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Twinkle Twinkle, Big Star: Scoring NBC's Thursday Night Comedies

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | September 21, 2012 | Comments ()


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Hey Folks! Welcome back to our Thursday night NBC comedy round-up. We're going to try a little something different this year. These posts are designed primarily as a springboard for our readers to discuss their own feelings about the Thursday night comedies, not as actual long-form reviews of the shows. So, I will simply provide a few brief, scattered thoughts and a letter grade with which you can argue. This year, I will also keep the GIFs to a minimum, using only the four or five very best GIFs from the night. We're going to try it this way because, while the Thursday Night Comedies' post has always been very popular on the site in the past, the varying formats have also provoked a lot of complaints, and almost no one in the comments section can agree on anything except that I suck: "Too many GIFs!" "Where are all the GIFs?" "tl;dr" "Where's your review?" You call this a review?" I HATE YOU DUSTIN. I HOPE YOU DIE IN THE FACE.

SNL Primetime Election Special -- Maybe the secret to "Saturday Night Live" is making it a half-hour show. That way they cut all the filler skits, and leave only the best sketches. Last night's election special was surprisingly strong, even if Drunk Uncle went on way too long. The highlight was the opening skit, although it's fair to say that when Jason Sudeikis does his Romney impression, that will always be the highlight.

Seth Meyers' headline jokes were also strong, although I'm concerned that -- with only two days until the live broadcast -- he's not going to have enough material to fill "Weekend Update" this Saturday, which may mean a lot of segments. It's almost never good when "Weekend Update" is dominated by segments. (Grade: B)

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Up All Night -- When we heard that the show would shift its focus from "The Ava Show" to more home stories, I never expected that "The Ava Show" would actually be cancelled. It was a great move on the showrunners' part to reconfigure the show's premise, freeing up both Chris and Reagan to spend more time with their kid, as the parenting storylines are the show's strongest suit. It also allows them to ditch Jennifer Hall and bring in Luka Jones as Reagan's little brother and Chris' new business partner. I'm a fan of the goofy but sensible Jones, and I really like the new direction of the show (though, who else was distracted by Will Arnett's freakish weight loss?)

Also, grown-up Amy is adorable. (Grade: B+)

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The Office -- After years of stasis, "The Office" is finally moving forward again. Now in its last season, Jim can finally start to come back in parallel with his British counterpart, Tim Canterbury, who hated the idea that he'd be working for a paper company all of his life. Jim is too good for Dunder Mifflin, and with him going to Philly, we may get some tension in he and Pam's relationship again (plus, it allows John Krasinski to meet his feature film obligations). Dwight, of course, couldn't be the father of Angela's kid because Dwight is headed toward his own "The Office" spin-off. Nellie is also a much more likable character as the bullied employee rather than the bullying employer (and it allows Andy to grow some testicles). The most exciting plot development to me, however, is the fact that Oscar is sleeping with Angela's boyfriend. It's almost too heavy for "The Office," but now that Greg Daniels has returned, he may actually be able to right "The Office" ship through the final season.

I have to say, though, that my favorite part of last night's episode was the slackline. (Grade: B+)

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Parks and Recreation -- It's always a smart idea to kick off the season with a Swanson-centered episode, and in that respect, "Parks" didn't disappoint. I'm a little unsure of the D.C. subplot because it takes too much focus away from Pawnee, and I'm not ready to suffer any tension in Leslie and Ben's relationship yet. However, it took all of 15 seconds to remind me why I once thought a lot of John McCain. As good as Ron Swanson and his meat BBQ was, however, I actually thought that Ann and Tom's secret break-up actually stole the show last night. They're an adorable non-couple.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Parks and Rec is by far my favorite show on tv right now. Hopefully Happy Endings will step it up a notch and deliver as solidly as this show has. I wasn't that impressed by the Ron story this time around though. I mean, Ron knows better than to try and appease everyone and then to give in to Jerry's corn? I mean CORN?! Since I'm getting all capslocky - WHERE IS THE GRADE FOR PARKS AND REC?!?!

  • POINGjam

    Chris Traeger's hair is weird.

