Friday, May 18, 2012

"Must-See" (?) Thursday

Let's be honest, NBC's Thursday night lineup leaves much to the imagination. Long gone are the days when NBC could cancel a show because it placed 5th the Nielsens despite being between Friends (#4) and Seinfeld (#2). NBC is now focusing on single camera non-situation comedies in place of the usual sitcom fare. Currently the schedule consists of Community, 30 Rock, The Office and Parks and Recreation and Up All Night. All of these series are returning but Community is moving to Friday but I'll get to that later.

I've thought 30 Rock should've ended last year as ratings were falling and you never really heard people talk about it anymore. But I feel NBC doesn't want to upset Tina Fey, hoping she will create a new show for them once 30 Rock does come to an end. I don't watch 30 Rock. I've seen enough of it to know that I would probably like it but I am not a huge fan of Tracy Morgan (blasphemous!) or Jack McBrayer. I've seen the pilot and seen some episodes sporadically over the last five years or so. I made it a point to watch the episode with the Night Court cast and Jennifer Aniston but I haven't watched an episode since. Rumor has it that 30 Rock will end next season after its last 13 episodes but if the ratings go up and if Tina and Alec want to continue the show, I am sure NBC will jump at the chance despite what they have already said.

The Office had a lot to work out this season. Losing Steve Carell was going to put a dent in their ratings and their popularity but I felt that they did a good job. At first. I loved seeing Ed Helms get promoted to regional manager, I enjoyed the storyline with Angela's gay senator husband and I loved seeing the employees down in Florida. What I didn't like was Robert California (James Spader) and Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate). Robert, who introduced himself as someone who gets what he wants and a "take-charge" kind of guy turned out to be an impotent imposter incapable of making even the simplest of decisions choosing instead to lock himself up in the conference room and act like he was talking to the cameras. My fondness for Robert ended with a thud when Nellie showed up--after being fired in Florida and usurped Andy's (Helms) position as regional manager while he was trying to win back Erin (Ellie Kemper). Robert refused to make the decision to fire Nellie (again) and put Andy back in charge causing Andy to essentially be fired. Everything got wrapped up neatly though in the season finale which is always a good thing.
If how Catherine Tate played Nellie is her comedy shtick then no
wonder I had never heard of her before.
Some things I actually liked about this season was Andy being manager and that they never mentioned Michael (Carell), it was always "our old boss" or "the previous boss" but he was never mentioned by name. I liked that because that's how it is in business. You don't say to your new boss "Christine did this..." or "Monte did that...", it's "my last boss did..." Next season James Spader will be gone (yay) but the season finale hinted that Nellie will be back (boo). Whatever happens next season, it needs to be the last. With two seasons without Steve Carell, NBC and producers can legitimately say that the show was just fine without him and it was, I just think they tried to do too much with this season to make you forget Steve was no longer there.

And now, a special comment on Community....
Quite possibly the sexiest cast on TV in my opinion. Just add Chevy to this picture
and ignore the four guys who aren't part of the cast.
Community is a really good series. I will admit that it is aimed toward a specific viewership. The young crowd. Yes, older people I'm sure watch them but it's mostly a young person's series. Community has struggled for its entire run. All three seasons but it's always scraped by with a renewal. For its fourth season, Community will be on Fridays. A lot, if not most, of people believe that this is a death slot, that NBC is effectively canceling the series but still giving it one more season. The Friday Night "Death Slot" isn't what it used to be. Networks know Fridays are not huge ratings earners. Shows on Friday night are held to a lower standard than other series. Several series have been moved to Friday and have done just fine: Fringe, Chuck, Smallville, Supernatural, Nikita and several others. The problem I mainly have with Community--and it's mostly the fans--is that people complain that no one watches the show. It has respectable ratings but, and I'm going to be brutally honest, you can't have entire episodes focusing on paintball, animated in claymation, 8-bit and anime and not expect people to be turned off by it and change the channel. Don't get me wrong, the 8-bit episode that was this last week was great--I'm glad they are turning Pierce (Chevy Chase) into a more likable character but people need to stop complaining about people that the show isn't being produced for not watching it and instead of hoping for six seasons and movie just enjoy the episodes that are being made.
Possibly my most favorite episode of this season.