andy Dick on Community
. It's a News Radio
reunion--sort of. Sudeikis provided a more blatant reminder than usual that the gang is, in fact, bonded by their perverse understanding of how social interactions are supposed to work. They've had ten years to grow weirder and dependent amongst each other, and when they attempt to re-initiate Schmitty into the group, he can't help but be incredulous, then amused, then eventually horrified by their delusions. The clover rings and initiation ceremonies were laugh-out-loud-embarrassing, but Dennis ordering for everyone at the restaurant like he's Bill Paxton on Big Love
was the best.Favorite Quotes:
"I think it's the failure." - Dennis
"It's an imagination-based game." - Charlie
"I'm a little confused. Are you telling me this photo of Bruce Jenner is your resume?" - Principal Dave Foley
"It certainly smells of grapes." - Charlie
"I wish you gave me one of these a long time ago ... cuz I'm a janitor now." - Charlie
"TELL PEOPLE WE PUSHED YOOOOOOU!" - FrankWow, that was a lot of words! But there was a lot of great comedy on TV last night. What were your favorites? Use those comments--that's what they're for.
(Images courtesy of NBC, FX)