Community finally returns tonight for its fourth season, and I, for one, could not be more excited. While Community has been off the air since last season's finale in May, fans' grumblings over changing premiere dates and show times has attracted some serious backlash. What's the big deal with this show, anyway? Folks complained that Community is too weird, too meta, too full of Chevy Chase's sour, unlikable antics (Chase, incidentally, left the show mid-season).
Community's detractors and skeptics take issue with the show's heavy reliance on parody (each episode is loosely organized around a well-known film or genre—Thursday's episode is rumored to borrow from The Hunger Games), sometimes-obscure verbal and visual pop culture references, and constant potshots aimed at the show's shabby fourth wall. But Community's weirdness and fondness for self-reference are precisely what set it apart from other sitcoms' bland, recycled jokes and story lines. Its penchant for parody does more than plant Easter Eggs for film geeks. All of these tactics put Community in a position to be, well… feminist.
Take a look at the photo on the left. Starting in January, Jeff Winger will be replaced by Liz Lemon. No wonder he looks so dismayed in the picture!
In case you haven't heard, Community is being pulled off the schedule indefinitely (boo) and being replaced by 30 Rock (yay for that, at least). Whitney is swapping places with Up All Night, and in celebration I've decided to pretend the show is already off the Thursday night schedule and not bother to recap it anymore. Hope you're cool with that. Let's get started!
As you've no doubt heard by now, Community is being taken off NBC's schedule indefinitely as of January. So I've decided to use this week's episode to talk about why this series, as beloved by the Internet as it ignored by Nieslen families, deserves to stay on TV.
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.