  • Brooke

    Oscar is sleeping with Angela's husband. The father of her child. Oscar has been trying forever to prove Angela is just a beard, I guess it happened at last.

  • Snath

    I HATE YOU DUSTIN. I HOPE YOU DIE IN THE FACE.

    What were we talking about again?

  • Maguita NYC

    Didn't that sound just like a Twihard rant to you??

    I was surprised that they picked face... How would one die in the face... oh wait: Rumsfeld's head just flashed in my mind...

  • Claire Allison

    Gotta say, it was a solid night of premieres. I also loved watching Donna laugh about the Tom/Pig Tom joke.

    Best part: Oscar sleeping with Angela's boyfriend and taking that pathetic cat for him

    Worst part: Will Arnet's hair and weight loss. I pretty much just lusted after him whenever he held the baby last season now I just... can't stop staring. It makes me wonder if he's sick?

  • blorft

    Skinny Will Arnett reminds me to much of Gob, which messes up the sexy dad vibe. Serious bummer.

  • "Up All Night" is thoroughly adorable. Their faces when they were turning up the music at the end, AAAH.

    I'm so glad TV is back!

  • I loved P&R, of course. Loved Leslie getting to spend time with Andy. Though it hurt to see her get hurt by all those fancy bitches, I think it's always a good development when Leslie's character is forced to do some growing up and self-evaluation, because she's the kind of character who will always learn from stuff like that, and it's a credit to the writers that they have characters who actually change.

    My highlight of the night was Donna. Every time she laughed at Tom Haverford/Tom the Pig, it just KILLED me.

  • Maguita NYC

    Jason Sudeikis is always best as Biden. There are times when I think "it is time to put Peepaw in a home". Yet, he always comes back with a bang! And I love him for it.

    And hold on there!!! Oscar is sleeping with Angela's boyfriend????

    I've stopped watching the Office because it got on my nerves, and was just not funny anymore. But this, I have got to watch!

  • David Lynch and Clinton on the same night was almost too much to bear.

  • Nunzio910

    Louie was the best show on TV last night....amazing stuff.

  • mairimba

    Yeah. It's time to add FX shows to the Thursday round-up. Wilfred, Louie, Sunny, The League and Archer deserve a mention. Some of them are even better than most NBC shows.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Oh my god, I don't know what was better for my soul: Jason Sudeikis' Romney impression, the "corrections" (NOT ALL CATS ARE GAY, Y'ALL) or Bill Clinton on The Daily Show last night.

  • The corrections they ran killed me. "You can't outrun polio."

  • Someone has a problem with a quote from that skit? Weirdo.

  • Maguita NYC

    It's like the repeat-offender in question suffers from some sort of new "Tourette-Downvote syndrome".

  • Ted Zancha

    So... It is early and it's clearly easy to forget things, but you left out a grade for Parks. While I am usually forgiving, I hold you to a higher standard Rowles. So, to bring back the old: WHERE THE HELL IS THE GRADE FOR PARKS? AND WHERE IS LOUIE? AND THE GIFS! Go die of chlamydia from a rusty spoon.

  • RekodeGallo

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and grade it pass/fail and give it a P, maybe next week it can get a P+

  • Nimue

    I loved it when she said DC was 120 degrees with 200% humidity. Oh man, no kidding. And it's nice to see a show actually shoot in DC instead of someplace with skyscrapers standing in for DC. I'm still bitter I was out of town and couldn't stalk the shoot though.
    I really dig Clark Duke and think he'll be a good addition to The Office, though I don't remain as convinced as you do that the ship is righted just yet.
    I too, was distracted by Will Arnett's weight loss and serious over-use of the tanner. But, I absolutely lost it when Ava went around kissing all the babies. I am glad the show refocused on the home stories, snd I am glad to see Ava will still be around. I am a little bummed to see that one of the few and one of my fave working moms won't be working anymore. There are so few honest depictions of that, I am bummed to lose one.

  • Funky_Brewster

    I had the biggest smile on my face last night with Parks and Rec back. Very solid episode. Meet your meat... I love this show so much I wanna have all of it's babies!

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