Tag Archives: NBC

Community 2×01: Anthropology 101

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Something weird happened near the end of last year’s TV season. NBC’s old guard of great sitcoms, The Office and 30 Rock, got utterly outclassed by upstart newcomers Community and Parks & Recreation, both of which were consistently smarter, funnier, and more inventive by the end of their seasons than either of their older siblings. Unfortunately, the ratings disagree with me on that, at least when it comes to Parks & Rec, which got pushed back to spring 2011. However, Community came back last week with a season opener that only confirms its spot as the show most worthy of inheriting Arrested Development‘s crown as the critical darling of the sitcom world.

This episode saw the Spanish 101 study group reunite (though not to study Spanish, since Señor Chang got stripped of everything and is now a student just like the rest of the group) and work through the events of last year’s finale – namely, Britta telling Jeff she loved him and him throwing her over, compounded by Jeff kissing Annie (which no one knows about and Jeff is now calling a mistake).

The jokes fly so fast and furious here that I could barely catch them all in time to laugh, and they’re so smart that I wanted to rewind every few minutes just to experience them again. Donald Glover as Spider-Man for half a second. Old White Man Says. Betty White as a rather intense Anthropology teacher. The most awkward kiss ever. Abed’s unrelenting and awesome meta commentary. So many more moments that I’d have to watch it again to see. And I probably will. Because it’s that brilliant. This show knows exactly where the funny is, and it goes for it every time, and trusts you to hang on to your hat and keep up with it.

If they can keep up this level of writing, I can almost guarantee you that Community will be my #1 show by the end of this year. And if it gets shut out at the Emmys again, so help me, I will…be very angry about it.

Chuck 4×01: Chuck vs. the Honeymoon

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spoilers abound

The writers of Chuck have proven themselves to be quite good at reinventing the show, especially with the huge move from Chuck-the-geeky-spy-asset who needed to be saved all the time of the first couple of seasons to Chuck-the-suaver-but-still-geeky actual spy and kung fu master of Season Three. This year, Chuck starts out not being a spy, having promised his sister Ellie that he’d get out the dangerous business. However, he also found a spy lair underneath his apartment and evidence his mom was a spy and may not have simply left their family years ago as he and Ellie always thought. THE PLOT THICKENS.

So this season starts, and we’ve got a tantalizing new direction to consider – Chuck as rogue spy, following in his father’s footsteps to learn the truth behind his mother’s disappearance. What we actually get in the episode – Chuck and Morgan floundering around, ending up working the same case that Sarah and Casey are working from the CIA side, and Chuck eventually…tada…becoming an official spy again. Yes, already. no, I’m not really happy about that. I really dislike it when shows set up a big change in a season finale and then use the first couple of episodes of the new season to basically reverse it back to status quo. What was the point?

Anyway, we do get some cool things. Chuck’s mom is Linda Hamilton, which is awesome. And she seems to be awesome, potentially kidnapped by enemy spies, or potentially IN CHARGE OF the enemy spies. Who can say? It’s a bit of an Alias retread perhaps, but we’ll see how it goes. Looks like Chuck’s going to try keeping his being a spy again a secret from Ellie, but I hope that doesn’t last too long – he really ought to tell her. The show thinks it can’t survive without secrets, but I think it can. Look how much more awesome it got after Devon found out about Chuck.

Oh, and the BuyMore is a full-on CIA facility now. I kind of love that. I was wondering how they were going to continue the show with the original main location demolished, but this is definitely a cool direction to go with that. We’ll see how the CIA-ization of the show works, though, because a lot of the fun of the earlier seasons was balancing the CIA stuff with the real-life stuff. And Chuck seems less geeky/goofy this year. NEED MOAR GEEKY/GOOFY CHUCK.

So first episode, a little rocky for me, but I’m still on board. I think they’re just growing into the new situation, but they need to let it be that, a new situation, and not try to pull it back into situations we’ve already seen.