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"Don't Make Me Be Your Pony, Kevin." Highlights From NBC's Thursday Night Comedies

By Sarah Carlson | TV | March 9, 2012 |

By Sarah Carlson | TV | March 9, 2012 |

Note: This post is being presented gif-free. But when “Community” returns next week, I can’t promise they won’t as well.

“30 Rock”: “Standards and Practices”
Even as Jack had great lines — and reminded us about the Patriot Act — his and others’ storylines, such as Jenna’s kids, quickly fell flat. Did Liz really need to completely back down from Kenneth’s demands just to make him feel better? And did the treatment of Kaylie (Chloe Grace Moretz, who is 15) in Jack Vs. Kaylie, Round 2: No Subtitle Necessary have to feel so creepy? Her pout-lipped sulking in Jack’s office felt illegal. Make her bratty, fine; but Lolita-y? Now that I’d send to the S&P department, or at least have had Kato take care of it.

  • Tracy: “I feel like Oscar the Grouch today, and not just ‘cause I woke up in a garbage can this morning, startling someone named Gordon.”
  • Jenna: “If you want to get to know me, read my 2006 interview in Amtrak magazine.”
  • Liz: “How can we do Fart Doctor if we can’t say the word ‘fart’?” Kenneth: “I’m surprised they let you say ‘doctor.’ It’s so close to ‘gynecologist,’ which is disgusting.”
  • Jack: “Lemon, you know very well that a nemesis can be anyone — or anything.” Liz [to herself]: “Auto-correct! I was trying to say ‘pen organizer’!
  • Liz: “She might be completely lying, like when I was 15 and told everyone at my school that I’d already gotten my period. Or, she could be in real trouble. Like when I was 17 and finally got my period at a very loosely supervised petting zoo.” Jack: “Once again, Lemon, I leave your office more confused than when I entered, but having glimpsed yet another tile in the rich mosaic that is your menstrual history.”
  • Kenneth: “A Parcell man has never been called ‘Mr.’ outside of an execution chamber!”
  • Jack: “Son of a dingbat!”

“Parks and Recreation”: “Lucky”
Nick Offerman wrote this one, naturally giving Ron chances to shine as he devoured meat and bedded him a woman (Danielle Bisutti). All were at their quirky best — Andy begging for treats especially — drunk or not, and God bless Jerry for his letter-folding abilities. Jim O’Heir is glorious. Equally so is guest star Sean Hayes; too bad he didn’t have a bigger role. And too bad “Parks” won’t return until April 19. NBC just won’t let us have all the nice things at once.

  • Andy: “And if there’s one thing I know, is, my fantastic it’s, talk.”
  • Andy: “Treat please.”
  • Leslie: “Ben is like a MILF.”
  • Ron: “I don’t consider myself an anything-ist, but my life has been shaped by powerful women. My father once told my mother than woman was made from the rib of Adam. And my mother broke his jaw.”
  • Waitress: “Hi there, would you like to hear our specials?” Ron: “No need. Porterhouse. Rare. Quickly.”
  • Leslie: “Aw, that’s so sweet. I’ve never had a boyfriend threaten to commit arson for me before.” Donna: “Eh, it gets old.”
  • Ron: “Donuts! Go nuts! Hey, you kids need any money? Go buy yourselves a Walkman. How much are Walkmans nowadays? Probably more than $20. Here’s $25.”

“The Office”: “Last Day in Florida”
Well, the crash of the Sabre store before it could open was predictable, but I’ll be positive and see the Florida storyline as serving bigger purposes, such as leading to a possible Andy-Erin reunion. Jim fighting to protect Dwight from impending failure was important, too, as was Dwight’s silent recognition that Jim had his best interest at heart. Theirs is one of the better relationships of the series, and Rainn Wilson deserves more accolades for his performance than he generally receives. He just makes his ridiculousness look easy.

  • Oscar: Oh God, I’m Wallace Shawn in ‘The Princess Bride’!
  • Dwight: “You think you’re excited? You should feel my nipples. Bong!”
  • Stanley, back me up! Don’t talk to me.
  • Darryl: “Look, I need this. Your daughter is a pretty little girl. Let her go door to door. You think people are gonna buy cookies from my … chubby daughter? … [to the camera] Baby, if you’re watching this, you’re not chubby — you’re beautiful. Daddy’s just gotta sell some cookies. … And we’re also gonna exercise more. It’s gonna be fun.”
  • Toby: “Don’t make me be your pony, Kevin.”
  • Kelly: “No, I didn’t lose weight. I just started using my makeup to contour my face. I actually put on five pounds.”

“Up All Night”: “Couple Friends”
This show continues to hit its stride, and this episode played into every character’s role and only improved them. We really know who Chris and Reagan are now: Just look at the opening, with its takedown of young dubsteppers and send-up to us lazy folks who’d rather watch “Downton Abbey.” It sums them up perfectly, and I’d want to hang out with them, too. It was great seeing the couple matched by Ben Falcone (Mr. Melissa McCarthy!) and Nat Faxon as neighborhood couple Justin and Lawrence. But while I love a good gay, too, the night belonged to Ava. Maya Rudolph rules all. And Piggly Wigglys are real.

  • Ava: “We were the first office in America to provide free tampons in a basket.” Missy: 
“Actually, I don’t think that’s true. I saw it a Ruth’s Chris once.”
  • Reagan: “You don’t think she has Southern appeal? OK, she grew up in the Florida panhandle, all right? She bought Pepsis at the Wiggly Piggly.” Ava: Piggly Wiggly.” Reagan: “I still don’t even believe that’s a thing.”
  • Reagan: “Really, a bowling shirt?” Chris: “What, it’s fun. Come on, when else am I gonna wear this?” Reagan: Oh, I don’t know, the next time you’re in a Vince Vaughn movie circa 1994.” Chris: “Are you … this is so money.”
  • Ava: “I guess I can handle guys’ guys even though I’m cursed with bosoms and baby-making parts.” Luke: “Actually, I have baby-making parts — anyways, what you did in there was amazing.”
  • Ava: “They loved me. There was an Asian gentleman named Bobby eating out of my hand. Literally. He was eating Chex Mix like a horse.” Reagan: “That’s weird.”
  • Ava: “I thought were having a successful business relationship. I thought the same thing with Suge Knight and Ira Glass. You guys are all alike.”
  • Ava: “That was fantastic. Now let’s go back to my place for some athletic, ’70s-style lovemaking.”

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in Texas.

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