On the surface, there is nothing connecting the four episodes that aired on NBC this week. Annie's friends helped her move, and tweeted about it. Ben and Leslie's attempt to stay friends had them waging war on each other at a Model UN. And Dwight sexually harrassed Jim. Does it matter what Whitney did? (Fine, she played basketball.)
But if we had to stretch for a theme, it's interesting to note the lengths these characters are willing go to (blackmail, peace treaties, lie detector tests) to to strengthen their relationships. With that in mind, let's get started with the recapping.
This week, I'm going to focus on this week's episode of Parks and Recreation. The Rapture-inspired plot not only yielded a lot of wackiness (long live Zorp!) but also some interesting character introspection.
It's always fun to see how our favorite shows celebrate Halloween. This week's comedies featured wacky costumes and even ghost stories, and yet all felt like a bit of a letdown. Let's take a look at how each comedy tackled the spook-tacular holiday.
"I want to go to there." This Liz Lemon quote kept echoing inside my head while watching three-fourths of NBC's Thursday comedy block this week. Almost all the shows ventured out of familiar settings, and as a result we were treated to a housewarming party, a camping trip (with candy! and puppies!), and a garden party. And then we even witnessed a marriage proposal at the end of the night. All in all, an eventful evening. Let's dig right in!
For this installment of TNL, I've decided to focus on the most beloved new show of the fall season. That's right, Whitney. Since NBC has chosen to give it a full season pickup, I think its time to accept the show is here to stay until May. So before I get to the other recaps from last night, allow me to offer a few suggestions for how to make Whitney worthy of the laughter generated by its studio audience.
I wish that The Hangover had hit theaters in 2007 to get that roundtable's perspective on Mr. Chow, because my immediate reaction to the role in the context of Asian American stereotyping was that it represented more of the same. Don't get me wrong: Ken Jeong is a hilarious scene-stealer. And I get the fact that the comedy intentionally flaunted stereotypes to elevate the oh-no-they-didn't factor, but I still give Mr. Chow a meh.
In a kooky coincidence, the phrase "battle royale" was uttered on both Community and Parks and Recreation. In the spirit of the strange competitions exhibited on both shows this week, I'm going to crown one of our NBC comedies the winner of the Thursday Night Battle Royale.
(Spoiler alert: It wasn't the show filmed in front of a live studio audience.)
Like many people in the '90s, I tuned into NBC's enormously popular Thursday night comedy block for Friends, Seinfeld and many other shows in that time slot over the decade. At the time, it was like the TV equivalent of seeing Jurassic Park on opening weekend: It just felt like the thing to do.
Thursday nights on the Peacock Network are a completely different experience today. Unlike their '90s counterparts, Community, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office aren't huge rating successes. (And 30 Rock is currently on hiatus until midseason due to Tina Fey's maternity leave, replaced by a little show called Whitney. Maybe you've heard of it?)
I just finished watching the new NBC comedy Up All Night, and though repeat viewings might reveal plot holes and problematic jokes (it is a network sitcom, after all), I absolutely loved it. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are terrific as Reagan and Chris, a completely charming married couple who support one another but aren't too sappy or perfect, and Maya Rudolph is hysterical as Reagan's boss Ava, the Oprah-esque talk show host with a flair for the dramatic. I may be speaking a bit too soon since I've only seen one episode, but color me psyched about this show. (Yep, I said color me psyched. That's how psyched I am.)