Arts & Culture

Jews Watching TV: The Post “Bossypants”/Post-Michael Scott Thursday Night Era

Tina Fey is a bestseller. Does it actually have any affect on NBC’s Thursday night lineup? Probably not. Read More

By / April 22, 2011
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

How great were Community and Parks & Recreation last night? Super great, right? It would be hard to sit through last night’s Community and not feel like you were watching history. The fake clip show conceit was one of the genre redefining ideas that they seem to come up with once every five episodes or so. Then there was Parks & Rec, which at this point seems incapable of putting out anything but perfect sitcom television. Seriously, they haven’t had a down episode since season two’s premier. Yet, last night didn’t belong to them – regardless of Jeff’s genius speech collage or Tom calling noodles “long ass rice” – because The Office and 30 Rock are the bigger-ticket shows and had important episodes.  As was the case with last night, sometimes they suffer as a result of what comes along with this stature.

Tina Fey makes it pretty clear in her incessantly book-toured new memoir, Bossypants, that no one, her included, expected 30 Rock to last past its first season, so it reaching 100 episodes is a big deal (fat syndication checks for all). Along the way, regardless of merely solid ratings, it has grown to be one TV’s most culture penetrating shows. All of this pomp left both 30 Rock and TGS’s 100th episodes feeling a bit uneven. It’s hard for a show that is so beautifully callous to act nostalgic (Community’s explosion of the flashback earlier didn’t help matters). 30 Rock is not at its best when it has to do these big episodes, as an occasion tends to clog up the joke machine.

The Office usually handles big episodes deftly but huge guest stars not so much. Celebrities are harder to integrate into the show’s humble universe. Take Will Farrell’s arc, because the show has failed to ground Deangelo in its reality thus far, after two episodes, he is mostly a distraction. His scenes celebrate the departure of Steve Carell the actor more than Michael Scott the character. Yes, it is always fun to see two comedic powerhouses do what they do best together but it’s not worth it if it takes away from opportunities for something a bit more earned.

Take the two conference room scenes, Michael trying to teach Deangelo how to banter definitely delivered its fair share of laughs (“where were you on September 11th?”) but it was trumped by the staff’s Rent infused tribute. It was a display of how great The Office is at these honest yet silly moments and how sensational an actor Carell is. He is a real deal movie star like Alex Baldwin, Tom Hanks, or Will Farrell yet in that moment he sank back to into that character as anonymously as seven years ago. With one episode left it is moments like this that are truly a tribute to both Carell and the iconic character he defined.

Community and Parks might have been better and unduly overshadowed but with one episode left of Michael Scott we have to take this moment while we can. Depending on how many lyrics of “La Vie Boheme” you still have memorized, this clip is possibly NSFW, as crying weirds your boss out.